Columbus Day tends to come and go without much notice — while Italian American groups celebrate a 15th century hero and many public employees and some schools get the day off, most people show up to work as if it were any other Monday.
But in L.A., Columbus’ days are numbered. Both the city and county of Los Angeles decided recently to make 2018’s Columbus Day the final one, thereafter commemorating the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day.
Reactions by our letter writers have been mixed; most bristled at what they felt was political correctness run amok. Several suggested holidays besides Indigenous Peoples Day.
Their ideas are below:
Burbank resident Jen Tait looks to Canada for a solution:
In a letter you printed on Oct. 10, one of your readers protested that when Columbus arrived, there were no indigenous peoples in the Western Hemisphere, given that the people the Europeans encountered upon their arrival had presumably only gotten here via the land bridge from Alaska or by boat.
‘First Nations Day’ has a ring to it, doesn’t it? Besides which, it’s a bit less bulky than Indigenous Peoples Day.
As such, your reader felt that the term “Indigenous Peoples” day should be changed to something more truthful and accurate, such as “We Got Here First” day.
Interestingly, Canadians already have solved this problem of nomenclature. They use the term “First Nations.”
“First Nations Day” has a ring to it, doesn’t it? Besides which, it’s a bit less bulky than Indigenous Peoples Day.
Nona Pyron of Altadena proposes a holiday for Columbus’ critics:
I would like to propose that Columbus Day be replaced by “PEP Day” (“Perfect, Enlightened People Day”) and dedicate it to those who are so perfect in their thinking and actions, so possessing of an incredible 20/20 hindsight and an unassailable knowledge of history that they are perfectly positioned to sit in judgment on the benighted peoples of the past.
These “Perfect Enlightened People,” who, through their extraordinary accomplishments and insight have lifted civilization to unimaginable levels, will be celebrated for generations and centuries to come by grateful citizens who will no doubt erect monuments to honor them.
San Jose resident Phillip Doppelt notes that North American Indians were not the only people to suffer because of Columbus’ exploits:
Columbus was Italian, but he turned to the newly rich Spanish monarchy to get funding for his attempt to find a new sea route to India. The Spanish monarchs took some of the money and property from the Jews they expelled from Spain in 1492 and funded Columbus’ expedition.
Since these Jews (Sephardic Jews) had no involvement in this (other than the use of their stolen property) or the subsequent events from it (enslaving the indigenous population, reducing them by disease, forced conversion and so on), I propose we use the politically correct name “Sephardic Jewish Heritage Day” for the first Monday in October.