US/Va history Unit 1 – Topic 1 Name: Should we celebrate Columbus Day?



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US/VA History

Unit 1 – Topic 1 Name: __________________________


Should we celebrate Columbus Day?

In a few weeks, you will get a day off from school to celebrate Columbus Day. Columbus Day was created as an official holiday at the time of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ “discovery” of America in 1892. By the time of the 500th anniversary, in 1992, things had changed – many Native American groups held huge protests against the holiday. Today, many Americans (especially in cities with large Italian-American populations) celebrate the holiday as a part of their cultural heritage and national pride. Some cities, on the other hand, have replaced Columbus Day parades with Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebrations of Native American culture and heritage. The holiday has become a controversial issue in many cities. So what are we actually celebrating on Columbus Day, and should it still be a national holiday?

At the beginning of the next class, you will participate in a debate on whether we should celebrate Columbus Day. You will either argue FOR Columbus Day, AGAINST Columbus Day, or you will serve as a debate judge, who will get to ask clarifying questions of each debater and then decide the winner of the debate. You will not know until the debate which role you will have, so prepare for them all.

In class today (after your diagnostic test….sorry about that), you will prepare for the debate. The following sites should provide all you need, but feel free to do your own research as well. Complete the chart listing the top 4-5 arguments for each position. Be prepared to make a counter-argument, as you will have a chance to respond to the opposing side. To prepare for the judge role, come up with at least two tough questions to ask of each side.



You do not need to cite any information that you get from the sources listed here, but be sure to cite any additional sources you use (URLs are fine for this). For any site, make sure you evaluate the source. Why might this group or author be for or against the holiday?

  1. Start by checking out what your textbook teaches about this. (hint – not much) Skim the first two pages here: http://www.mrlocke.com/US_History/book_files/1.2_pg14_20.pdf



  1. The Victoria Advocate: This brief background articles has a link to both a “pro” and a “con” opinion: https://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/2013/oct/06/pro_con_intro_columbus_sl_100713_221170/



  1. The Columbus Controversy Packet: This pdf has two “for” articles followed by two “against” articles: https://scvandy.wikispaces.com/file/view/The+Columbus+controversy+packet.pdf



  1. From the Order of the Sons of Italy in America (FOR): https://www.osia.org/documents/Celebrate_Col_Day.pdf



  1. An Open Letter From the AMERICAN INDIAN MOVEMENT of Colorado and Our Allies (AGAINST): http://www.indians.org/welker/byecolum.htm

Complete this chart using the links above. You may write or type. I will collect this after the debate.

4-5 Arguments FOR celebrating Columbus Day

4-5 Arguments AGAINST celebrating Columbus Day






2 Judges’ questions to ask the “FOR” side:


2 Judges’ questions to ask the “AGAINST” side:


Post-Debate Wrap-Up: Should we celebrate Columbus Day?

Answer the first 2 questions in 2-3 complete sentences. Write a paragraph to answer Question #3.

  1. What did you think was the strongest, or most persuasive argument for the “YES, we should celebrate it” side? Why was it persuasive?



  1. What did you think was the strongest, or most persuasive argument for the “NO, we should not celebrate it” side? Why was it persuasive?



  1. So what do YOU think? Should we celebrate Columbus Day? Answer this question in a well-organized paragraph. Be sure to explain your reasoning and acknowledge the other side. Do not use 1st person.


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