Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker and Council Member Mo Seifeldein have requested a resolution be created to change the name of Columbus Day to “Indigenous People’s Day.” Their impetus is to acknowledge the “overlooked history of oppression and decimation of Native Americans.” In addition, they also want to recognize the fact that indigenous people inhabited America 12,000 years before Columbus landed here in 1492. However, there is absolutely no good reason to change this national holiday.
For over 200 years, we have honored Christopher Columbus for making landfall in the Americas on Oct. 12, 1492; it was indeed a great accomplishment, regardless of other shortcomings he may have had. While it is right to remember and honor the original inhabitants, it should not come at the expense of Columbus Day. Why not have this remembrance on the day after Thanksgiving, since tradition has it that local native Americans were part of the original Thanksgiving feast? I have always stuck by my axiom that “if it ain't broke, don’t fix it;” and in this case, there is even a more suitable time in which to remember the original inhabitants. Let’s be proactive, Alexandria, not reactive.
Townsend A. “Van” Van Fleet