Rather than Columbus Day, “Dia de la Raza” Teaches Honor, Respect & Dignity for All People!

By: Patricia Ann Talley, Editor

Each year on October 12, the world celebrates Columbus Day, his “discovery” of the Americas, and how he claimed these lands for the spread of Christianity. Undoubtedly, Europeans contributed greatly to the development of the “New World.” But, the arrival of Columbus has a very different meaning to the indigenous people in the Americas, Africa, and Asia, who lost their lands, who died from foreign diseases, who were enslaved, and whose cultures were almost destroyed.

The story of Columbus and the doctrine of “manifest destiny” is one of the first lessons taught to many children in the Americas. Stories refer to the indigenous, non-Christian cultures as “heathens” and “barbarians,” and the story of “manifest destiny” teaches that some people are superior to others.

Last year, I witnessed a Columbus celebration where Mexican children, some with their faces painted black to impersonate African slaves, were taught to bow on their knees to Columbus as he arrived off the boat!

“Dia de la Raza” – Day of the Race

Instead of celebrating Columbus Day, many Spanish-speaking countries and communities celebrate Día de la Raza, or Day of the Race on October 12th. This holiday celebrates and honors the many countries and people that were conquered by Spain and other European explorers. It is a day of recognition and honor to the people, traditions, and cultures that were destroyed due to European colonization.

“Día de la Raza,” is celebrated in Spanish-speaking countries like Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica and Uruguay. Many countries have given the day other names, such as Hispanic Heritage Day in Spain, or Respect to Cultural Diversity Day in Argentina, or Indigenous Resistance Day in Nicaragua and Venezuela.

In the United States, Columbus Day is a national holiday and is observed by the federal government and a majority of states. But, there are some states and cities that have eliminated the holiday replacing it with Indigenous Peoples Day. Los Angeles, California recently canceled Columbus Day adding to over 25 cities in the U.S.A. that have replaced the holiday with indigenous celebrations.

It’s Time to Teach the Truth about History and Respect for All People!

“Dia de la Raz,” – Day of the Race is a time for teaching respect, dignity and the inclusion of all people in our global society.

On the Day of the Race, we should recognize and teach the truth about history – the bloodshed and elimination of the indigenous cultures and groups that were massacred and enslaved during the colonization of the Americas.

And, this holiday should also serve to remind all people in all countries throughout the Americas about the current challenges and conditions in that indigenous people are facing still to this day.

Here are some videos to help teach children and to demonstrate the” Dia de la Raza” celebration that is held in various places in the world.

A Teaching Video for Children

This video, in honor of “Dia de la Raz” is a little story to teach children the true value of their historical past; and to love their skin color, their hair, their eyes, and their roots. It’s in Spanish, but everyone can follow along.

By: Paola Klug, YouTube, Published October 1, 2012

 Indigenous Celebrations in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Guerrero

Ixtapa Zihuatanejo is located in the state of Guerrero where there are a variety of different races and ethnic groups. There are approximately 600,000 indigenous people living in Guerrero, about 20% of the total population of the state. Indigenous dancers are part of the annual peace celebration in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo. The area has indigenous dance groups and schools where the native languages are taught and preserved.

Hispanic Heritage Day in Madrid, Spain

By: Ricardo Ian, YouTube, Published October 19, 2011

 Día de Raza in Santiago, Chile


By: Michael Hanrahan, YouTube, Published November 19, 2014

It’s Time to Teach the Truth about History and Respect for All People!

Related Articles:

Imagine-Mexico.com/ It’s Time to End the Myth of Columbus and Teach Our Kids the Truth about History

Imagine-Mexico.com/ The State of Guerrero is Full of Rich History, Culture, and Ethnic Diversity

References:

Attn., Almie Rose, “25 Cities That Ditched Columbus Day,” October 10, 2016, https://www.attn.com/stories/11964/25-cities-that-have-replaced-columbus-day

New York Post (nypost.com), Joshua Rhett Miller, “Los Angeles Cancels Columbus Day,” August 31, 2017. http://nypost.com/2017/08/31/los-angeles-will-no-longer-celebrate-columbus-day/

 

 

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