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I must speak out about the Menomonie City Council’s vote for a new indigenous people’s day.

I am fine with this new observance. It makes sense to honor the native people who came before us, settling western Wisconsin -- many of whom remain in our community or on nearby tribal land.

But please spare me the Columbus-bashing. A student quoted in the July 20 Dunn County News said, “…by continuing to acknowledge Columbus Day… we are sending a message that we’re OK with that type of behavior that he is infamous for.”

I don’t know exactly what this student is referring to, but for about 500 years, Columbus wasn't infamous, he was celebrated as an amazing explorer, just as the recent Apollo 11 astronauts are being celebrated on the anniversary of the moon landing.

It is only recent historical revisionists who now blame Columbus for things such as slavery, which existed in the Americas before Columbus, and which was re-invented by the Portuguese, who worked with West African kingdoms to start the Atlantic slave trade.

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Columbus was Italian, and though he worked for Spain, his purpose was to explore and to spread Christianity – noble purposes we should still honor.

His record, if you will take time to read the old narratives, show that Columbus was a skilled mariner, natural historian, botanist and a man of faith.

I am proud to be a member of the local Knights of Columbus organization that strives to remain true to a mission of faith, service and charity. All missions learned from Christopher Columbus, the Great.

Jim Uhlir, Menomonie

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Did you expect more reasoning from Menomonie? Will the same people expressing disgust of Columbus express the same disgust over questionable human rights in the modern day U.S.?

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