LETTER: Honoring Indigenous People Will Help Wilmington Move Towards A More Inclusive & Unified Community

Dear Editor,

It seems the Columbus day debacle has come to a head in our little corner of the world and I
would like to share my thoughts with the community in an attempt to bring us back to just that, a community.

In regards to Christopher Columbus, he was a strange choice to honor from the very beginning. He was neither a good man nor liked by the people of the time. He cheated, he stole, he lied, raped, pillaged, and murdered. In fact, he was so disliked that he was tried by the Spanish courts and lost his governorship. I am lucky enough to have visited the beautiful country of Italy on a few occasions and they mock us for honoring such a man. What message does this give our children or the world?

Like many of us, I was taught that America was under-developed and inhabited by isolated pockets of small communities of Native Americans. On the contrary, Native Americans had large trade routes, complex agricultural systems, and cities with populations of up to 20,000 people. In fact, European settlers would not have survived if not for the agricultural practices made common by Native Americans. This was a population of people who were thriving in their way of life.

The creation of the United States, like the creation of most modern nations, was a bloody one. You would be hard fought to find someone who could cleanly represent that era simply because it was not a reputable time in our history. While I am grateful for the opportunities that the US has to offer, I am also deeply humbled by the sacrifices made by those who lived on this land before Europeans.

We can simultaneously be proud of our country and want to do better than those who came before us. Transitioning to a holiday that honors a people that still face huge disadvantages as a result of the actions taken during the creation of the US, is not taking away the pride we can hold for our country and our heritage. We are a community with diverse experiences and family trees and not only do I believe that it is right to recognize Indigenous people and their sacrifice with this holiday, but I believe it essential to our little town moving towards a more inclusive and unified community.

A proud citizen

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