why do we have columbus day off

Does your school recognize Columbus Day as an official holiday? What do you know about Christopher Columbus? In this 2014 piece, Б,Б Jake Flanagin writes:
ItБs a controversial day with a turbulent history. БThis historically problematic holiday Б Columbus never actually set foot on the continental U. S. Б has made an increasing number of people wince, given the enslavement and genocide of Native American people that followed in the wake of the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria,Б Yvonne Zipp for The Christian Science Monitor. БThe neighborhood wasnБt exactly empty when he arrived in 1492. Б Back in 1992 Б 500 years after ColumbusБs fateful landing in the Caribbean Б Berkeley, Calif. , was the first American city to repurpose his day in honor of Native America. БTalk of an alternative Columbus Day dates back to the 1970s,Б Nolan Feeney for Time, Бbut the idea came to Berkeley after the First Continental Conference on 500 Years of Indian Resistance in Quito, Ecuador, in 1990. That led to another conference among Northern Californian Native American groups. Б Attendees brought the idea in front of the Berkeley City Council, after which they Бappointed a task force to investigate the ideas and ColumbusБ historical legacy. Б Two years later, council members officially instated Indigenous PeoplesБ Day in lieu of Columbus by a unanimous vote.


The California state senator Lori Hancock, then the mayor of Berkeley, remembers encountering Italian-American pushback similar to that in Seattle. БWe just had to keep reiterating that that was not the purpose,Б she told Mr. Feeney. БThe purpose was to really affirm the incredible legacy of the indigenous people who were in the North American continent long before Columbus. Б And itБs worth noting that not all Italian-Americans tote Christopher Columbus as a symbol of cultural pride. БThose supposed leaders in the Italian-American community who oppose Indigenous PeoplesБ Day on the same day as Columbus Day do not speak for all of us of Italian descent,Б Margaret Viggiani of Seattle in a letter to The Seattle Times. БThey certainly donБt speak for me. I, and many others, agree wholeheartedly with the long-overdue change and applaud the Seattle City Council for doing it. Б БWhy should anyone take pride in honoring the life of a man who brought misery and degradation of the native peoples of this hemisphere? Б she asks. БItБs time to give due to the important and overlooked accomplishments of the many indigenous people who inhabited this hemisphere long before it was named the Americas.


Б Students: Read the entire article, then tell us: Б Why does the United States celebrate Columbus Day? In your opinion, is the holiday problematic? Б What do you think of the argument for changing the name and focus of the holiday from Columbus to Бindigenous peoplesБ? Does it dishonor the heritage of Italian-Americans, a group that has also faced discrimination? Or does it serve to recognize and affirm the overlooked history and contributions of Native Americans? Б Do you think changing the name of the holiday can change the way indigenous peoples are treated and remembered in United States history? Or is this move largely symbolic? Б Do you think the United States should continue to recognize Columbus Day as an official holiday? If so, why? If not, should we celebrate Indigenous PeoplesБ Day instead Б or something else? We know that when you ask is Columbus Day a federal holiday? what you re actually wondering is whether you get the day off of work. We know, we know. You work hard, transitioning into fall is rough and, well, you just need a break. Here s the deal with the somewhat confusing holiday and how it changes, or doesn t change, your work schedule. So, is Columbus Day a federal holiday? Columbus Day is a public holiday in many parts of the country. Yes, it s still a federal government holiday, which means some government offices are closed.


Federal workers get the day off, so that means banks and bond market will be closed, though the stock market will be open. If you need to get to the bank, plan it for the weekend or first thing on Tuesday morning. Since it s a federal holiday, does that mean you ll get the day off of work? Not so fast. Are you a federal worker? If not, it s complicated. Columbus Day is only legally required to be observed in some states. In fact, it s one of the most inconsistently celebrated holidays in America. Only 23 states gave their employees Columbus Day as a paid holiday in 2015, the Council of States Governments Book of the States. This does not include the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, which also give the day as a paid holiday. That means you ll need to check to see if your local schools or post offices are closed for the day. For everyone who isn t a federal or state employee, that means it s up to your employer. Don t blame us, we re just the messenger here. But! If your employer doesn t give you a paid holiday but you happen to live in a state that gives state workers the day off read: teachers and school is out, maybe use that as a really good excuse to take the day off of work and stay home with the kids.

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