Panel to discuss significance of Columbus

By Philip Dalton

A panel will gather tonight to discuss the significance and impacts of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.

The Quincentennial celebration commemorating the discovery of America 500 years ago will be honored in October, but some people question whether there is cause for celebration.

Alternative views, such as the Native American and European view, will be discussed by the panel, said Pablo Virumbrales, NIU assistant foreign language professor.

He said the Native American view comes from a history of “exploitation and population decimation” as a result of Europeans inhabiting the New World. The European view also will evaluate the impact of Columbus’ discovery on the Native American populations he encountered.

NIU student Vicky Garcia, who organized the event, said she hopes the event will draw awareness to the fact that there isn’t just one viewpoint on the topic of America’s discovery.

Garcia encourages anybody who has ever taken a history class to come listen to the discussion.

Both views will be discussed for the purpose of learning the facts about European involvement in America since Columbus’ discovery.

The event will be held tonight at 7 p.m. in the Holmes Student Center’s Heritage Room. It is free and open to the public.

Tonight’s discussion is another installment in the National Hispanic Month.

The next Hispanic Month event will be a lecture on “The Costa Rican Experience.” It will be held Friday at 7 p.m. in the student center, room 305.