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Saturday, October 13, 2012

October 13-14, 2012: Crowd-sourcing Columbus Day Alternatives

[For this AmericanStudier, Columbus Day is by far the most troubling of our national holidays. So I’ve decided to propose an alternative, Cross-Cultural Day, which would be an occasion to remember and celebrate some of the most inspiring relationships between Native and Non-Native Americans in our history. This week I’ve highlighted a few such inspiring individuals and interactions in my posts. This crowd-sourced post is drawn from responses to those posts and other takes. Add yours below, please!]
Rob Gosselin argues that “I, for one, would be more than ecstatic to see Columbus Day replaced with something else. I originally thought it would make sense to replace it with something like "Exploration Day" and connect it to the space program. Use it as a day to celebrate exploration, and not a day to celebrate an invasion. Then I realized I was being a revisionist and ignoring the facts, both positive and negative, of the actual event. I like where you are going with this. Keep the day the same. There is a lot to be said for exploration, but it is also important to realize that it comes with a bucket-load of consequences. Particularly when it is begins as an extension of imperialism, and not as a journey of discovery.”
Rob and I discuss those questions further in this Facebook thread, where Maggi Smith-Dalton argues that “Without the practical, self-interested treasure seeking angle (and don't discount the religious zealotry) I doubt there would have been any kind of ‘venture capital’ (to be totally anachronistic here) available to the Lord Admiral and his quest.” Monica Jackson adds the idea, shared by other commenters in a thread of hers, that there should be a Pocahontas or Sacagawea day instead.”
Jeff Renye suggests another turn of the 20th century cross-cultural American text, Tekakhionwake's (E. Pauline Johnson) short story "As It Was in the Beginning."
Also, check out these very interesting and relevant articles on Columbus Day and possible alternatives!
10/13 Memory Day nominees: A tie between two artists who greatly influenced 20th century American political, social, and popular culture: Herblock and Lenny Bruce.
10/14 Memory Day nominee: E.E. Cummings, the Modernist poet whose innovations in punctuation, structure, and style complemented and amplified his complex and pioneering themes and perspectives.

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