Columbus Day, Native Americans, and the Royals

By TIM BEELAND,

This is pretty much a whine I’ve whined before, but seeing the lack of mail delivery, and the lack of the ability to make a bank deposit I figure it’s worth whining the whine once more.

Columbus Day. Why? Why is this a holiday?

The office seemed quiet Monday morning. The doorbell hardly dinged as it does when customers come and go. The phone didn’t ring much, the fax didn’t go off. 

As I say every year, more folks must observe Columbus Day than just bankers and postal workers. Of all our national holidays — at least the ones for which folks take off work — I honestly believe the one on the second Monday in October has to be the least necessary.

Several years ago there seemed to be some controversy swirling around Columbus Day and a move by some to replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.  I felt at the time that Indigenous Peoples’ Day was a bit much and perhaps Native American Day would be better.

I’ve since found out that several states already observe Native American Day and others observe American Indian Day. Those observances are on different days of the year but still have already claimed the name I had proclaimed.

Since then I’ve also found out, via a DNA test, that the Native American blood I had always thought flowed freely through my veins, although indeed  Indian, is that of India, rather than that of the Cherokee Indian I had sworn it to be. Turns out I’m really just caucasian but of royal English lineage if that makes any difference. My daughter thinks it does and says she has known she was a princess all of her nearly 27 years. So, with that revelation, even if we did change Columbus Day to Native American Day I’d still be whining I suppose. 

According to History.com, “Columbus Day is a U.S. holiday that commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World on October 12, 1492. It was unofficially celebrated in a number of cities and states as early as the 18th century but did not become a federal holiday until 1937. For many, the holiday is a way of both honoring Columbus’ achievements and celebrating Italian-American heritage. Throughout its history, Columbus Day and the man who inspired it have generated controversy, and many alternatives to the holiday have appeared in recent years.”

Who would have ever thought that as children in elementary school when we were reciting the poem, “in fourteen hundred ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue...” that as adults it would have become a controversial issue. I’m just against it because the banks and post office are closed. I had no idea old Chris had caused such a deep divide.

It does seem to me, though, if we are going to be celebrating Native Americans it could just be called Native American Day not Indigenous Peoples’ Day. But is that really necessary? Every year on July 4th we celebrate all American’s, black, white, Hispanic, Indian, Asian and everything else mixed together as one. Independence Day belongs to us all.

And then there is the “minor” issue that Columbus never really landed in the United States. According to biography.com, “October 12th marks the day of his arrival to the Bahamas. While he did reach the coasts of what today are Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic, as well as explore the Central and South American coasts, he never unfurled a Spanish flag in North America.”

Oh well, perhaps it’s best I drop this fight all together and focus on being a good king!