Happy Leif Erikson Day!
Yeah, I know it’s Columbus Day. But what did he do? Not know where he was. That’s it. He thought he could go the back way to Asia, hit land and decided that was it. That’s like if you leave Quincy to go to Hannibal, but call it a successful trip after gassing up in Palmyra.
Oh, he discovered America? There were people already here, he didn’t discover anything. He didn’t even discover America for the Europeans, as the honoree of Leif Erikson Day beat him here by about 500 years give or take a decade. There are some claims that Spaniard Alonso Sanchez or Frenchman Jean Cousin landed in the Americas just a few short years prior to Columbus, and some archaeological evidence that suggest St. Brendan even beat Erikson here. It’s still a little shaky on Brendan, but he Erikson was definitely here pre-Columbus.
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Maybe it’s the Northern European ancestry in my blood that gives me a special affinity for the North-men, but if we’re going go have a holiday or observance for the guy who discovered the New World, let’s go with the guy who actually more-or-less discovered it, not the maritime equivalent of that one friend who just discovered The Beatles for the first time and thinks you really need to check out their album called Abbey Road, it’ll change your life. Seriously, you guys.
I like the movement for Indigenous Peoples Day, yes, let’s definitely keep that. The people who lived in this land we now call home for centuries before our European ancestors came in like the Kool-Aid Man yelling OH YEAH! and stealing their land definitely deserve recognition. That should exist on the National Level. But let’s also have Leif Erikson Day on the national level. It’s recognized nationally, with official observances in seven states (Illinois is one of them). It’s particularly popular in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, states with large Scandinavian populations.