Indigenous Peoples Day Poem by Jim Yerman

Indigenous Peoples Day

When I was young I couldn't wait to go outside and play
when school was not in session on Christopher Columbus Day.

We were taught all the stories…how he sailed the ocean blue
with the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria…in 1492.

We were taught he was a great explorer, across the oceans his boats swirled.
We were taught this Italian man who sailed for Spain discovered our new world.

He's such a navigation hero our history books proclaim
that cities across this nation are christened in his name.

He's been given the ultimate accolade…banks are closed and children play
as we commemorate Christopher Columbus with his very own holiday...

But then a strange thing happened, we found the history books were skewed
and we weren't ready for the things we read or the feelings that ensued.

It seems this new world theory comes with a little hitch
Columbus wasn't looking for America he just wanted to get rich.

He thought he'd sail to Asia when he left Spain that fateful day
but he was wrong about the route and America got in the way.

It was in the Caribbean not America where Columbus made landfall.
The fact is…he never landed on or visited America at all.

About his claim of discovering a new world…it's a very misleading stat
I think the Native Americans might have something to say about that.

Because if I'm not mistaken they were here many years before
Christopher Columbus accidentally bumped into their shore.

And would a man who we've been taught was courageous, great and brave
kill the people who were already here or turn them into slaves?

Would we still look at Columbus Day with as much innocence and pride
If we knew how he decimated a people and committed genocide?

No, I think it's time we stop giving Columbus so much dignity and glory
and teach our children while they're in school…both sides of the story.

Perhaps then all of America will commemorate and cheer
those who really discovered our country…
you know, the ones who were already here.

So the next generation of children will be excited to go outside and play
when their school is not in session on Indigenous People's Day.

Monday, October 12, 2020
Topic(s) of this poem: columbus day,native american
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