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TTU Professor: Use Columbus Day As A Time Of Reflection

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
TTU Professor: Use Columbus Day As A Time Of Reflection

The second Monday of October marks the federal holiday Columbus Day, which arose from the desire to honor the explorer attributed with discovering the Americas in 1492.

However, in recent years there has been more discourse about whether a person who committed atrocities like Columbus is worth celebrating. Tennessee Tech Adjunct History Professor Troy Smith said he uses the day to reflect not just on Columbus, but on the Indigenous People he affected.

“That group of people he encountered who were so kind and welcoming, who were almost completely wiped out in a generation or two,” Smith said. “And I think all of us should be more aware of that, those things that happened, and situations that still exist with Indigenous people and to honor.”

Smith said when it comes to teaching about Columbus, he does so without sugarcoating it to his students. When it comes to younger kids, Smith said it’s important to at least introduce some of the nuances that he did “bad things.” He said that is something that teachers and parents could and should do in order to open up that conversation.

“People say it’s not fair to judge a person of the past by the standards of the present, and I agree with that, but I think it’s fair to judge people of the past by standards of their own day,” Smith said. “Which is to say that Columbus’ brutality freaked out people in his own lifetime. To the extent that he was removed from his position as a governor of the new colony, and even wound up in prison for a while.”

Smith said while it seems like this kind of discussion has only come up recently, it’s something that indigenous peoples have been speaking out on for years.


The post TTU Professor: Use Columbus Day As A Time Of Reflection appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.