Columbus Never Stepped Foot On Turtle Island, So
Submitted by Mark Reed
Native actor and film director Mark Reed is currently the Republican candidate for the 27th Congressional District of California.
This column is a rewrite, first published in Native Unity on October 14th, 2005 and still is the most popular article on the Native Unity Blog.
Columbus Day will be celebrated on October 11th, 2010.
Bobbie Hart O'Neill, Native Unity Editor
1. Columbus sailed into the Caribbean and never even set foot in what is now known as the United States. So, why do we, in the United States, give him one of our 8 Federal holidays?
2. Why would Columbus be given credit for "discovering" the Americas anyway, when we all know those lands were already inhabited and had been for thousands of years? Didn't the inhabitants of those lands discover them?
Look at any map of the US and see the many, many, many states, cities and towns that all bear the Native American names of people and peoples who once populated those regions: Illinois, Oklahoma, Cheyenne, Nantucket, Milwaukee, Yuma, Omaha, Wichita, Tallahassee, Mississippi, Muskogee, Tennessee, Allegheny, Missouri, Kentucky, Huron, Tuscaloosa and on and on and on.....
3. Knowing that Native Americans were already here, and Columbus never was here, why does anyone go along with the myth that "Columbus Discovered America", when we all know it is not true?
4. Why aren't we taught the whole truth about Columbus' actions and the devastating consequences of those actions?
Why are we only told about Columbus, who as a boy who always wanted to sail and then when he got older Spain provided him three ships & he sailed across the ocean andDISCOVERED A NEW WORLD! (where millions of Taino had lived for thousands of years and which we now call the Caribbean
Why are we only taught about that FIRST voyage, and not the other 3 voyages, when all hell broke loose?
Why aren't we taught about how on the second voyage, unlike the first when Columbus only had 3 small old ships, Columbus was given 17 large ships and 1,500 armed men eagerly signed up for the chance to go to the "New World" with hopes of getting rich quick on the gold to be found there?
Also, why aren't we taught about the greed and brutality of the Spaniards against the Taino (who have been remembered as " naked savages" in our history books, if at all), and how the Taino were murdered and enslaved on that second voyage?
Why are we not taught about the third voyage & how when King Ferdinand & Queen Isabella of Spain heard about Columbus' actions in the "New World" he was sent back toSpain in chains to stand trial for his crimes, was convicted and stripped of his titles?
Or, how the Spaniards tricked 80 of the Taino leaders into a hut and burned them alive? Isn't to omit the ugly part ofthe truth considered LYING BY OMISSION? Then, that is what our schools are doing when they only teach about the first voyage, they are lying by omission to our students, and we as a improperly educated country have a holiday for an evil, greedy, slave-trading, murderer.
5. Some people say he is worthy of the honor of a holiday for his nautical genius, but the Vikings sailed across the ocean to North America 500 years before, Marco Polo sailed to China & India 300 years prior and the Chinese set foot upon the very shores that Columbus did 71 years prior to the arrival of Columbus, the difference being, Columbus "claimed" the land and cites the Papal Bulls with giving him the authority to do so if no one disputes the action, and Columbus accordingto his journal, was careful to add that no one disputed it at the time, while admitting at the same time that they could not understand each other, so how could they be expected to understand what his flag-planting and pronunciations meant?
6. Many people will argue that Columbus brought Western Civilization to what is now known as the United States, and that is the reason the US bestowed upon him the honor of a holiday. But how can we make that correlation when Columbus, working for Spain, came in 1492 and the European colonizers who came here TWO HUNDRED years later, came fromEngland? If Columbus is worthy of being given credit for this "achievement", wouldn't it have happened 200 years earlier and wouldn't we all be speaking Spanish now as the countries he invaded do?
7. Some people will argue that Columbus Day is a day for recognition of Italians, an Italian Pride Day. Are Italians more worthy of recognitionthan other ethnic groups in this country we have proudly (?) nicknamed"The Melting Pot"? I have heard Italians say that Germans have Oktoberfest, the Irish have St. Patrick's Day and Mexicans have Cinco deMayo, but none of those are FEDERAL holidays.
The only two ethnic groups worthy of recognition for their contributions and sacrifice in this land are those who were ALREADY HERE when the Europeans came and those who the Europeans BROUGHT HERE IN CHAINS. All other ethnic groups came here voluntarily.
It was long overdue but African Americans finally got their holiday - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January.... but Native Americans still don't have a holiday (urge your congressmen and women to support House Bill #167).
8. Some people think he is deserving of the honor because he proved the world was round, but this was already a widely accepted belief by educated people at the time as Ptolemy, the ancient astronomer and geographer from Egypt, declared that the Earth was spherical in the second century. Why do 17 states refuse to recognize and/or celebrate Columbus Day? Why do protesters gather and march at every Columbus Day Parade?
9. And, WHY is Columbus honored with one of our 8 federal holidays in the US when,
(a). He didn't "discover" us, or anything previously undiscovered or uninhabited
(b). He never set foot on what is now U.S. soil.
(c). His legacy is greed, theft, destruction, brutality, slave-trading and murder
(d). It is offensive to Latin American, African American and Native Americans
( e). Native Americans, who were here and are worthy of a holiday, still don'thave one.
10. And why have the Taino people of the Caribbean and those in the US,whose ancestors have paid such a huge price for the misfortune of being"discovered", been erroneously declared extinct and are therefore denied legal recognition by the government?
To learn more about the truth, read:
*In Defense of the Indians by Bartolome de las Casas
*A People's History by Howard Zinn
*Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Louwen
*Rethinking Columbus by Bigelow and Peterson
*The Voyages of Christopher Columbus by Rex and Thea Rienits
*The Log of Christopher Columbus by Robert H. Fuson
*The Journal of Columbus by Clarkson N. Potter
*1421,The Year China Discovered America by Gavin Menzies
*America Discovers Columbus by John Noble Wilford
*The Conquest of Paradise by KirkpatrickSale
*The Columbus Dynasty in the Caribbean by Troy S. Floyd
*The Conquest of America by Tzvetan Todorov
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