More than 500 years after he “discovered” America, European explorer, Christopher Columbus, has been celebrated each year on the second Monday of October since 1971. Until now.
The North East Independent School District has joined a multitude of school districts across the country to stop celebrating Columbus Day to instead celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
“Definitely think it’s a good idea,” sophomore Amie Crockett said in regards to the change. “ It’ll enlighten more people.”
Several other places across the United States have already made the switch of honoring Indigenous communities instead of the European explorer. At least ten states, including celebrate some version of Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the second Monday in October such as South Dakota’s Native American Day, which has been observed since 1990, and Hawaii’s Discoverer’s Day. While Texas is not one of those states listed to observe Indigenous People’s Day, Bexar county, the county in which the North East Independent School District resides, does observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
“I understand both sides, but I would move for people to change the name,” junior Noah Hernandez said.
One of the biggest reasons for making these changes is to help bring a new look to the events of colonization. This change allows these surviving communities to be celebrated for their bravery and resilience in the face of violence.
“What Columbus did was a shame. I don’t think we need to venerate someone who did something so horrible,” Hernandez said. “At the same time, I would rather not have people forget where they came from lest they repeat it.”