• Thomas Lee 11th Chino Hills High

Significance of the Second Monday of October

When I was in elementary school, I would mark the upcoming holidays on my calendar with big red circles, counting the days down. More obvious, celebrated holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas definitely grasped more of my attention, but it wouldn’t matter what was approaching, as long as the date is written in red and recognized as a national holiday. The reason is obvious: getting a day off from my school. As advancing my grade, I learned the American History and found the reason behind the many holidays we celebrate today. One holiday in particular stood out above the rest due to the recent changing of its name, Columbus Day, or now referred to as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Initially the second Monday of October was dedicated to celebrating the encounter of the western world and the new world. In Mexico, it is named as “Day of the Race,” signifying the encounter of the two hemispheres. Behind this seemingly cheerful event to celebrate, millions of Native Americans were mistreated and killed during the period of the western colonization. Due to cruel European conquest of American Indian, people proposed an alternative. Owing to the reinterpretation of the history, Indigenous People have been given more respect in recent years than ever and American Culture is to provide for any person of Native American descent. For example, U.S. Department of the Interior Indian Affairs is a governmental facility solely dedicated for the welfare of Native Americans in an attempt to compensate for the damages done to the Native population earlier. The debate on whether the U.S. government effectively meeting the needs of Native Americans through treaty benefits is still ongoing and must continue, Indigenous Peoples’ Day has a greater significance in our country: we are living in an open society ever before that more diverse conversations and views are proliferating, and the society is embracing and heeding the voices from wider minority groups. “Rethinking Columbus” provides ample counter narratives, making this country more open and diverse in its beliefs and ideologies, and this is the greatest significance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.


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