October 12 is one of those days that, according to the historical perspective with which one looks at it, has a different name depending on the country. Even within the same country, as is the case in the US, the celebration changes its name from state to state.
At the beginning of the nineties, some states in the United States decided to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day rather than the more traditional Columbus Day, the usual name given to commemorate the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas, to honor the indigenous people who survived (and especially those who disappeared) with the conquistador’s arrival. From Argentina’s Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity to Chile’s Day of the Encounter Between Two Worlds, from Bolivia’s Day of Decolonization to Nicaragua’s Day of Indigenous, Black and Popular Resistance, there are an infinity of cultural and identity processes that lead each of these nations to decide which part of history they want to commemorate.
Taking care of a cultural and historical memory is not a straightforward process for any people, but it is fundamentally necessary to society’s welfare. To speak about what hurts us enables us to understand and integrate a people’s multiple realities into the discourse of memory.
There are multiple realities and also multiple truths facing those realities. Learning to name a day like today, according to the place in the world where I find myself, helps me see that when it comes to memory—historical and cultural—there are still thousands of truths to discover and realities to explore so we can move forward towards a more just, humane world.