We don’t need Columbus Day

History is written by the victors. This is why we don’t read history textbooks written by Nazis about how the Aryan race succeeded.

And while I’m certain all of us would say it’s a good thing Nazis didn’t write the history of World War II (I mean, I’d hope you’d all agree with me on that), not all historical victories have helped to end genocide, but have created genocide.

I’m talking about you, Christopher Columbus.

But we didn’t learn about the atrocities Columbus committed when we were in second grade. We were too busy singing “Christopher Columbus sailed across the ocean blue in fourteen hundred and ninety-two” at the top of our lungs.

When I was seven, Columbus seemed like a pretty cool guy. He discovered America and if it weren’t for him, I’d live in some weird country like Germany or something, 7-year-old me thought.

And man, Germany is where the Nazis are from.

We didn’t learn Columbus committed genocide against at least three million people and likely kickstarted the North Atlantic slave trade because of his obsession with gold.

Instead we have Columbus Day, which we celebrate with no mail and furniture blowout sales.

Columbus was looking for India, but when he accidentally found the Americas instead and saw all the gold the Lucayan Natives had, he really forgot about all of that. He wanted the gold, and convinced his queen to allow him more men so he could conquer the Lucayan.

Columbus would cut the noses and ears off of some of the Lucayan to serve as an example for the others, and slaughtered many of them when they would not give him their gold.

When the Lucayan gave in and started bringing him gold, those who didn’t would have a hand cut off and they would be forced to wear it around their neck.

Over the course of 50 years, it’s estimated that 3-5 million people died because of disease and genocide brought to them by Columbus and his crew.

The amount of gold he was shipping out of the Americas halted the gold trade out of Africa. This led to slaves becoming the greatest export out of Africa.

Unfortunately, when history is written by the victors, a good part of the story gets left out. But it’s the way that history has been glossed over, rewritten in this country that is especially terrifying.

Should we be celebrating a man who sold 9-year-old girls as sex slaves? I don’t think we should. But, hey, Columbus did that, too.

But we’d rather celebrate him than to admit the man who has been painted as our continent’s founder slaughtered and sold into slavery millions of people.

It’s all about image. It’s about keeping white people the victors. All of the atrocities committed against the native peoples of the Americas seems to be hidden, replaced with fairy tales of Native Americans who kindly left their land in order for white people to expand.

In doing so we have essentially erased huge parts of the histories of these peoples.

In South Dakota, rather than celebrate Columbus Day, they’ve celebrated Native American Day since 1990. While we were singing about how Columbus sailed the ocean blue, in South Dakota, they celebrate Native American cultures through dance, storytelling, singing and other activities.

I think that is a much better way to spend the second Monday of October and think other states should follow suit.