Whether as Columbus Day or as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, it is an official day off for Federal and Postal employees. Does it matter what and how we ascribe it? It has been many centuries since the voyage of Columbus; each child born today, and for many centuries past, can hardly be blamed for the ill-deeds of past generations.
That being said — if we are blameless — is it merely in the beliefs to which we identify, which marks the differences between us? Certainly, for a Native American, it is irritating to hear someone claim that “such and such discovered America”; for, by definition, a land already inhabited cannot claim to have been discovered except by the inhabitants themselves.
But the argument is that the present society into which people are currently born, cannot possibly be blamed for the genocidal extermination of its indigenous peoples; and so, what can it mean as to whether or not one calls it “Columbus Day” or “Indigenous Peoples’ Day”?
The counter to that, of course, is that the reservations into which Native Americans were forced to accept, still reverberates with current loss of water rights, mineral rights, etc., and is a constant reminder of what was lost. And it may be of some restoration of dignity to insist upon historical accuracy, where insistent inaccuracy is the basis for acrimonious inter-cultural relationships.
Yet, in this Post-Factual Universe where the Western approach of the Correspondence Theory of Truth once prevailed but no longer dominates, is there even a difference with a distinction?
For most, where the meaningful divide is between those who are overworked, barely able to make a living, and are stressed to their limits — which constitute the greater majority of individuals — and those who live a fairly carefree life of leisure (the greater minority of people), the fact of a day off, whatever you want to call it, is what seems to mean anything.
And for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who can enjoy the day to spend with their families and loved ones, Happy Columbus Day and Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day, 2022.
Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.