“Christopher Columbus? I don’t know her.”
For hundreds of years, European colonizers of the Americas were celebrated as explorers and pioneers in the United States. But in recent years harmful myths — like the one that claims Christopher Columbus “discovered” the Americas — have been reexamined. On Oct. 8, President Joe Biden officially recognized Oct. 11, 2021 as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, alongside Columbus Day, meaning both are celebrated on the same date. It’s a big step, and it’s safe to say Twitter was ready: These memes about Indigenous Peoples’ Day are honestly about as real as it gets.
“For generations, Federal policies systematically sought to assimilate and displace Native people and eradicate Native cultures. Today, we recognize Indigenous peoples’ resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society,” Biden wrote in an official statement recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day. “Today, we acknowledge the significant sacrifices made by Native peoples to this country — and recognize their many ongoing contributions to our Nation.” Though Columbus Day continues to be a federal holiday in the United States, in recent years many individuals and local governments have become uncomfortable with celebrating someone who committed brutal atrocities against the indigenous populations he encountered. Around the country, many areas have begun celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead. Although the shift is not (yet) an official change to the federal holiday calendar, the wind is clearly changing — Biden is the first president to officially recognize the holiday, per The New York Times.
Now, people all over the internet are celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day by showing their appreciation for the culture and contributions of tribal nations, and of course, by dishing out some seriously hilarious Twitter memes. Most of these memes point out how Christopher Columbus was not, in fact, the great explorer American history books have continually framed him as — he was actually more of a power-hungry creep who was pretty bad at navigating his way across the ocean. Seen through a modern lens, Columbus didn’t really discover the Americas, he just oopsied his way onto them and laid claim to land that wasn’t his to take.
While some memes took the chance to dunk on Columbus, others got a lot more serious. Many people took the opportunity to highlight the history and resilience of the many indigenous communities in the Americas.
Let’s be honest: These memes probably hold more truth than many history books across the United States do. So please, keep ‘em coming.