Columbus Day Controversy Essay Topics

Does your school recognize Columbus Day as an official holiday? What do you know about Christopher Columbus?

In this 2014 piece, “Columbus Day, or ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Day’?,” Jake Flanagin writes:

It’s a controversial day with a turbulent history. “This historically problematic holiday — Columbus never actually set foot on the continental U.S. — has made an increasing number of people wince, given the enslavement and genocide of Native American people that followed in the wake of the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria,” writes Yvonne Zipp for The Christian Science Monitor. “The neighborhood wasn’t exactly empty when he arrived in 1492.”

Back in 1992 — 500 years after Columbus’s fateful landing in the Caribbean — Berkeley, Calif., was the first American city to repurpose his day in honor of Native America. “Talk of an alternative Columbus Day dates back to the 1970s,” writes Nolan Feeney for Time, “but the idea came to Berkeley after the First Continental Conference on 500 Years of Indian Resistance in Quito, Ecuador, in 1990. That led to another conference among Northern Californian Native American groups.” Attendees brought the idea in front of the Berkeley City Council, after which they “appointed a task force to investigate the ideas and Columbus’ historical legacy.” Two years later, council members officially instated Indigenous Peoples’ Day in lieu of Columbus by a unanimous vote.

The California state senator Lori Hancock, then the mayor of Berkeley, remembers encountering Italian-American pushback similar to that in Seattle. “We just had to keep reiterating that that was not the purpose,” she told Mr. Feeney. “The purpose was to really affirm the incredible legacy of the indigenous people who were in the North American continent long before Columbus.”

And it’s worth noting that not all Italian-Americans tote Christopher Columbus as a symbol of cultural pride. “Those supposed leaders in the Italian-American community who oppose Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the same day as Columbus Day do not speak for all of us of Italian descent,” writes Margaret Viggiani of Seattle in a letter to The Seattle Times. “They certainly don’t speak for me. I, and many others, agree wholeheartedly with the long-overdue change and applaud the Seattle City Council for doing it.”

“Why should anyone take pride in honoring the life of a man who brought misery and degradation of the native peoples of this hemisphere?” she asks. “It’s time to give due to the important and overlooked accomplishments of the many indigenous people who inhabited this hemisphere long before it was named the Americas.”

Students: Read the entire article, then tell us:

— Why does the United States celebrate Columbus Day? In your opinion, is the holiday problematic?

— What do you think of the argument for changing the name and focus of the holiday from Columbus to “indigenous peoples”? Does it dishonor the heritage of Italian-Americans, a group that has also faced discrimination? Or does it serve to recognize and affirm the overlooked history and contributions of Native Americans?

— Do you think changing the name of the holiday can change the way indigenous peoples are treated and remembered in United States history? Or is this move largely symbolic?

— Do you think the United States should continue to recognize Columbus Day as an official holiday? If so, why? If not, should we celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead — or something else?

_________

Related Teaching Idea: The Role of Monuments

In an August 2017 piece, Trip Gabriel writes:

... since the violence in Charlottesville, Va., two weeks ago, the anger from the left over monuments and public images deemed racist, insensitive or inappropriate has quickly spread to statues of Christopher Columbus and the former Philadelphia tough cop mayor Frank Rizzo, Boston’s landmark Faneuil Hall, a popular Chicago thoroughfare and even Maryland’s state song. An Asian-American sportscaster named Robert Lee was pulled from broadcasting a University of Virginia football game.

The disputes over America’s racial past and public symbols have proliferated with dizzying speed, spreading to states far beyond the Confederacy and inspiring campaigns by minorities and political progressives across the country.

In September 2017, a statue of Columbus in New York City was defaced with red paint stained on his hands, symbolizing his role in the genocide of Native Americans. In August of 2017 in Baltimore, another statue of Columbus was graffitied with the words: “Racism: Tear it down.”

Continue reading the main story

44 results found, view free essays on page:

  • A Comparison Of Early American Texts

    1,103 words

    A Comparison of Early American Texts When the Europeans first came to the Americas in the late 15 th - early 16 th century, they brought with them a distinctive style of literature that was a complete contrast to the Native Americans who inhabited the land. The Europeans system of literature was based on writing, which was a technique unheard of by the Native Americans, whose system of literature was based on oral traditions since they did not use alphabetic writing. Despite this variance in sty...
    Free research essays on topics related to: native americans, third person, de las, christopher columbus, las casas
  • Christopher Columbus Santa Maria

    670 words

    Christopher Columbus was an Italian navigator. He was born in 1451 in Genoa, Italy. He was the oldest of three sons. He was the first European to sail across the Atlantic Ocean. He began working at sea early and moved to Portugal. He got married to Felipa Perestello e Money in 1479 and had a son in 1480 named Diego. A few years later Felipa died, and Columbus began another relationship with Beatriz Enriquez de Havana of Cordoba and had his second son Ferdinand. Columbus first voyage he departed ...
    Free research essays on topics related to: santa maria, november 22, three ships, first voyage, christopher columbus
  • How Chinese Rudder Effected Christopher Columbus

    1,541 words

    The development of the rudder was one of the most important sea navigational inventions that have ever been invented. Before the twelfth century in northern Europe, ships were steered by a quarter-rudder mounted on the stern side of the vessel. Up until the fourteenth century the use of the quarter rudder persisted in the Mediterranean. Two quarter-mounted steering oars were used. By age of exploration, the pintle-and-gudgeon rudder, hung from the sternpost had replaced quarter-rudder. The rudde...
    Free research essays on topics related to: sixteenth century, opposite direction, ships, christopher columbus, nineteenth century
  • Christopher Columbus Gold Coin

    534 words

    In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. But should America really celebrate Christopher Columbus? Was he really responsible for finding America or was he just simply lucky? The real question is, should the American people praise a man who had killed many innocent people? Though Columbus Day is celebrated no one really knows for what reasons. Most Americans just enjoy their day off. Would they celebrate Columbus Day if they really knew the facts? Christopher Columbus was an explorer funded by the...
    Free research essays on topics related to: christopher columbus, american people, gold coin, columbus day, columbus
  • Christopher Columbus Western Civilization

    294 words

    How would western civilization be different if Christopher Columbus had not discovered America?" Many circumstances led to Christopher Columbus' discovery of America in 1492. He was born in the port city of Genoa, Italy. He learned the skills of seamanship from working on the sardine fishing fleets. It is also probable that his father owned his own coastal schooner used for trading wool. He had no formal education, which forced him to work in the field of sea navigation. In 1476, Columbus became...
    Free research essays on topics related to: christopher columbus, western civilization, settlers, columbus, christopher
  • Marco Polo Christopher Columbus

    1,040 words

    ... for many years. He deceived his sovereigns so as to ensure that the financial arrangements that he required for his future voyages would continue. Christianity quickly became an objective for Columbus as to gain recognition and continuing support from the Church in Spain for further voyages. Once he realised that the native people believed that he and his crew were gods, therefore Columbus felt it would be easy to convert them to Christianity. Las Casas quoted Columbus as saying these people...
    Free research essays on topics related to: newly discovered, queen isabella, christopher columbus, marco polo, las casas
  • Christopher Columbus Queen Isabella

    1,871 words

    In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Thats the one date everyone remembers, the date in virtually every school childs history textbook. But, they leave out pretty much everything about Columbus and his exploration of the New World. Its the part many people have yet to learn about. For years, Columbus has been presented to us as a hero. In 1934, President Roosevelt even gave Columbus his own holiday. To this day, we celebrate his discovery of America. What is found in history textbooks now, ha...
    Free research essays on topics related to: queen isabella, third grade, slave trade, set sail, christopher columbus
  • Christopher Columbus Native Americans

    578 words

    "In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. " This childish rhyme refers to the heroic efforts of the believed discoverer of the Americas. But who is Christopher Columbus and how valiant were his discoveries? Was he a great hero, or was he the world's largest zero? The answer to this radical question will astonish the average American citizen. Christopher Columbus is a farce due to his hypocritical out looks on religion, his approval of slavery, and the media's false depiction of this so called her...
    Free research essays on topics related to: native americans, columbus, american citizen, christopher columbus, moral values
  • Lies My Teacher Told Me By James Loewen

    1,271 words

    Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen James W. Loewen, in my opinion, makes a very valid argument in Lies My Teacher Told Me. He argues that teaching (of history) today relies too much on the textbooks which glorify the United States and its imperfect leaders and heroes. His examples, in fact, are very surprising to those most unfamiliar, or deceived, in their understanding of American History and are painfully obvious to those fairly educated in the events of our nations past. Personally, I a...
    Free research essays on topics related to: helen keller, christopher columbus, united states history, woodrow wilson, lies my teacher told
  • King And Queen Christopher Columbus

    1,312 words

    CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS It is thought by many that Christopher Columbus was a skilled sailor on a mission of greed. Many think that he in fact did it all for the money, honor and the status that comes with an explorer, but this is not the case entirely. Columbus was an adventurer and was enthused by the thrill of the quest of the unknown. Columbus had a firm religious faith and a scientific curiosity, a zest for life, the felling for beauty and the striving for novelty that we associate with the ad...
    Free research essays on topics related to: columbus, western europe, king and queen, queen isabella, christopher columbus
  • Santo Domingo Christopher Columbus

    838 words

    Christopher Christopher Columbus Christopher Columbus Christopher Columbus was an Italian navigator who sailed west across the Atlantic Ocean in search for the all-water route to Asia, but instead achieved fame for making landfall in the Caribbean Sea. Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy. His father was a weaver, and it is believed that Columbus entered this trade as a young man. In the mid- 1470 s he made his first trading voyage to the island of Kids, in the Aegean Sea. Settling in Lisbon, where...
    Free research essays on topics related to: sailed, columbus, christopher columbus, santo domingo, set sail
  • Funk 038 Wagnalls Christopher Columbus

    445 words

    Christopher Columbus s First Voyage to America Christopher Columbus commanded, in 1492, the first recorded European expedition to cross the Atlantic Ocean and reach the Americas. Nevertheless, he was not the first European to land in that part of the world. Adventurers from Norway, Iceland, and Greenland had almost certainly settled briefly in Newfoundland and may have landed elsewhere on the coast of North America (Christopher Columbus). There is also some evidence to the effect that fishermen ...
    Free research essays on topics related to: funk 038 wagnalls, atlantic ocean, north america, first voyage, christopher columbus
  • Discovery Of America Christopher Columbus

    624 words

    In Columbus Day Columbus Essay In April, 1492, Spain received reports that the Portuguese succeeded in reaching the Indian Ocean, therefore Spanish monarchs authorized Christopher Columbus to sail to Asia and establish trade and start to convert natives to Christianity. The reasons that the monarchs let Columbus sail were mainly to search for spices and profits, spread Christianity, and to use some of their new technology like the caravel. In return, Columbus would receive one-tenth of all the p...
    Free research essays on topics related to: one tenth, christopher columbus, columbus day, discovery of america, world history
  • Christopher Columbus Atlantic Ocean

    1,600 words

    Brief History: Christopher Columbus Diary Columbus Brief History: Christopher Columbus was an Italian-Spanish navigator who sailed west across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a route to Asia but achieved fame by making landfall, instead, in the Caribbean Sea. Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy. His father was a weaver, and it is believed that Christopher entered this trade as a young man. In the mid- 1470 s he made his first trading voyage to the island of Kh os in the Aegean Sea. In 1476 he sail...
    Free research essays on topics related to: 1492, columbus, set sail, atlantic ocean, christopher columbus
  • Hundred And Fifty Discovery Of America

    943 words

    Perhaps more than any other single figure in American History, Christopher Columbus sparks controversy. By some people, he is praised as a hero of courage and vision. Other people utterly despise Columbus as a villain of the first order who enslaved the natives. Somewhere in the mix of those divergent opinions exists the truth about the legacy of Christopher Columbus. Columbus was a man armed with the dream of reaching the East Indies by sailing West. Columbus possessed mixed motives. First, he ...
    Free research essays on topics related to: discovery of america, christopher columbus, queen isabella, hundred and fifty, morison samuel
  • Christopher Columbus Religious Beliefs

    1,140 words

    When the typical American hears the name Christopher Columbus he or she thinks of a hero, a man who started the rush for European colonization in the Americas. What most people do not think of is how monetarily driven his discoveries were. He manipulated anyone who posed a threat to his perspective fame and fortune through his actions and faulty promises. The reading from Columbus diary describes what he thought about everything he had seen in his two voyages to the new lands. On his first journ...
    Free research essays on topics related to: great cities, columbus, religious beliefs, christopher columbus, slave trade
  • Christopher Columbus Native Americans

    1,531 words

    Christopher Columbus: Hero or Villain? ? In the education systems of many schools, Christopher Columbus is portrayed to students as a hero. His few heroic qualities have acted as a fa ade hiding his evil side throughout the history of America. Although Columbus is known for discovering America and beginning the Age of Exploration, he, in reality an horrendous man who allowed horrific atrocities against the innocent Native Americans. Today, Christopher Columbus is seen as a great man and an impor...
    Free research essays on topics related to: arable land, native americans, term effect, short term, christopher columbus
  • Christopher Columbus Called Quot

    951 words

    1492, Conquest of Paradise: The misrepresentation of the Film The movie, Conquest of Paradise is very inaccurate in its portrayal of Christopher Columbus and what he brought to the so called " New World" . The movie shows Columbus to be the first person to discover America and to cross the Atlantic Ocean when it is known that others had accomplished this miracle years before he did. Also, the movie doesnt completely show the difficulty of the first voyage and the fears of the never rea...
    Free research essays on topics related to: good things, first voyage, christopher columbus, movie shows, called quot
  • Solution To The Problem Christopher Columbus

    949 words

    Historical Rights of the Vikings Columbus sailed the ocean blue in the year 1492, this statement not only holds great truths but it also holds great lies. The United States has held on to the belief that Christopher Columbus was the discoverer of North America since the beginning of it s recorded history. The total unwillingness of the American society to yield to new history isa travesty to not only the law of progress but to the people that discovered North America, the Vikings. The problem of...
    Free research essays on topics related to: historical fact, north america, christopher columbus, american culture, solution to the problem
  • Christopher Columbus Slave Trade

    563 words

    When Christopher Columbus first sighted land on that fateful day in October over 500 years ago, he did not know that he was leading America in a new direction. This direction would lead to the greatest nation in history. But it would also lead to the total destruction of one of the most culturally advanced groups of people in the world, the Native American Indians. These two different views have led to a controversial argument between people all over America. Was Christopher Columbus a bold visi...
    Free research essays on topics related to: slave trade, american cultures, native american, wasn t, christopher columbus

44 results found, view free essays on page:

0 Replies to “Columbus Day Controversy Essay Topics”

Lascia un Commento

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *