Congratulations to the City of South Fulton for taking a step away from willful ignorance. Just weeks ago, the City of South Fulton City Council voted to change the official holiday that occurs each October. Columbus Day is a Federal holiday and a state holiday in more than thirty states. Many local governments also recognize the day named after the murderous criminal Christopher Columbus.
City of South Fulton Mayor Pro Tem, Mark Baker proposed the legislation because what Americans were originally taught about Christopher Columbus is false. Christopher Columbus did not discover America. America had inhabitants that were indigenous to the land that were later called “Indians” because good ole’ Chris thought he landed somewhere near Asia. Eventually, America stopped being willfully ignorant and stopped calling people “Indians.” The term “Indian” is like someone walking in my home, deciding my name is “Bob”, and thereafter calling all of my children’s children “Bob’s heirs.” My name is LaDawn and we all know this.
People of Italian American heritage created Columbus Day in 1972 to honor who they believed was a man of Italian descent that discovered America in 1492. We know today he did not discover America, never stepped foot on North America, and some historians believe he was actually born in Spain. In 1937, FDR proclaimed October 12th Columbus Day after lobbying by an influential Catholic group, that did not care where Columbus came from or where he intended to go. We know today, Columbus thought he made it to India and Asia and that he actually landed on the Caribbean islands and parts of South America. In 1971, the United States changed the date to the second Monday each October.
The City of South Fulton is a new city still setting its foundation. To some, the name of a holiday where the only celebration is furniture sales is not a priority. However, the City of South Fulton and a few other local jurisdictions outside of Georgia, understand that the government has a duty to not be WILLFULLY IGNORANT.
We now know that Columbus killed, maimed, and raped to take over the native lands in the Caribbean. It was his brutality that made him more than just a first undocumented visitor but the declared founder of property that did not belong to him. While America can acknowledge the fact that Columbus’ brutal acts eventually led to the country we now hold dear, we do not have to uplift behaviors we now consider are illegal, immoral, and unnecessary. We all like a day off but not in honor of a murderer. It would be similar to having a Jeffery Dahmer.
In addition, what England, Spain, and eventually America did to the indigenous people while taking over their land followed the lead of Columbus and was equally criminal. We cannot change history, but we can be respectful to the fact hundreds of years of history was lost at the hands of colonization and western expansion. One way to be respectful is to change the holiday acknowledging, supporting and uplifting Christopher Columbus to one that uplift the ancestors of the indigenous people. Another way to be respectful is not to add insult to injury by naming sports teams after a culture of people who our country destroyed … but that is a post for another day.
As individual families, we get to decide if Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, or Tooth Fairy are stories we will tell to our children. But as local, state, and federal governments should follow the lead of the City of South Fulton and stop telling this fallacy about Christopher Columbus. We owe it to our own intellect and to future generations to not pretend about facts that are well documented. Every school system still teaching this fallacy about Columbus needs an overhaul. Fire everyone who supports this false narrative.
* Note I recognize that for any of you who went to grade school prior to the 1990’s you may have been taught the lies about Christopher Columbus that was printed in every school book across the country. You may not be aware that Santa and/or the Columbus stories were fabrications. Before you object to this reality check – Google. Once you are no longer willfully ignorant consider lobbying your local government for a change.