Christopher Columbus got lost at sea and ended up in the Bahamas, which he thought was Asia, 525 years ago. He proceeded to rape and pillage his way through the region, ushering in an era of “explorers” from different European nations wreaking havoc on indigenous peoples throughout not only the Caribbean but all of the Americas.

A (very rough) estimated third of those people were killed through disease, violence and starvation. Others were kidnapped and enslaved. It is officially labeled a genocide by the Genocide Watch organization. Columbus is not single-handedly responsible for these atrocities, but he is, among other things, a symbol of them.

On Monday, Oct. 9, schools and businesses will honor of this man. I believe change starts with the individual. If you agree, tell your kids and co-workers to enjoy Indigenous People’s Day. If you’re lucky, they’ll ask what you mean.

Elizabeth Tollefson

Billings

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