Columbus Day, or more aptly Indigenous Peoples’ Day in recent times, comes around each year. We’re widely taught that he is the first European to set foot on North America. However, what many don’t know is that there is someone else who technically set foot on North America hundreds of years before Columbus.
Enter: sort-of viking explorer, Leif Erikson. He was a leader and icon for many Scandinavians well past his time (and also notably doesn’t have a troubling history with treatment of the indigenous population of America). So it begs the question: Why are we celebrating Columbus Day instead of Leif Erikson Day? Yes, this is a real holiday; it’s not simply a made up holiday briefly mentioned in an episode of Spongebob Squarepants.