I see no need to eliminate Columbus Day as a holiday. I do not believe that Christopher Columbus was responsible for genocide. Diseases brought to indigenous people are an inadvertent result of migration. Columbus was not responsible for future abuses perpetrated by other European settlers.

Beyond this, we should give more respect to Leif Erikson Day, Oct. 9. While Columbus was backed by the Spanish government, men like Leif Erikson and Thorfinn Karlsefni were private citizens who came to what is now North America without government support.

The first child of European descent born in the Americas was Snorri Karlsefnisson, the son of Thorfinn and his wife, Gudrid. Gudrid was the widow of Thorstein Erikson, Leif’s brother. It is lamentable that history courses say so little about the Norsemen in America. I would like to recommend that people read both “Erik’s Saga” and “Greenland Saga.”

Brent A. Maynard

York Beach

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