Indigenous Peoples Day vs. Columbus Day - A Great Divide
Monday marks Indigenous Peoples Day for some, and Columbus Day for others. I wonder what it will look like in the future when we can see this day with less divisiveness, and instead with a truthful understanding of history and compassion for one another’s different experiences. How can we bring this way of teaching into elementary schools, and how do these reflections and relations build social-emotional learning and resilience? This week, we explore how truth and empathy can bring us beyond our defensive opinions, and instead together with a deeper understanding.
Indigenous Peoples Day vs. Columbus Day
The celebration of Columbus Day is harmful to Indigenous communities because the holiday glorifies a time in history that was (and still is) traumatic for so many. Others feel defensive about this time in history as it honors their ancestors. Either way, both perspectives and feelings matter. When we come at one another with what we strongly believe to be true, there is no room for empathy, listening, and understanding. And the great divide continues.
The truth also matters, and the fact that the trauma and harm were not taught to us is the key issue behind the divide. The glorified stories have generated feelings of pride in celebratory days, that many of us who are privileged never recognized as oppressive. This conversation and learning is beyond a single day, it is about gaining a deeper understanding of how history has and continues to impact people differently, whether it be with privilege or oppression.
Connection to the feelings behind these stories in history is what will guide social-emotional learning and build empathy and understanding. Stories humanize our experiences and help us as past, present, and future generations forge ahead and evolve together to write new stories and shape the future world that we want to live in.
How can we take historical trauma, and Native traditions, to re-imagine a world of connection, compassion, common humanity, and resilience?
It’s time to understand the real history and what it means from different perspectives and truth. This does not mean sacrificing the history of Columbus, it means learning beyond the single story so many of us learned and considering ways to restore some of the beautiful Native traditions that will help us evolve as a human race.