For years, school children have grown up learning that Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492. Most elementary schoolers remember having to learn the names of the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, and learned the history of Columbus and his men arriving in America. Most Americans don’t remember a time before celebrating Columbus Day on October 12th. But have we ever celebrated the people who were here before Columbus? In the past few years, people have begun to discuss our celebration of Christopher Columbus and whether or not it is problematic.

Most people know that Columbus was an imperialist and colonialist, who engaged violent genocide to take land from the Native tribes that were already living here and develop the land into a more modern country. Does that mean we should throw Columbus Day out all together?

Liberals have made the case that Columbus Day should be a thing of the past, and five states – Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, South Dakota and Vermont – no longer observe the holiday. Many other states still observe October 12th as a national holiday but have replaced it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Many conservatives and conservative organizations like PragerU argue that trying to get rid of Columbus Day completely is ludicrous.

In order to properly celebrate the makings of our country, we should acknowledge both the good and the bad that we built our foundation on. While it’s important to remember Christopher Columbus and all that he did, it’s also important to acknowledge that large groups of people suffered in order to make America what it is today. We’ve reached a point in history where people on both sides of the political spectrum recognize the damage that our forefathers caused to many groups of people and progress past them. Erasing that damage from our history books will cause more harm than good. Every year grade schools across the country edit their history textbooks to exclude things like the Trail of Tears and the lynchings of the 20th century from them. What are our younger generations of students gaining from their teachers glossing over the painful parts of our nation’s history?

As conservatives, we should be teaching our students about the history of our country, and all that came with it. We should remind each other of the brave men who fought for our freedom, as well as the groups of people who suffered for decades as a result of the founding of our country. Conservatives shouldn’t want to ignore the Native American history that we have, because it’s an important part of our history. In order to raise generations of people who are truly proud to be Americans we need to give them the whole truth. Considering that we still have over 6 million Native Americans living in the US and over 500 federally recognized tribes, it’s important that we begin to celebrate our indigenous people. Indigenous Peoples’ Day shouldn’t replace Columbus Day, however, but the states that have established an Indigenous Peoples’ Day in conjunction with Columbus Day have the right idea.

Georgia G
“Georgia Gallagher is a graduating senior at The University of Alabama, where she is double majoring in Journalism and Political Science. When she’s not studying, she can be found running political organizations on campus, writing, and advocating for pro-life policies. She often says that her planner is second only to her Bible and she’s never caught without a cup of coffee in her hand.”