As another October is upon us, the debate continues in the U.S. about whether to continue recognizing Christopher Columbus as the “discoverer” of America or be honest with ourselves about his unheroic legacy as a mass murderer.
Many cities — starting with Berkeley, California way back in 1992 — have renamed Columbus Day "Indigenous People’s Day" to honor the Native Americans whose home was invaded as they were killed during Columbus’ journey.
Seattle and Minneapolis followed suit and changed the name last year. Lawrence, Kansas and Portland, Oregon joined the pack just this week.
"Learning about the history of Columbus and transforming this day into a celebration of indigenous people and a celebration of social justice ... allows us to make a connection between this painful history and the ongoing marginalization, discrimination, and poverty that indigenous communities face to this day," Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant said after the city voted to change the day's name last fall.
The exploitation of Native Americans' suffering extends beyond the government’s choice to continue dedicating a day to Columbus.
Retail stores also continue to take full advantage of the ability to advertise “Columbus Day Sales” leading up to the day — masking the horrific historical event as a good reason to go out and spend some money.
COLUMBUS Day Sale must mean that I can walk into a store and just take whatever I want.— Anton Treuer (@antontreuer) October 9, 2015
Of course, we know that in the land of consumerism any holiday that helps promote sales and bring in business is fair game, even if it means offending a minority community and glorifying genocide just to sell clothes and shoes.
Is "Indigenous People's Day" not catchy enough to slap on a sales pitch?
I won't be frequenting any stores that have "Columbus sales" #AbolishColumbusDay— heatherfeather (@Heather28df) October 9, 2015
Some of the shameless companies contributing to the madness are Macy's, IKEA, Sears, Puma, DSW and even the beloved Amazon, among many others. To add insult to injury, the bulk of these sales END on Oct. 12, which actually is Columbus Day.
Even the blissfully ignorant shopaholics who don't care about what Columbus Day really celebrates can't even receive discounts on the true day of "celebration."
So, remind us again what good it does to recognize Columbus Day?
When stores announces their "Columbus Day Sale", I just wanna walk in & take whatever tf I want & claim it mine. #AmericanTradition no?— Nezahualcóyotl (@uhrele_blkberry) October 7, 2015
Retailers are still running Columbus Day sales. #tragic— Earth, Wind, & Shade (@KevyD_PhD) October 9, 2015