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#1367622 - 10/07/12 07:09 PM Columbus the Murderer
Teonan Offline
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Registered: 05/30/12
Posts: 2743
Loc: Gaia
Columbus Day Should Not be Celebrated




Columbus is considered by many to be a villain, not only did he ruthlessly murder thousands of natives but also engaged in acts of torture in his role as viceroy. During his second voyage, he enslaved and murdered the natives of Hispanola named the Taino Indians. Within a short time (two and a half years) an approximate number of two hundred and fifty thousand Taino were dead. The funny thing about it is that his descriptions of the natives goes as follows:

“So tractable, so peaceable, are these people, that I swear to your Majesties there is not in the world a better nation. They love their neighbors as themselves, and their discourse is ever sweet and gentle, and accompanied with a smile; and though it is true that they are naked, yet their manners are decorous and praiseworthy.”

This was written by Columbus (translated into English) after his first journey, after his return home and reward of gold and fame his intentions and treatment of the Indians quickly readjusted into full out gold collection mode regardless of loss of life of what he perceived to be an inferior race. The promise of 10% of all treasures discovered certainly added to Columbus’s drive for treasure, which he and the Spanish singlemindedly pursued until virtually all the natives were dead and most of the gold had been harvested or stolen.

The murders, rapes, and mutilations done by Columbus and his men are rarely mentioned in today’s society. Columbus’s role as slave trader and murderer extraordinaire are not written about or mentioned during this most unfit of holidays. The use of Indian bodies as food for the dogs is well documented, as well as Columbus and his men sport of hunting innocent men, women, and children in their spare time.

Just as we do not have holidays celebrating Hitler, we should not have holidays celebrating Columbus.


Christopher Columbus: Hero or Murderer?
by Whitney DeWitt

The second Monday in October is celebrated across America as Columbus Day. It is a celebration of the man who discovered America. In school, children are taught that Christopher Columbus was a national hero. In actuality, the man was a murderer. It is true that he found a land that was unknown to the “civilized” world, yet in this discovery, he erased the natives inhabiting the land. With slavery, warfare, and inhumane acts, Christopher Columbus and the men who accompanied him completely destroyed a people, a culture, and a land. These are not actions that should be heralded as heroic.

When his thoughts and actions throughout his voyages are considered, one can see that Columbus was never respectful of the rights of the natives he encountered. His first sight of what he termed “Indians” was of a group of attractive, unclothed people. Speculation is that, to him, their nakedness represented a lack of culture, customs, and religion (Wilford 159). Columbus saw this as an opportunity to spread the word of God, while at the same considering how they could possibly be exploited. He believed that they would be easy to conquer because they appeared defenseless, easy to trick because they lacked experience in trade, and an easy source of profit because they could be enslaved (Fernandez-Armesto 83). It obviously did not occur to Columbus to consider these people in any terms aside from that of master and slave. These thoughts were merely a foreshadowing of what was to come.

Even in Columbus’s own letters one can see the arrogance he possessed in claiming the islands he found. In a letter describing his findings to his friend Luis de Santangel, he wrote, “And there I found very many islands filled with people innumerable, and of them all I have taken possession for their Highnesses.…” (12). Columbus never stopped to consider that these islands were not his to take, nor were the people that inhabited them. He simply took over these lands, even going so far as to rename them all. In order to let everyone know of his great discovery, he returned to Spain with many new items, including kidnapped Indians (Fernandez-Armesto 89). He was attempting to glorify Spain and its monarchs while creating fame for himself.

Columbus’s arrogance and exploitation regarding slavery began on his second voyage. Ferdinand and Isabella had ordered that the natives be treated kindly. In opposition to this order, Columbus began exporting slaves in great numbers in 1494. It was because he was not making any real profit elsewhere on the island that he decided to exploit the one source of income--people--he had in abundance (Fernandez-Armesto 107). When word reached him that the crown did not want him sending more slaves, Columbus ignored it. He was desperate to make his expeditions profitable enough for Ferdinand and Isabella's continued support. Evidently he was not reprimanded because thousands of Indians were exported. By the time they reached Spain, usually a third of them were dead. Bartolome de las Casas wrote that one Spaniard had told him they did not need a compass to find their way back to Spain; they could simply follow the bodies of floating Indians who had been tossed overboard when they died (17). It is horrible to consider that the exportation of these natives resulted in thousands of deaths. It is much worse when one realizes that they were caused by one man’s desire for glory.

The Indians that were not exported were put into slavery on the island. There was literally no way to escape some form of enslavement. Columbus would let the settlers of his establishment choose whomever they wanted for their own. One account claims that each settler had slaves to work for them, dogs to hunt for them, and beautiful women to warm their beds (Fernandez-Armesto 133). This degradation of an entire group of people seemed not to bother Columbus or the Spaniards in any way. They appeared to consider it their right as superiors.

Enslavement of the Indians was not the only violation they were forced to endure; Columbus also terrorized, tortured, and killed them. At one point in time, Columbus sent five hundred men into the hills to search for gold. Upon hearing that the Indians were planning to attack the men, Columbus sent four hundred soldiers to terrorize them in order to show how strong the Christians were (Wilford 173-4). Since Columbus was in charge, he felt he could do as he chose without repercussions. He believed that the Christians could do no wrong and therefore never punished them. One of the Spaniards went through the hills, terrorizing the Indians and stealing their food. Columbus punished the Indian victims instead of the Christian culprit (Wilford 175). Obviously, the culprit was not so much of a Christian. His activities, and others like it, soon led to an all out war between the settlers and the natives. Due to their inferior weaponry, thousands of Indians were wiped out while those that were not were captured.

Other atrocities committed by Columbus and his men were reported by Michele de Cuneo, one of the Spaniards with whom he was traveling. One account tells of how they came upon a canoe and Indians and they attacked them. They thought they had killed one of the Indians and threw him into the water. Upon seeing him begin to swim, they caught him and cut his head with an axe. They later sent the rest of the Indians to Spain. He also gives a relatively descriptive account of his rape of an Indian woman; an act committed with Columbus’s blessing (Wilford 178-9). Columbus apparently believed it was his right to pass the captured women out to his men, and they, in turn, believed they did not need to ask for the women’s consent. As awful as it may be, rape was one of the less violent acts they committed against the Indians.

Columbus and his men could be a very cruel group of people. Under the guise of subduing the enemy, they would engage in horrific activities. At times, they would make an example of an Indian by cutting his hands off and tying them around his neck, telling him to then go and share the message. Other times they would go and massacre an entire village, unconcerned with the age of their victims (de las Casas 16). These are the types of inhumane activities undertaken by the men that Columbus led. This type of treatment continued a pattern seen throughout history. The degradation and belief of superiority can be seen in the way the American Indians were later treated. It can also be seen in the way the Africans were treated. Columbus certainly set a precedent, although it would be a stretch to call it an admirable one.

It is certain that the Indian’s version of the “discovery” would be quite different from the European accounts had they been given the opportunity to tell it. Certain artifacts have shown that they were not an uncivilized community as Columbus had claimed. They had a wide range of abundant food sources, healthy relationships with their neighbors, and were experienced traders. Despite what Columbus believed, they also had their own distinct religion, termed Zemiism. It is believed to be “the personification of spiritual power achieved with the aid of supernatural forces represented as idols” (Wilford 157). The Indian’s story will never be told because they did not write and never had the opportunity to hand it down. Within a generation of Columbus’s landing, their entire group of people and their culture became extinct. Bartolome de las Casas wrote, “And it is a great sorrow and heartbreak to see this coastal land which was so flourishing, now a depopulated desert” (16). When the natives began to die off, they were replaced with African slaves. Today, the descendents of these slaves are the only ones who remain. It is sad that Columbus’s search for fame led to the eradication of an entire culture. Greed and the desire for glory caused him to destroy that which he is famed for discovering.

Christopher Columbus is in no way a hero. All he did was encounter unknown lands while trying to get to Asia. He did not even manage to complete his initial goal of finding a commercially viable route to Asia by traversing the western oceans. He died feeling a failure because of this, not because of the tragedy he had brought to the Indians. His great accomplishment was the destruction of an entire population. How is that heroic?


Works Cited

Casas, Bartolome de las. “From the Very Brief Relation of the Devastation of the Indies.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Nina Baym, et al. 5th ed. Vol. 1 New York: Norton,
1998. 16-18.

Columbus, Christopher. “From Letter to Luis de Santangel Regarding the First Voyage.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Nina Baym, et al. 5th ed. Vol. 1 New York: Norton, 1998. 11-13.

Fernandez-Armesto, Felipe. Columbus. Oxford: Oxford University Press,
1991.

Wilford, John Noble. The Mysterious History of Columbus: An
Exploration of the Man, the Myth, the Legacy. New York: Alfred


Thom Hartmann commentary:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TBEHaJD5jls#!
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#1367623 - 10/07/12 07:58 PM Re: Columbus the Murderer [Re: Teonan]
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Registered: 01/16/12
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Ahahahahahashahahahahahaha...tell it to the teachers!!

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#1367625 - 10/07/12 08:11 PM Re: Columbus the Murderer [Re: ]
Teonan Offline
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Registered: 05/30/12
Posts: 2743
Loc: Gaia
From a teacher...

Rethinking Columbus: Towards a True People's History

by Common Dreams
by Bill Bigelow

October 6, 2012

This past January, almost exactly 20 years after its publication, Tucson schools banned the book I co-edited with Bob Peterson, Rethinking Columbus. It was one of a number of books adopted by Tucson’s celebrated Mexican American Studies program—a program long targeted by conservative Arizona politicians.Textbook depictions of Columbus are often filled with misinformation and distortion or are justified with references to manifest destiny. The bottom image is a woodcut by Theodor De Bry, in the 16th century, based on the writings of Bartolome de las Casas.

The school district sought to crush the Mexican American Studies program; our book itself was not the target, it just got caught in the crushing. Nonetheless, Tucson’s—and Arizona’s—attack on Mexican American Studies and Rethinking Columbus shares a common root: the attempt to silence stories that unsettle today’s unequal power arrangements.

For years, I opened my 11th-grade U.S. history classes by asking students, “What’s the name of that guy they say discovered America?” A few students might object to the word “discover,” but they all knew the fellow I was talking about. “Christopher Columbus!” several called out in unison.

“Right. So who did he find when he came here?” I asked. Usually, a few students would say, “Indians,” but I asked them to be specific: “Which nationality? What are their names?”

Silence.

In more than 30 years of teaching U.S. history and guest-teaching in others’ classes, I’ve never had a single student say, “Taínos.” So I ask them to think about that fact. “How do we explain that? We all know the name of the man who came here from Europe, but none of us knows the name of the people who were here first—and there were hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of them. Why haven’t you heard of them?”

This ignorance is an artifact of historical silencing—rendering invisible the lives and stories of entire peoples. It’s what educators began addressing in earnest 20 years ago, during plans for the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s arrival in the Americas, which at the time the Chicago Tribune boasted would be “the most stupendous international celebration in the history of notable celebrations.” Native American and social justice activists, along with educators of conscience, pledged to interrupt the festivities.

In an interview with Barbara Miner, included in Rethinking Columbus, Suzan Shown Harjo of the Morning Star Institute, who is Creek and Cheyenne, said: “As Native American peoples in this red quarter of Mother Earth, we have no reason to celebrate an invasion that caused the demise of so many of our people, and is still causing destruction today.” After all, Columbus did not merely “discover,” he took over. He kidnapped Taínos, enslaved them—“Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold,” Columbus wrote—and “punished” them by ordering that their hands be cut off or that they be chased down by vicious attack dogs, if they failed to deliver the quota of gold that Columbus demanded. One eyewitness accompanying Columbus wrote that it “did them great damage, for a dog is the equal of 10 men against the Indians.”

Corporate textbooks and children’s biographies of Columbus included none of this and were filled with misinformation and distortion. But the deeper problem was the subtext of the Columbus story: it’s OK for big nations to bully small nations, for white people to dominate people of color, to celebrate the colonialists with no attention paid to the perspectives of the colonized, to view history solely from the standpoint of the winners.

Rethinking Columbus was never just about Columbus. It was part of a broader movement to surface other stories that have been silenced or distorted in the mainstream curriculum: grassroots activism against slavery and racism, struggles of workers against owners, peace movements, the long road toward women’s liberation—everything that Howard Zinn dubbed “a people’s history of the United States.”

Which brings us back to Tucson: One of the most silent of the silenced stories in the curriculum is the history of Mexican Americans. Despite the fact that the U.S. war against Mexico led to Mexico “ceding”—at bayonet point—about half its country to the United States, this momentous event merits almost no mention in our textbooks. At best, it is taught merely as prologue to the Civil War.

Mexican Americans were central to building this country, but you wouldn’t know it from our textbooks. They worked in the Arizona copper mines, albeit in an apartheid system where they were paid a “Mexican wage.” In the 1880s, the majority of workers building the Texas and Mexican Railroad were Mexicans, and by 1900, the Southern Pacific Railroad had 4,500 Mexican workers in California alone.

They worked the railroad and they worked for their rights. In 1903, Mexican and Japanese farm workers united in Oxnard, California to form the Japanese-Mexican Labor Association. As Ronald Takaki notes in A Different Mirror, “For the first time in the history of California, two minority groups, feeling a solidarity based on class, had come together to form a union.” They struck for higher pay, writing in a statement that, “if the machines stop, the wealth of the valley stops, and likewise if the laborers are not given a decent wage, they too, must stop work and the whole people of this country suffer with them.”

Nowhere was this rich history of exploitation and resistance being explored with more nuance, rigor, and sensitivity than in Tucson’s Mexican American Studies program. Like Rethinking Columbus, Mexican American Studies teachers aimed to break the classroom silence about things that matter—about oppression and race and class and solidarity and organizing for a better world. Watch Precious Knowledge, the excellent film that offers an intimate look at this program—and chronicles the fearful, even ludicrous, attacks against it—and you’ll get a sense of the enormous impact this “rethinking” curriculum had on students’ lives.

Let’s continue to use this and every so-called Columbus Day to tell a fuller story of what Columbus’s voyage meant for the world, and especially for the lives of the people who’d been living here for generations. And let’s push beyond “Columbus” to nurture a “people’s history” curriculum—searching out those stories that help explain how this has become such a profoundly unequal world, but also how people have constantly sought greater justice. This is the work on which educators, parents, and students need to collaborate.

Note: There is a national call for a day of solidarity on October 12 with the Raza Defense Fund and the campaign to Save Ethnic Studies. You can join by hosting a house party to view the documentary film Precious Knowledge about the Mexican American Studies program in Tucson, Ariz.

Learn more here. http://zinnedproject.org/posts/18849

Bill Bigelow taught high school social studies in Portland, Ore. for almost 30 years. He is the curriculum editor of Rethinking Schools and the co-director of the Zinn Education Project. This project offers free materials to teach people’s history and an “If We Knew Our History” article series. Bigelow is author or co-editor of numerous books, including A People’s History for the Classroom and The Line Between Us: Teaching About the Border and Mexican Immigration.
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#1367629 - 10/07/12 09:47 PM Re: Columbus the Murderer [Re: Teonan]
Ohithere Offline
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Registered: 09/27/12
Posts: 1246
Very accurate account, I recall reading this a few decades ago

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#1367630 - 10/07/12 10:10 PM Re: Columbus the Murderer [Re: Ohithere]
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Ahahahahahahahahaha... you clowns make me laugh. Can any of you guess which pillar?

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#1367633 - 10/07/12 10:21 PM Re: Columbus the Murderer [Re: ]
Ohithere Offline
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Registered: 09/27/12
Posts: 1246
Smiling, while you're reeling in disbelief, I have one more myth buster for you, Peter Cotton Tail actually stole the children's candy

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#1367637 - 10/07/12 10:36 PM Re: Columbus the Murderer [Re: Ohithere]
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Originally Posted By: Ohithere
Smiling, while you're reeling in disbelief, I have one more myth buster for you, Peter Cotton Tail actually stole the children's candy
So you know Peter Cotton tail.

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#1367639 - 10/07/12 10:46 PM Re: Columbus the Murderer [Re: ]
Ohithere Offline
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Registered: 09/27/12
Posts: 1246
Alas, I found your problem, due to your lack of research? It should be noted that Peter was born around 1910 give or take a few years thus making it impossible to have known him.

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#1367648 - 10/08/12 10:03 AM Re: Columbus the Murderer [Re: Ohithere]
grinch Offline
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Registered: 08/28/01
Posts: 4530
Loc: New York State
Happy Columbus Day, a day in which we celebrate the opening of the New World to immigration. It can be compared to the various encroachments of the Indian Tribes who came, who saw, who conquered those that were ahead of them.

An email that was received yesterday from Governor Cuomo's office commenerates this day as one of celebration.




Dear Fellow New Yorker,

Columbus Day is an annual celebration of the immigrant tradition that has strengthened our nation for centuries. Every year, we come together to pay tribute to the brave men and women who journeyed here with dreams as big as the ocean they crossed. We also come together in support of the new Americans who continue to arrive here to build better lives for themselves and their families.

On this day in New York, we celebrate the Italian-American community that has enriched our state, our nation, our democracy, and our culture in innumerable ways. New York City’s annual Columbus Day Parade is the world’s largest celebration of Italian-American heritage, a legacy that this state is proud to preserve. From the very first parade and gala in 1929, Columbus Day has served as a touchstone for the growing success of all our immigrant communities.

As an Italian-American who watched his own four grandparents — all immigrants — work hard and ultimately thrive in this country, I feel tremendous pride in celebrating this day. I hope you will join me in paying tribute to the countless men and women whose tenacity, work ethic, and commitment to building community helped to make the United States the great nation that it is today.

Sincerely,


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo








--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a message from the New York State Executive Chamber, State Capitol, Albany, NY 12224.
.

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#1367663 - 10/08/12 12:09 PM Re: Columbus the Murderer [Re: grinch]
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Happy Columbus Day to you grinch!

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#1367664 - 10/08/12 12:29 PM Re: Columbus the Murderer [Re: Teonan]
Rich_Tallcot Offline
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Registered: 01/19/03
Posts: 4501
Loc: Greeneville, TN
Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received - hatred. Ayn Rand

If it were not for Columbus, Western Civilization itself would not have flourished.

Cultural relativism is invalid because it is self contradictory. Relativism is a self refuting doctrine. For it claims an objective validity for itself when it is advocating the impossibility of objective validity; it steps outside a culture to claim that one cannot step outside a culture; it condemns as immoral the whole institution of condemnation and praise. - Michael Berliner

Logic to Teonan is a subjective preference without universal application. Reason knows no race and the only valid reason for teaching history from the perspective of Western Civilization lies in the objective merits and achievements of that civilization, compared with all others.

To discredit Columbus is to turn one's back on Western civilization and call for the return of primitive tribalism.

An organism's life is it's standard value: that which furthers it's life is the good, that which threatens it's life is the evil. - Ayn Rand Reason is man's means of survival. It follows that the most rational civilization is the one that embodies the best end product of man's best thinking and action since the beginning of time, which represents the highest social value possible to mankind and an enormous good. Western Civilization is that most rational civilization, that highest social value.

Simply put it is better to be well off, healthy and safe than poor, sick and afraid. People who fail to civilize themselves are doomed to live in filth, hunger and fear and die before their time.

The Pit River Indians believed that the essence of religion was the spirit of wonder, the recognition of power as a mysterious concentrated form of non-material energy, of something lose in the world and contained in a more or less condensed degree by every object. The Mayas believed the stones of their temples to be inhabited by spirits, thus they could never bring themselves to tear down a crumbling building for fear of insulting the spirits and built new building around the old.

It is not a cultural conditioning that makes us believe that telephoning from an air conditioned apartment for pizza delivers is preferable to knawing on vermin ridden meat in a sweltering teepee.

Only Western Civilization is sophisticated enough to have originated the idea that it is inferior. Primitive societies are ethnocentric viewing social reality as "us vs. everyone else". Such a mentality does not permit the emergence of tribal self hatred, since that would spell instant destruction at the hands of other tribes. In this limited sense, the pre-Columbian Indians were arguably superior to modern academics who damn America and its achievements, out of guilt or a desire to appease.

The North American pre-Columbian Indians were nomadic village dwelling cultures that had not developed an Aristotle of their own, nor discovered the laws of logic, nor formed a concept of natural law. Instead they believed the universe to be ruled by spirits that required unflinching obedience to deliberate mind numbing rituals and taboos. They had developed no science or mathematics and most no written language. Politically, they never developed the idea of individual rights. Warfare between tribes was widespread and brutally destructive. They were still mired in the stone age. They were miserably poor, not only by the standards of today but by 15th century Europe. All Indians were subject to physical and economic catastrophes such as floods, pestilence, and epidemic desease that modern societies tamed or forgot.

Tribes lacked the intellectual tools to be self critical and behaved irrationally using their power and wealth to conquer weaker tribes, extort tribute, capture slaves and slaughter sacrificial victims. To step outside of reality five hundred years later and point fingers is laughable because it ignores the world as it existed at the time.

The coming of the Europeans meant there was no need to wait millennia for some ingenious Indian to figure out how to build a wheeled cart or discover laws of logic. That along with thousands of other accomplishments it is gratitude and not hostility that Christopher Columbus deserves from the descendents of the American aborigines and academia with goals not un-similar to Islamic extremists disdaining Western civilization and those who made it possible.

To that I add Have a Happy Columbus Day. \:\)

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#1367665 - 10/08/12 12:36 PM Re: Columbus the Murderer [Re: Rich_Tallcot]
grinch Offline
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Registered: 08/28/01
Posts: 4530
Loc: New York State
Interesting post, Thank you.

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#1367672 - 10/08/12 01:35 PM Re: Columbus the Murderer [Re: grinch]
Teonan Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/30/12
Posts: 2743
Loc: Gaia

Agreed. A more interesting pile of eurocentric tripe and 'Manifest Destiny' dogma would certainly be hard to find.
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#1367673 - 10/08/12 01:49 PM Re: Columbus the Murderer [Re: Teonan]
Hot Burrito Offline
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Registered: 04/17/00
Posts: 667
Loc: Tiajuna Flats
Quote:
Columbus Day Should Not be Celebrated


So you must be really mad at all the teachers and CSEA, employees who took the day off, right?

When are you moving back to Europe and giving your property to the Indians it was stolen from?

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#1367674 - 10/08/12 01:50 PM Re: Columbus the Murderer [Re: Hot Burrito]
cwjga Offline
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Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 5582
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: Hot Burrito
Quote:
Columbus Day Should Not be Celebrated


So you must be really mad at all the teachers and CSEA, employees who took the day off, right?

When are you moving back to Europe and giving your property to the Indians it was stolen from?


\:D
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#1367678 - 10/08/12 02:38 PM Re: Columbus the Murderer [Re: Hot Burrito]
kyle585 Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 10561
Loc: Somewhere out there
Originally Posted By: Hot Burrito
When are you moving back to Europe and giving your property to the Indians it was stolen from?
Bluezone keeps asking this question to various people in various Native American threads but never gets an answer. ;\)
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#1367680 - 10/08/12 02:49 PM Re: Columbus the Murderer [Re: kyle585]
Teonan Offline
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Registered: 05/30/12
Posts: 2743
Loc: Gaia


Columbus Day: No Cause for Celebration
I'm proud South Dakota does not honour the originator of the Native American genocide, but not that we're alone in the union

The Guardian
by Dana Lone Hill

October 8, 2012

All across America on Monday, people will be celebrating Columbus Day. I don't know what that means exactly, except usually there's a white sale where you can buy your sheets at 20% off. Supposedly, though, there may be parades, people get time off from work, school, etc. According to Wikipedia, "Columbus Day first became an official state holiday in Colorado in 1906, and became a federal holiday in 1937, though people have celebrated Columbus' voyage since the colonial period."

I personally don't know anyone who "celebrates" Columbus Day. I know plenty of people who protest Columbus Day.

In other states, that is. See, 22 years ago here in South Dakota, Republican Governor George Mickelson replaced Columbus Day with Native American Day. That makes this the only state that honors the indigenous people of this land, rather than honor the beginning of their attempted genocide. Mickelson proclaimed 1990 as a "Year of Reconciliation" and changed the holiday the same year, with the help of the state legislature. It was supposed to be the beginning of a long road to improve racial relations in the state that has a tormented history on that score.


A statue of Christopher Columbus pulled down by protesters in Caracas, Venezuela, 2004, where Columbus Day is marked as 'Indigenous Resistance Day'. (Photograph: Luis Noguera/AP)

I always felt proud that our state didn't honor someone who murdered, enslaved, and raped indigenous people. Considering that it was the beginning of a genocide, this would be like putting a day aside to honor the memory of Hitler and selling sheets at a discount for the role he played in the world. Mickelson's initiative made me feel like we were a little ahead of the rest of the country: this is the same state that remembers the Wounded Knee Massacre, the Occupation of Wounded Knee, and unsolved deaths of our people in the 1973 incident. So, we celebrated Native American Day, not Columbus Day.

Yet, as Lakota people, we have all experienced racism in the state of South Dakota. Every single one of us, many times. My first time was when I was six years old and moving off the reservation. I was called horrible names, but I survived. And that was only the beginning.

I recall another time, when I was 18: my family moved to the nearest city off our reservation. It was a real nice, historic neighborhood; my stepfather was a lawyer. We received an anonymous letter in the mail calling us names and telling us to move back to the reservation. I took the letter and went knocking on doors trying to find out who'd sent it. Of course, no one admitted it; I went home mad and in tears. The next day, neighbors brought us casseroles, cookies, and fudge. But when they left, my mother wouldn't let us eat the food: she was paranoid that the food might get us sick (if one of the givers was the one who had sent the letter).

That wasn't to say the fudge and cookies didn't disappear mysteriously, though. Too many kids in the house.

So, 22 years after Governor Mickelson's proclamation of "the year of reconciliation", have the race relations in this state improved? We all like to think they did. But then, it's hard to ignore an incident like the one that occurred a few weeks ago, at the South Dakota State University, where Native American students from in-state reservations were subjected to graffiti in a dormitory bathroom that read "Praire [sic] niggers, go back to the rez" (listing specific students' room numbers).

This was the same insult I'd read in that anonymous letter sent to my family when I was 18. This recent incident has not stopped the Native American students from attending the university, and it is being investigated as a hate crime. But it shows that some of our citizens clearly still have a long way to go in learning to accept the people who lived here before them.

Our hope is that we all learn from this – and remember Governor Mickelson, who made that huge first step, and who died, aged 52, in a place crash in 1993. One day, we hope, the rest of the states of the union will join South Dakota in not honoring the memory of a murderer.

© 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited


Dana Lone Hill is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe from the Pine Ridge Reservation. She currently lives in the city of Sioux Falls, with two of her four children. She works in a full-time blue-collar job, part-time as an artist, all the time as a freelance writer
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#1367681 - 10/08/12 02:56 PM Re: Columbus the Murderer [Re: Teonan]
Offline

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When are you moving to Venezuela? And your boy Hugo was reelected for another 6 years.

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#1367688 - 10/08/12 03:58 PM Re: Columbus the Murderer [Re: Teonan]
kyle585 Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 10561
Loc: Somewhere out there
Originally Posted By: Teonan
So, 22 years after Governor Mickelson's proclamation of "the year of reconciliation", have the race relations in this state improved? We all like to think they did. But then, it's hard to ignore an incident like the one that occurred a few weeks ago, at the South Dakota State University, where Native American students from in-state reservations were subjected to graffiti in a dormitory bathroom that read "Praire [sic] niggers, go back to the rez" (listing specific students' room numbers).

This was the same insult I'd read in that anonymous letter sent to my family when I was 18. This recent incident has not stopped the Native American students from attending the university, and it is being investigated as a hate crime. But it shows that some of our citizens clearly still have a long way to go in learning to accept the people who lived here before them.

Our hope is that we all learn from this – and remember Governor Mickelson, who made that huge first step, and who died, aged 52, in a place crash in 1993. One day, we hope, the rest of the states of the union will join South Dakota in not honoring the memory of a murderer.
Eliminating segregation and discrimination is very hard and time consuming. Just ask Afro-Americans. But one of them made it to the White House. But you can't get there by claiming you are a sovereign nation who does not have to pay taxes!
_________________________
DON'T GO NEAR CAYUGA NATION! IT'S TOO DANGEROUS!


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#1367689 - 10/08/12 04:01 PM Re: Columbus the Murderer [Re: Teonan]
kyle585 Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 10561
Loc: Somewhere out there
Originally Posted By: Teonan
This recent incident has not stopped the Native American students from attending the university, and it is being investigated as a hate crime. But it shows that some of our citizens clearly still have a long way to go in learning to accept the people who lived here before them.
That is right. Keep pushing for your rights. You must realize that some people will never accept you. But they will die out and be replaced by more tolerant people if you accept your responsibility to pay your dues(taxes) as you pursue your rights.


Edited by kyle585 (10/08/12 04:14 PM)
_________________________
DON'T GO NEAR CAYUGA NATION! IT'S TOO DANGEROUS!


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