Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Christopher Columbus

In 1492

               In “1492 Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”  Every schoolchild has heard this rhyme, but do you know where Columbus landed? Do you remember what his goal was? Many remember the names of his ships, but what was the name of the people who were already on the land? This article is to set about to inform you about those people and Christopher Columbus.

To start, I will tell a story, one from my school days, when I was a 5th grader learning about Christopher Columbus. That year I had a teacher I shall call “Ms. M.” Ms. M was Native American. When Columbus Day came around, she got a wry smile on her face and told us we were all going to play the part of natives. Then she pointed to a boy and told him he was to act as Columbus.

The boy had left the classroom. Ms. M told the class that when he returns, we were to all fall dead as soon as he sneezes. The boy walked in, sneezed, and we all fell dead. He looked around, confused. Ms. M. told us that when white people like Columbus came, many of the Native Americans died from disease or were murdered. I never forgot that lesson.

Who is Christopher Columbus Really?

Christopher Columbus was born in Italy in 1451. The son of a wool merchant, he left at a young age for a life on the sea.  He was a navigator. At no point did he set out to discover America, nor did he actually ever discover any new lands. On October 12, 1492, he landed in the already occupied Bahamas, thinking he had reached India. He was a slave trader despite the Spanish queen despising slavery. He enslaved and killed native peoples. His last voyage he landed in Central America, but even then, he did not discover America. People already lived there. He died thinking he found a sea route to Asia.

Who Were the Indians?

The indigenous people of the Bahamas called themselves the Lucayans. This meant “island people”. They were the descendants of Arawak’s of Hispaniola, now modern Haiti and the Dominic Republic. Columbus enslaved the people of the Bahamas and the Caribbean. The Arawak people of Hispaniola, known as the Taino, went extinct. Diseases killed most of them as they were not immune.  

     I stated above the Taino were extinct. In some ways, this is true for most native tribes. The Spanish recorded the elimination of the last of the Taino, but there were survivors. These survivors intermarried with other peoples or existed outside of Hispaniola. There are people today who consider themselves Taino.

What is Indigenous Peoples’ Day?

Indigenous Peoples’ Day occurs every October 12th to celebrate Native American history. There are 14 states plus the District of Columbia and 130 cities celebrating Indigenous People’s Day. It has been an idea since the ’70s, 1977 to be precise. South Dakota was the first state to officially adopt it in 1989. If we started teaching our kids that October 12 is Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus day we correct the error we have enshrined in our history.

While many might argue that Columbus day is a great celebration of Italian American Heritage, Native American’s have long protested this symbol of genocide and colonialism. Columbus Day is honouring European slaughter of existing people. It is declaring hero of a man who wrote in his own journals how easy it would be to subjugate native people. Today we should honour the many who were already here, those first Americans, not Columbus.


I wanted to get this out on October 12th but did not. On October 12, a video was posted to Tik-Tok and reposted on YouTube, claiming that it was BlackOut Day. BlackOut Day was July 7th, 2020 for Black Lives Matter. White people staying silent in the face of racism by not posting on social media does not end racism. My mother always told me silence is agreement. Speak out by lifting up voices of BIPOC.

Further Reading (Sources)

  1. (2016, March 03). Taíno: Indigenous Caribbeans. Retrieved October 13, 2020, from
  2. Dope, S. (2007, December 04). Where does that “1492/ocean blue” thing about Columbus come from? And what was Columbus’s deal, anyway? Retrieved October 12, 2020, from
  3. Editors, B. (2020, August 20). Christopher Columbus. Retrieved October 13, 2020, from
  4. Hauck, G. (2020, October 12). Indigenous Peoples Day or Columbus Day? 14 states celebrate, honor Native American histories and cultures. Retrieved October 12, 2020, from
  5. com Editors. (2009, November 09). Christopher Columbus. Retrieved October 12, 2020, from
  6. Nursery Rhymes For Kids – Videos, Songs, Lyrics. (n.d.). Retrieved October 12, 2020, from
  7. Wilkinson, J. (n.d.). History of the Bahamas. Retrieved October 13, 2020, from
  8. Zotigh, D. W., & Gokey, R. (2020, October 12). Rethinking How We Celebrate American History-Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Retrieved October 16, 2020, from

Formal Tone: Brain Quest Assignment



Instructions : Now rewrite the paragraph maintaining formal tone in all places that you marked as having informal language. 

Teachers Note: Bold is where student rewrote the informal parts of the essay in formal tone. Regular is the original Brain Quest book essay. 


Many people believe that Socrates was the greatest philosopher who ever lived. In fact, some consider him the father of all philosophy. Philosophy is a word that originates from two Greek words, philo meaning love and Sophia meaning wisdom. Philosophy is the study of human thought and love of seeking wisdom. Socrates lived in Greece, in the fifth century BCE. There were others who studied philosophy before him, but Socrates brought philosophy to the lay-man. Prior to Socrates, philosophy was taught only in formal schools for the intellectuals and wealthy of Greece. But Socrates had a different way of teaching. He didn’t tell his students what to think. Instead he asked them questions about what they thought, and helped them arrive at the answers themselves. Socrates was also interested in the practical implications of philosophy: how it applied to regular people and in day-to-day life. That interest in the consequences of philosophy may have been Socrates downfall. Socrates was executed for corrupting the youth by teaching political philosophy and for denying the gods. His sentence was to drink a hemlock potion in a state sanctioned suicide. Even though Socrates never produced any writings his student, Plato, wrote several works about his life. Thanks to Plato and Aristotle our generation can learn about Socrates’ life and philosophy.

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Carnival: Brain Quest Assignment

Instructions : Write a story about what you would do at the carnival. Be descriptive using sight, smell and touch.

If I went to the carnival, I would see rides and games, smell food, taste cotton candy. I would hear people yell and shout words. I would ride every ride except the flipping ones. It is fun and I can see that slow rides are boring. I won’t ride those but Cera will.

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Let’s Talk: Brain Quest Dialogue Assignment


Instructions: You speak differently from the way you write.
Imagine you are at a football game when a strange object appears over the field. As the crowd watches in fascination, the object lands on the 30-yard line, and a gang of strange blue creatures pours out and delivers extraterrestrials ice cream to every member of the crowd.

Then imagine how you would tell that story to one of your good friends.
Me: “So, um, I was at a football game, giving the sport a chance. I was watching it in boredom, then a spaceship appeared. It had aliens! These aliens handed out ice-cream!”
Friend: “Right, aliens and ice-cream.”
Me: “Yes, I took a video see here it is. Ice-cream!”
Friend: “What? Why aren’t they abducting them?”

Brain Quest Campaign Speech Assignment

Instructions: Now write your campaign speech using the information and evidence you gathered on the previous page.

Here’s a fact, the fact is I am organized and a leader. If you think a normal principal’s office is scary don’t worry, I will help you there. I will even help with your grades. Remember, Knowledge is power, the more knowledge you have the better off you are. I will help there so vote for me.

Grand Canyon Karst Seminar

By Damien Knight

Ben Tobin gave this seminar over the karst regions of the Grand Canyon. I arrived late to the seminar, but it was very interesting. When I entered Ben was talking about the morphology of the caves. They are following the fractures into the canyons itself. They mapped the caves from faults and fractures traced in the groundwater. To do that, they had to do dye traces of the different cave entrances.

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Science and Technology USGS Seminar Summary

By Damien Knight

Pete Cinotto came to campus November second to talk about science and technology from the USGS Water Science Center’s perspective. He talked about his early career and study first and how he joined the USGS. Pete then focused on how USGS operates. He says that everything is changing rapidly and starts his talk with the slide “Science for a Changing World.” We live and work in a rapid changing world. Science must change with it.

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Mammoth Cave Connections Seminar Summary

By Damien Knight

On October 19th Chuck Decroix gave a seminar on Mammoth Caves history. His talk summarized the cave history and the connections with WKU. First, he discussed the new visitor center dedicated in 2012. In 2012 Mammoth Cave was 400 miles long. Today Mammoth Cave is 412 miles and is the longest cave in the world.

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Industrial Regulatory Term Asbestos and Minerals It Involves

By Damien Knight

Asbestos has become a common household name. Its hazards a concern blared across our TVs during lawsuit commercials. We all have heard of it, but what is it? Why was it mined? To understand asbestos, we first must define it. Here we will describe the minerals defined, talk about its use, mining, and health effects.

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Window into The Samurai Warrior

Jayson Knapp
Instructor name:  Mr. Knight
School Name: Knapp Family School

Window into The Samurai Warrior

Who were the Samurai? The Samurai were the elite warrior group of Japan. The time of the samurai was the Edo or feudal Japan period, from 1603 to 1867 in Japan. Back then Tokyo was Edo. Edo was not capital Kyoto was.  A samurai wasn’t just warriors but, they were also shoguns. Shoguns were commander-in-chief in feudal Japan, the highest rank.

What was the life of a samurai? When a boy in a samurai family is born, they give him a sword. It’s not a real sword, but it is a symbol of his future. A sword is more important than anything except for Bushido and his training.
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