We Should Celebrate Indigenous People


Samantha Odom, Staff Writer

We all know the rhyme: Columbus sailed the ocean blue back in the lovely 1492. But does he deserve all that praise and recognition? Absolutely not. 

This past Monday, October 11 is what Americans used to formally celebrate as Columbus day. This day is now known as the holiday Indigenous Peoples Day. But why didn’t we have the day off school in AACPS? Why didn’t we celebrate the huge community that has made such a big impact on our country?  

Indigenous People’s Day is a holiday to celebrate our indigenous population in our country. It gives a chance to celebrate all they have done to help develop it.  This holiday is still not as well known as it should be, yet it has been around for almost 30 years. In the Anne Arundel County school district we do not have this day off. Why is this? This is not just our county. Many schools nationwide do not consider this to be an actual holiday. Countless government jobs that have had no problem celebrating Columbus day yet do not give off for the very community that created and built this country.

This is yet another disrespect to Indigenous people as a whole. We need to do better. This is bigger than a day off, this is about our nation neglecting an important part of our history to prioritize a man who should have never been glorified in our history.

As junior Diego Garcia said ¨It is very upsetting that our country is willing to prioritize a white man over a whole community of people.¨ Junior Caffrey Helpa said he agreed.

Despite the fact that we don’t get Indigenous People´s Day off as a holiday you would think we would least be learning about it in our school system. Unfortunately, that is not the case. As a junior in high school, I personally have never had a lesson on Indigenous Peoples Day or about Indigenous peoples’ history. 

I have however experienced many lessons in grade school about Columbus, and have done activities that have praised what we have been conditioned to believe about his history. 

Why can’t we as a country, learn to take constructive criticism of our mistakes and learn to appreciate those we have hurt. It is not just about our past; indigenous people still do so much for our country and our entire world. It is said that indigenous people protect over 80% of our biodiversity in forests, deserts and grasslands, and marine environments which they have done for centuries. 

We need to be more aware of our history and make sure we are actively trying not to repeat it. It matters how we present the history of Indigenous People. We need to do better.