How to Replace Columbus Day With Indigenous Peoples' Day for Your Kids

On October 12, 1492, a sailor on Christopher Columbus’ crew spotted an island of what is now the Bahamas. On this we can agree. Everything else about what some call Columbus Day, some call Dia de la Raza, and some call Indigenous Peoples’ Day, is up for debate. As parents, we like to call that a teaching moment — especially if, like me, you find yourself with your children at home for it this year.

Much to the chagrin of certain politicians, our children today no longer learn about European explorers “discovering” the Americas the way some of us once did. But American education, like American culture, has some work to do when it comes to telling the full history of what European settlers — and then white Americans — have done to the original inhabitants of this land and their descendants. It’s a horrible history that isn’t all completely appropriate for young children, so maybe it will never quite fit neatly into a school curriculum (not that they shouldn’t try!). So for now, it’s up to us to supplement that education. And what better day to do so than on this divisive “holiday”?

(A rather obvious note here for any Native / Indigenous folks reading this: You know better than I do how to speak of your people’s history. If you want to share with us how you’re doing so, drop your thoughts in the comments!)

We’re not suggesting that you can sit down and tell your children the entire history of a vastly diverse ethnic group in a single day off from school. But if you do just one thing, it can be the beginning of an ongoing conversation. Here are just some of the ways you can teach your children about what happened in the aftermath of Columbus sailing the ocean blue:

1. Learn whose land you’re on.

Take a look at some maps that lay out where tribes lived in the 1700s, and where they are now. This map, created by Aaron Carapella, has the names of the tribes and their locations. You can buy your own at his site,

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