Folks are already looking ahead to October hoping there will be a shift in the holidays we celebrate. On social media, “Columbus Day” started to trend amid calls to have the holiday canceled. The demands arrive as monuments of the Spanish explorer and colonizer started tumbling across the country.
According to CBS Boston, in Boston’s North end, a Christopher Columbus statue was beheaded, leading to the statue’s removal on Wednesday and a statement from Mayor Marty Walsh, saying there will be conversation surrounding the “historical meaning” of the incident and whether it will ever go back up.
Columbus was one of the first Europeans to explore the Americas at the end of the 15th century. He is credited as “discovering” America even though indigenous people had been here for years. Many people credit his trip as igniting the trans-Atlantic slave trade and he was also criticized for his brutal treatment of indigenous people.
According to the Associated Press, Columbus wrote that the indigenous people he encountered were childlike and could be easily turned into slaves. As indigenous groups revolted against terrible treatment from the Spanish, Columbus ordered a ruthless crackdown that involved having dismembered bodies paraded in public. Soon, Columbus was arrested on mismanagement and brutality charges and passed away a defeated man.
It wasn’t until the 1800s that authors and historians started romanticizing Columbus and it played into the U.S.’ western expansion at the time, which harmed many indigenous tribes.
Now, indigenous and anti-racist groups are resisting, once again, in a movement that has been years in the making. Through protests, direct actions, and advocacy, many groups are advocating for Christopher Columbus Day to be changed to Indigenous People’s Day.
The fight has continued in places like Boston as well as Virginia where a statue was torn down by protestors on Tuesday night, according to WWBT. Not too long after, the statue was spray painted, then set on fire. Its final resting place was the lake where protestors pushed it in.
Clearly, people are serious about changing perceptions of Chris. Social media backed the moves with pointed tweets and funny memes.
“Throw every christopher columbus statue in the ocean and let that dizzy bitch think he discovered atlantis,” one Twitter user wrote.
Historian and writer, Patrick Wyman, tweeted in response to the statue beheading writing, “As somebody who just wrote a book chapter on Columbus: he was a dogshit person even by the standards of the late 15th century, it’s gross that he’s commemorated, this is awesome.”
You can check out more responses to Mr. Columbus in the tweets below.
Can we cancel Columbus Day and make Election Day a holiday now? https://t.co/gciOqt2xzr— The Hoarse Whisperer (@TheRealHoarse) June 10, 2020
Christopher Columbus Statue In Boston Beheaded.— Benjamin Dixon (@BenjaminPDixon) June 10, 2020
Makes me proud to be back in Beantown https://t.co/5BisFxzyhB
How dare they pull Columbus out of the bottom of the lake he discovered— Richmond Police (@BeQueerDoCrime) June 10, 2020
well would you look at this I mean it is a very good thing there's not any of those statues here in Columbus, Ohio because I'd just hate to see the masses inspired https://t.co/XIQOwlFILP— Hanif Abdurraqib (@NifMuhammad) June 10, 2020
In all fairness, Columbus beheaded real humans in the Dominican Republic, allowed his men to rape native women and enslave men, and cut off their ears for insubordination. And he never set foot on North American soil. So I’m not sure why he needs a statue here in the first place. https://t.co/9I7wUqhgHO— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) June 10, 2020
Good. Now let’s cancel Columbus Day because we all know he ain’t discover shit & we not finna keep acting like he did https://t.co/niqQy0dgst— Slim Thee Hoochie💋 (@ZheeSherett) June 10, 2020
So when are we going to get around to officially junking Columbus Day and replacing it with Indigenous Peoples Day (and making that a true national holiday)? https://t.co/2oRAtcB2aJ— Jess Phoenix 🌋 (@jessphoenix2018) June 3, 2020