Refuse to Lose – Remediating ‘Columbus Day’

Go Lean Commentary

Today is the Monday closest to October 12 – Day of Discovery by Christopher Columbus – so it is a day set aside as a Holiday in many places. But alas, there have been many communities that have remediated their historical appreciation for Christopher Columbus.

His impact was not all good!

This is part of the new attitude – community ethos – about losing. The actuality of Columbus is that while some people won – European Imperialists – many others lost. Those that lost, are stakeholders too in today’s Caribbean. The new attitude about winning-losing is actually a …

Refusal to lose

This community ethos is defined as a commitment by a group or society to the values of quality, success and winning. This corresponds to this formal definition of “community ethos” in the 2013 book Go Lean … Caribbean (Page 20):

… the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society; dominant assumptions of a people or period.

Celebrating Columbus Day is choosing the victories of some people over the losses of others. This is not winning; not win-win. Adapting the ethos to Refuse to Lose is supposed to be different, better; we want the Greater Good to win, not just a fraction of the population.

See, here, the encyclopedic reference on Columbus Day and the efforts to remediate its celebrations:

Reference: Columbus Day
Columbus Day is a national holiday in many countries of the Americas and elsewhere which officially celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus‘s arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492. Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer who set sail across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a faster route to the Far East only to land at the New World. His first voyage to the New World on the Spanish ships Santa MaríaNiña, and La Pinta took approximately three months. Columbus and his crew’s arrival to the New World initiated the Columbian Exchange which introduced the transfer of plants, animals, culture, human populations, and technology (but also invasive species, including communicable diseases) between the new world and the old.

The landing is celebrated as “Columbus Day” in the United States but the name varies on the international spectrum. In some Latin American countries, October 12 is known as “Día de la Raza” or (Day of the Race). This is the case for Mexico, which inspired Jose Vasconcelos’s book celebrating the Day of the Iberoamerican Race. Some countries such as Spain refer the holiday as “Día de la Hispanidad” and “Fiesta Nacional de España” where it is also the religious festivity of la Virgen del Pilar. Peru celebrates since 2009 the “Day of the original peoples and intercultural dialogue”. Belize and Uruguay celebrate it as Día de las Américas (Day of the Americas). Since Argentina’s former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner officially adopted “Día del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural” (Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity) November 3, 2010. “Giornata Nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo or Festa Nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo” is the formal name of Italy‘s celebration as well as in Little Italys around the world.[1][2]

The celebration of Columbus Day in the United States began to decline at the end of the 20th century, although many Italian-Americans, and others, continue to champion it.[31][32] The states of Florida,[33] Hawaii,[34][35] Alaska,[36][37] Vermont,[38] South Dakota,[39] New Mexico,[40] Maine,[41]Wisconsin[42] and parts of California including, for example, Los Angeles County[43] do not recognize it and have each replaced it with celebrations of Indigenous People’s Day (in Hawaii, “Discoverers’ Day”, in South Dakota, “Native American Day”[32]). A lack of recognition or a reduced level of observance for Columbus Day is not always due to concerns about honoring Native Americans. For example, a community of predominantly Scandinavian descent may observe Leif Erikson Day instead.[44] In the state of Oregon, Columbus Day is not an official holiday.[45] Columbus Day is not an official holiday in the state of Washington [46]

Iowa and Nevada do not celebrate Columbus Day as an official holiday, but the states’ respective governors are “authorized and requested” by statute to proclaim the day each year.[47] Several states have removed the day as a paid holiday for state government workers, while still maintaining it—either as a day of recognition, or as a legal holiday for other purposes, including California and Texas.[48][49][50][51][52]

The practice of U.S. cities eschewing Columbus Day to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day began in 1992 with Berkeley, California. The list of cities which have followed suit as of 2018 includes AustinBoiseCincinnatiDenverLos AngelesMankato, MinnesotaPortland, OregonSan FranciscoSanta Fe, New MexicoSeattleSt. Paul, MinnesotaPhoenixTacoma, and “dozens of others.”[31][53][54][55][49][56][57][58][59][60][61] Columbus, Ohio has chosen to honor veterans instead of Christopher Columbus, and removed Columbus Day as a city holiday. Various tribal governments in Oklahoma designate the day as Native American Day, or name it after their own tribe.[62]

Source: Retrieved October 12, 2019 from:

This commentary is a continuation of this series on the Refuse to Lose ethos; this is Part 2-of-6. The full series is cataloged as follows:

  1. Refuse to Lose: Lesson from Sports
  2. Refuse to Lose: Remediating ‘Columbus Day’
  3. Refuse to Lose: Introducing Formal Reconciliations
  4. Refuse to Lose: Despite American Expansionism
  5. Refuse to Lose: Canada’s Model of Ascent
  6. Refuse to Lose: Direct Foreign Investors Wind-Downs

This is not the first time this commentary have addressed ‘Columbus Day’. As related in a previous Go Lean commentary, the orthodoxy of the ‘Columbus Day’ celebration is now frown on in many communities. See this quotation:

The human psyche is consistent; when we have been victimized, we want everyone to remember. But, when we have been the perpetrator – the bully – then we want everyone to forget. This applies to individuals and nations alike.

This experience relates to the history of the New World. Upon the discovery of the Americas by the European powers – Christopher Columbus et al – the focus had always been on pursuing economic interests, many times at the expense of innocent victims. (This is why the celebration of Columbus Day is now out of favor). First, there was the pursuit of gold, other precious metals (silver, copper, etc.) and precious stones (emeralds, turquoise, etc.).  Later came the exploitation of profitable agricultural opportunities (cotton, tobacco, sugar cane, etc.), though these business models required extensive labor. So the experience in the New World (the Caribbean and North, South & Central America) saw the exploitation of the native indigenous people, and then as many of them died off, their replacements came from the African Slave Trade.

See this comedic VIDEO here that portrays this history and the trending to remediate the holiday – “How is it still a thing?”:

VIDEO – Columbus Day – How Is This Still A Thing: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) –

Posted October 13, 2014 –
Christopher Columbus did a lot of stuff that was way more terrible than “sailing the ocean blue,” but we don’t learn about that.

Columbus Day: How is it still a thing?

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This foregoing VIDEO uses humor and punditry to convey a valid point:

Christopher Columbus should not be viewed as a hero of all the people. His legacy has blood stains on the annals of history.

The United States of America had been a majority White (European) country for its entire history. The minority populations finally won its battle for Civil Rights and equal treatment, appealing to the “Better Nature” of its founding principle:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – Declaration of Independence for the United States of America, July 4, 1776.

The end product of the Civil Rights movement is the equal protection under the law for all ethnic groups – majority or minority. After nearly 400 years of European-dominated power-brokers in the US, finally in 2008, the first person of minority heritage was elected to the American presidency – Barack Obama.

Remediating ‘Columbus Day’ is an accomplishment and achievement for the Civil Rights struggle of minority ethnic groups in America. Now the Refuse to Lose mantra must include everyone and not exclude anyone.

The subject of the American Civil Rights movement and momentum – leveling out the inequities – over the history of the New World have been addressed in many previous commentaries; consider this sample list here: Unequal Justice of American Sheriffs and How to Remediate Nature or Nurture – Cop-on-Black Shootings in America’s DNA ‘Pride’ Movement – “Can we all just get along” Women Empowerment – Accepting Black Women ‘As Is’ European Reckoning – Leveling Christianity’s Bad Influence Blacks get longer sentences from ‘Republican’ Judges Nature or Nurture: Women Have Nurtured Change to Level Society One Woman – Viola Desmond – Making a Difference for Canada Achieving Gender & Other Equity without the ‘Battle’ How the West Was Won? Thru Pluralism and Ethnic Normalization The Journey From ‘Indian Termination Policy’ to Modern Pluralism Lessons Learned from Pearl Harbor and Civil Rights Remediated Transformations: Civil Disobedience … Very Effective The Advocacy to Rid Sports of Blatant Racism ‘The Divide’ Book Review describing the unequal justice practice The Case of Muhammad Ali – Equal Protection Under the Law

The Refuse to Lose mantra now includes everyone in America and should not exclude anyone. This is why ‘Columbus Day’ is “no longer a thing”.

(Most communities do not want to lose the paid-holiday on the books, so they have substituted ‘Columbus Day’ for some other worthy cause).

This is a good model …

May we apply this lesson throughout the Caribbean – this means you Puerto Rico; (they have 2 holidays: October 12 & November 19).

Using Puerto Rico as a microcosm of the rest of the New World, the demographic on that island is a vast majority of Black-and-Brown people. The Taino people and culture that Columbus discovered and encountered on the island is now gone and extinct. Columbus should not be viewed as a hero due to the course of events he set in motion.

The European people – remnant on the island – would elevate Columbus as a winner, while the indigenous people would have to be deemed the losers. This is not Win-Win!

We now need to Refuse to Lose – for every demographic in our society – not just one group at the expense of another.

This is the lesson learned from ‘Columbus Day’.

Let’s all lean-in and foster this Refuse to Lose attitude; this is the right community ethos to elevate our society to be a better homeland to live, work and play.  🙂

About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 14):

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv.  Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

xxxiii. Whereas lessons can be learned and applied from the study of the recent history of other societies, the Federation must formalize statutes and organizational dimensions to avoid the pitfalls of [negative] communities … . On the other hand, the Federation must also implement the good examples learned from [positive] developments/communities… .

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.

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