In both Spain and the United States we celebrate or lament the day that Christopher Columbus, an explore sanctioned by Los Reyes Catolicos//The Catholic Kings who reunited Spain after expulsing the Muslim rulers from Europe arrived to the Americas changing the world in a completely unforeseen way.
October 9th is without a doubt one of the least celebrated holidays in the United States but it still manages to be one of the most polarising for American citizens. In the States many acknowledge the day in remembrance of the indigenous ancestors who lost their land and lives or as the beginning of an era of wealth and exploration that shaped the world as we know it today. Either way October 9th is a time for us to reflect on the foundation of our countries and the shadows over both nations that even through the illumination of history can never be casted out.
Despite the complex opinions that people hold toward Indigenous Peoples Day and El Dia de La Hinpasidad(October 12) , history tells a very clear and all to familiar story, one of war, power and victory. However in 2017 numerous American cities and States, including Los Angeles and San Francisco in California formally acknowledge October 9th in memory of the struggles of indigenous peoples during the period of global colonialism. Still, in light of those who choose to celebrate Columbus, the old saying “history is written by the victor” rings true.
In Spain however, El Dia de La Hinpasidad//Day of Hispanic Culture, is a celebration of a national victory and of discovery that opened ports to the west and expanded a culturally identity in away like never seen before. Today parades celebrating national pride and Spanish culture will fill the streets of cities all across Spain in remembrance of Christopher Columbus’s arrival to the Americas.
On this day what I remember is, that history is not only told by the victors, but is also made of an intersection of fact, fiction and clouded truths. As I watch the preparations for a holiday that marks a day that not only highlights the independence of Spain from southern invaders, but also the celebration of economic revitalisation that led to the beginning of the culture in which I live and the world as we see it today. Nevertheless, this day means something different for the First Nations in the Americans.
Despite the conflicting emotions that our history can cause, it can’t be changed, and although history likes to move through the ages like the rhyme of a bitter song, the best thing that we can do is move forward while never forgetting to look back.