Why Columbus Day should be called Indigenous Peoples Day

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I am a seventh grader at Wellesley Middle School.

Wellesley should not celebrate Columbus Day, but instead Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Millions of people were already living in North America in 1492, and Columbus never set foot on our land. In fact, Oct. 12 marks the day of his arrival in the Bahamas. He did reach the coasts of what today are Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, as well as explore Central and South America, but he never planted a Spanish flag in North America.

When Columbus set foot on the land of the Taino they were willing to trade. After the Taino people offered gold to Columbus he jumped to the conclusion that they were giving up their land to him.

Columbus was cruel – he killed Taino people if they weren’t capable of giving him what he wanted. He enslaved all the Taino people over 14. Columbus was also very greedy, because he only cared about gold to take back to Spain.

After just four years only 33 percent of the Taino population was left. The Taino people died so fast because they were either killed by Columbus and his men, by diseases or by committing suicide because they had enough torture and could not handle it.

This land was not his to take. It is obvious he did not think of others. All he did was think about himself, his life, his career and his money.

After Columbus died many European people followed Columbus’ footsteps. This means that they did many of the bad things he did and after a few more years Taino culture was gone.

When we celebrate Columbus Day, we celebrate greed, lies, slavery and killing.

I see Wellesley as a kind community that works together. Columbus was the opposite of kind. Wellesley should celebrate the indigenous people who were here first: the Wampanoag and Massachusett tribes.

Other towns already celebrate Indigenous People’s day, including Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville. Wellesley should join them.

Town Meeting should vote to change the second Monday in October to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Annie Hodge
Bay View Road

 

Originally published as a letter to the editor in Wellesley Townsman.