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Oct 06 2010

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COLUMBUS DAY OR DIA DE LA RAZA

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COLUMBUS DAY OR DIA DE LA RAZA

(500 años de que?)

 

The date of Columbus’ arrival in the Americas is celebrated in many countries in Latin America, although not in Brazil, (and in some Latino communities in the United States) as the Día de la Raza (“day of the race”), commemorating the first encounters of Europeans and Native Americans. The day was first celebrated in Argentina in 1917, Venezuela and Colombia in 1921, Chile in 1922, and Mexico in 1928.

The day was also celebrated under this title in Spain until 1957, when it was changed to the Día de la Hispanidad (“Hispanity Day”), and in Venezuela until 2002, when it was changed to the Día de la Resistencia Indígena (Day of Indigenous Resistance). Día de la Raza in many countries is seen as a counter to Columbus Day. It is used to resist the arrival of Europeans to the Americas and is used to celebrate the native races.

In the U.S. Día de la Raza has served as a time of mobilization for pan-ethnic Latino activists, particularly in the 1960s. Since then, La Raza has served as a periodic rallying cry for Hispanic activists. The first Hispanic March on Washington occurred on Columbus Day in 1996. The name has remained in the largest Hispanic social justice organization, the National Council of La Raza.

It is commonly believed that opposition to Columbus celebrations dates to the later part of the 20th century. However, the current group of American Indian activists are not alone historically.

In the 19th century, for example, activists sought to eradicate Columbus Day celebrations because they thought the Catholics would use the holiday to take over the country. Similarly, the notion that Columbus was responsible for more calamity and destruction than progress and prosperity has been a recurrent theme ever since Columbus’s voyage. Even the notion of connecting Columbus and indigenous population collapse has been repeated periodically for centuries.

In the late 20th century, some groups voiced opposition to Columbus celebrations. Indigenous groups in particular have opposed the holidays as celebrating the man who initiated the European colonization of the new world. Opposition often focuses on the cruel treatment indigenous peoples faced at the hands of Columbus and later European settlers and the fact that the European conquest directly and indirectly caused a massive decline in population among the indigenous peoples.

Personally I, Jairo Galeano Casanova, have many questions about this date and I do not like celebrating it, in fact I am one of those who think that it was not a complete good thing the arrival of Colon to America, but as this blog is only informative not critic I cannot say more, but I would love to know what your opinion of this day is.

By the way… 500 años de que?

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