Year-round Festival Series 36 – Indigenous Peoples’ Day – Columbus ‘Discovered’ a New Continent?

The discovery of the American continent by Christopher Columbus on 12 October 1492 was an important development in world history. This important day in human history is commemorated annually in the United States of America on 12 October or the second Monday in October.

Columbus, a Spanish-sponsored explorer, was planning to explore a new route to India and China when he accidentally discovered the existence of the Americas. This important historical event is known by different names in different countries and is commemorated on its own day.

The important discovery made by Columbus was a major shock to the European society at that time. The European countries also embarked on nearly 400 years of colonialism, in which they occupied territories abroad to gain economic advantages.

For the original inhabitants of the Americas, it was a chapter of national tragedy. Since then, the population of the original inhabitants of the Americas has declined significantly. Fortunately, in the 21st century, many American cities no longer celebrate Columbus Day, but rather Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

In 1992, on the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America by Columbus, the city of Berkeley, California, USA, initiated the change of Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day, which was followed by other provinces. If we are willing to put aside our ego and look at world history from the perspective of the indigenous people, we will come to a completely different conclusion. The renaming of the day can be seen as a sign of America’s willingness to let go of its longstanding right to write the history of the world from the perspective of Western civilisation.

From Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day

The dark history of the past cannot be reversed. What we can do in the future is to move forward and hold on to hope. Forgive the past. The government, educational institutions and the economic and social systems have the responsibility to help the public to change their perception of the Aboriginal people.

The issue of how to treat indigenous people well is not only in the United States, but also in our neighbouring Taiwan, a country with many indigenous people. The treatment of aboriginal people in Taiwan also deserves deeper consideration by Taiwanese people.

Understanding the history of colonisation and how the indigenous people emerged from colonialism can help us build a more harmonious society. Multicultural education starts at an early age in Europe and the United States. As Hong Kong is becoming an increasingly affluent society, the acceptance of multiculturalism in our education system will help Hong Kong build a stable and harmonious society.

#YearroundFestivalSeries #IndigenousPeoplesDay #Columbus



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◢ Elva Lai enjoys creating art, reading, travelling, hiking and making a cup of coffee in the morning. She received her education in Singapore, the United States, Germany and Hong Kong.

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