Why Columbus Day Should Become Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Abolish ColumbusCommentary

What’s in a Name? . . . Why Did Saul Become Paul?

Published October 9, 2017

Editor’s Note: This commentary was first published in Native News Online on October 12, 2105. The message remains as strong as it did two years ago.

What’s in a name?

Ask any Christian who recalls the transformation of Saul, a highly educated Pharisee and a murderer of early Christians, into the Apostle Paul, who became the second most influential man in Christianity, behind only Jesus Christ.

The Acts of the Apostles recounts Saul’s transformation on the road to Damascus where he was stricken by a blinding light that led him to seek help from his murderous and evil deeds.

After his transformation, there was an immediate shift in name usage: Saul became Paul. Scholars argue, he had the right to use both names. Among Jewish people, the name Saul was much more common. Among Romans, Paul was more familiar. As a Christian, Paul reached out to the Gentiles, therefore, used the more commonly accepted name among the non-Jewish people in his missionary journeys and writings.

What’s in a name?

Christopher Columbus, the man who “sailed the ocean blue in 1492,” did not discover America. This is a constructed hoax that is perpetuated from one generation of Americans to the next.

Rethinking Columbus Flyer 2015Columbus actually never made it to the land now known as the United States. He never made it to the country that today celebrates Columbus Day as a federal holiday. Martin Luther King, Jr. is the only other person with a federal named in his honor.

History records Columbus had many indigenous people killed. So, he was a murderer. It is argued Columbus set the stage for the largest genocide in the history of the world. Millions on top of millions of indigenous people died as the result of Christopher Columbus.

So, it is understandable that each year there is a gnawing pang every time a Columbus Day commercial makes it to my television screen. I saw Columbus Day sale touting a local furniture store on Sunday morning that announced this year’s Columbus Day sale was the largest in history. Apparently, the advertising agency saw the play on words and went with it. I immediately translated the commercial’s message into Columbus had the most people murdered in history of the world and I found the commercial disgusting. The notion of a federal holiday named for Columbus sickened me even more. Sadly, I had to witness the commercial as I ate my breakfast.

What’s in a name?

Levi Rickert

A whole lot goes into a name. Just as Saul became Paul, it is time for Columbus Day to transform into Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Saul had enough sense to change his name usage as a way to heal the wrongs of his past. When will America realize it is time to heal the wrongs of its past?

There is no honor in honoring a mass murderer. It’s time to honor the indigenous peoples of this land.

Levi Rickert, Potawatomi, is the publisher and editor of Native News Online. 

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