A Letter to Christopher Columbus


Eve Lazarski

Graphic created by Eve Lazarski for the opinion piece, “A Letter to Christopher Columbus”.

Aryana Street and Ella Jones

Dear Christopher Columbus, 

We heard you are famous for “discovering” America… but how did you discover something that wasn’t lost? Genuine question. It is puzzling because according to The Atlantic, Native Americans have “occupied [those] American lands for at least 20,000 years,” before you came and messed everything up. Native Americans were some of the first highly skilled farmers and hunters. They also knew how to transport materials, goods, and animals on land and water. But then, of course, you came in and destroyed everything.

You brought diseases with you and they spread very quickly to the Natives. This ended up wiping out whole populations of Native cities. As well as this: you used violence to kill and enslave natives so that you could steal their land. You didn’t have the right… that was evil. Also, as if that wasn’t enough, you enslaved natives, you forced them to have sex with your companions, and you kidnapped countless.  Not to mention, you also tortured innocent people, and sold numerous young women into sex slavery. Absolutely disgusting.

As a result of all of your evil, according to Vox,about 50,000 natives have committed mass suicide rather than comply with the Spanish”. Then in the end, after everything you’ve done, you forced them to leave their land, their homes, just so that you could take over. And once it was all over, in true colonizer fashion, you stepped in and pretended to be the hero. You tell everyone that you are “a famous explorer who discovered America”. This is incredibly far from the truth. You only had one job Chris. You were supposed to find a quicker water route to India and you couldn’t even do that. Instead, you treated these natives like they weren’t even human. You don’t deserve your own day. That day, instead, should be used to honor all of the victims that you kidnapped, murdered, raped, and enslaved. It should be a day for honoring the real heroes; the Natives.

You sailed the ocean blue in 1492, but 500 years later in 1992, in Berkeley, California, you lost your day. 

You should have never had a day to start. Because of you, according to The World Population Overview, out of all of the groups that have experienced discrimination in America, indigenous people are the least recognized. Also, out of all the major minority groups in the United States, Native Americans are suffering from the most poverty.

But in spite of that, Native Americans have learned how to continue to thrive; no thanks to you. There were nearly 10 million Native Americans before colonization, and although the number of Native Americans still haven’t surpassed what they were, there are now nearly 6.79 million Native Americans in the U.S. today. Even with all the injustice you’ve bestowed onto Native Americans, they still have gained sovereignty within the United States. As stated by the government website Tribal Nations, the sovereign tribes include: the Blackfeet Tribe, the Crow Tribe, and the Chippewa Cree Tribe. The writer Grant Rindner, who writes for the website, Oprah Daily, also reports that there are about 571 more tribes that have gained sovereignty.

Additionally, in 2021, 529 years after you greatly botched life for Native Americans, we now have more Native American media representation. The media has been graced by the presence of Native American celebrities like Jason Mamoa, Jimi Hendrix, Princess Nokia, Lila Downs, and many more. Your “famous” exploration has now made you more infamous than ever before, and rightfully so. You may have hurt Native Americans, but they are nowhere near broken, despite your inability to show empathy and to be a decent human being.

Christopher Columbus? More like Christopher Colonizer. You led the way to some of the darkest moments in history. You are absolutely despicable. 

With The Most Sincerest Hearts and Deepest Opinions,

Aryana Street and Ella Jones

Cypress, Alycia. “Why We Hate Columbus Day (and Why You Should Too):” Jerk Magazine, Jerk Magazine, 7 Oct. 2020, https://jerkmagazine.net/9mfehhs6kt2vag7aqn19w0hd2b5dka/2020/10/7/why-we-hate-columbus-day-and-why-you-should-too.

Fadel, Leila. “Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples’ Day?” NPR, NPR, 14 Oct. 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/10/14/769083847/columbus-day-or-indigenous-peoples-day.

Matthews, Dylan. “9 Reasons Christopher Columbus Was a Murderer, Tyrant, and Scoundrel.” Vox, Vox, 13 Oct. 2014, https://www.vox.com/2014/10/13/6957875/christopher-columbus-murderer-tyrant-scoundrel

Native American Population 2021, https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/native-american-population.

Rindner, Grant. “Famous Native American Writers, Politicians, and Actors Who Are Making Waves Right Now.” Oprah Daily, Oprah Daily, 5 Apr. 2021, https://www.oprahdaily.com/entertainment/g34316734/famous-native-americans/.

Rutherford, Adam. “A New History of the First Peoples in the Americas.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 18 May 2021, https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/10/a-brief-history-of-everyone-who-ever-lived/537942/

“An Overview of Native American History.” Scholastic, https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/history-native-americans/

Tribal Nations, https://tribalnations.mt.gov/tribalnations.