More and more communities across the nation are embracing the adoption of Indigenous Peoples Day to replace Columbus Day, citing the atrocities committed by Columbus on Indigenous peoples, and the centuries-long systems of Indigenous displacement and abuse his colonization began.
On Indigenous Peoples Day this past Monday, President Joe Biden became the first sitting President to proclaim it a holiday, saying:
"Our country was conceived on a promise of equality and opportunity for all people — a promise that, despite the extraordinary progress we have made through the years, we have never fully lived up to. That is especially true when it comes to upholding the rights and dignity of the Indigenous people who were here long before colonization of the Americas began."
Predictably, this hasn't sat well with a number of Republicans who insist that Columbus's introduction of white people to the land was noble enough to celebrate despite the documented abuse, enslavement, rape, and genocide of its first occupants.
Far-right Senate candidate J.D. Vance of Ohio is one of those Republicans.
He posted a Twitter thread decrying Indigenous Peoples Day as "divisive" because people like him object to it. Meanwhile, he praised Columbus Day, presenting Columbus as an example of "European" ingenuity.
“Indigenous Peoples’ Day” is a fake holiday created to sow division. Of course Joe Biden is the first president to… https://t.co/CiL498jKCl— J.D. Vance (@J.D. Vance) 1633963543.0
A half a millennium ago Columbus used technology developed in Europe to sail across a giant ocean and discover a new continent. Today we celebrate that daring and ingenuity. Happy Columbus Day!
— J.D. Vance (@JDVance1) October 11, 2021
Of course, Vance's tweet was riddled with inaccuracies.
Columbus did not discover a new continent, as the Arawak people who first encountered him—and practically every other Indigenous nation in the Americas—had already occupied the land for thousands of years. What's more, Columbus never set foot in North America.
Not to mention, the sail, the compass, the numbers, and the celestial navigation Columbus relied on to reach land had no roots in Europe.
People were quick to point this out to Vance.
Hey Siri did Europeans invent the compass or the sail https://t.co/NO0phPkFpr— isi baehr-breen (its pronounced ‘izzy’) (@isi baehr-breen (its pronounced ‘izzy’)) 1633975632.0
Actually, the compass was invented in China 2000 years ago. Historical records show that the Chinese, Arabs and Ind… https://t.co/6iblUDMSDT— Fred (@Fred) 1634010948.0
Boats were invented by the Egyptians. Navigation was developed by the Phoenicians. The compass was invented by th… https://t.co/15j1LlmKsz— Will McAvoy (@Will McAvoy) 1634047984.0
Most of his open water navigation techniques were actually invented in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia Minor. https://t.co/g7MXCEG2vh— Craig Harrington (@Craig Harrington) 1633969574.0
This is what it looks like when you tweet before your maggot-riddled brainmush has finished buffering. Gotta let… https://t.co/EnPgvRmLOp— Marissa Jackson Sow (@Marissa Jackson Sow) 1633972728.0
They were quick to set a few records straight on Columbus's legacy.
Oh Peanut, Columbus did NOT discover a continent. He was convicted of brutal crimes and later pardoned by the monar… https://t.co/B16AEqACwK— Chris Get Vaxxed (@Chris Get Vaxxed) 1633974378.0
The only Christopher we acknowledge is Wallace. Also, I believe that the person you are referring to got lost. https://t.co/aPxXUBhpIy— Franita Tolson (runs on anger and caffeine) 💕💚 (@Franita Tolson (runs on anger and caffeine) 💕💚) 1633972311.0
Dude got lost; died 14 years later still thinking he'd found a new route to the East Indies. And he was a brutal en… https://t.co/7rnSWGBpnT— Josh Chafetz (@Josh Chafetz) 1633964446.0
Given that Vance has endorsed the white supremacist "great replacement" conspiracy theory, it may not come as a surprise that his views of Columbus are at odds with documented history.