Sunday, October 11, 2015

rethinking the name of a holiday

The City of Albuquerque is one of about a dozen U.S. cities that have replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day (See: "10 US cities ask: Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples Day?"  and Albuquerque's proclamation, in .pdf format, here.

Brown University student M. Dzhali Maier writes:

I’ve always thought Columbus Day was a celebration of the massive economic, political and cultural phenomenon known as the Columbian Exchange. What is this, you ask? The Columbian Exchange was the massive introduction of Old World organisms, culture and technology into the New World, as well as the game-changing introduction of New World plants and animals into the fields, gardens, minds and architectures of Old World Europe. 

These introductions, which still very much continue today, began with Christopher Columbus and his epic voyage to what he thought was India...


According to Wikipedia, "The term ['The Columbian Exchange'] was first used in 1972 by American historian Alfred W. Crosby in his environmental history book The Columbian Exchange." Charles C. Mann wrote a lot about it in 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created.

I tend to agree with Maier's opinion: "Rather, keep Columbus Day. Celebrate the Columbian Exchange, not the man." Cristóbal Colón's voyages marked a turning point for the people of the world. I like the idea of an Indigenous Peoples Day, but not in place of Columbus Day.

No comments: