By mistaking a culture’s history for fantasy, or by disrespecting the wealth of indigenous knowledge, we’re keeping up a Columbian, colonial tradition.
By Chi Luu
This week, more and more regions in the U.S. celebrate Indigenous People’s Day, but many more know the federal holiday as Columbus Day. More than 500 years ago, a guy known as Christopher Columbus got famous for something he never did, having never even set foot on the North American continent, much less having “discovered” it. But Columbus should perhaps be more notorious for something he did do.
It’s remarkable the lopsided stories we tell in order to conveniently ignore or deny an uncomfortable reality. As we continue to celebrate the sepia-toned world of a false past, full of men and monsters and their colonial cruelties, as entire cultures, their languages, their knowledge, and their science were destroyed along the way.