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American Indian Movement of Colorado

Spirituality • Self-determination • Solidarity • Sobriety
Colorado AIM home page

Friday, October 08, 2004

CO AIM calls for direct action against columbus "convoy of conquest"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
7 October 2004

Contact Colorado AIM at: 303-871-0463
www.coloradoaim.org

American Indian Movement of Colorado calls for Direct Action Against Columbus “Convoy of Conquest”
in Denver, the Birthplace of Columbus Day

ACTION: Saturday, October 9, 2004, 8 am , State Capitol, Denver

“Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state has become lawless or corrupt. And a citizen who barters with such a state shares in its corruption and lawlessness...” Mohandas K. Gandhi

The American Indian Movement (AIM) Colorado (303-871-0463 ph.) has put out a local and national call for people and organizations to come to Denver to engage in non-violent, direct action against the “Convoy of Conquest” (aka the Columbus Day Parade) in the streets of downtown Denver on Saturday, October 9, 2004.

Colorado AIM believes that a diversity of non-violent opposition tactics against the convoy, which constitutes state-sponsored hate speech against indigenous peoples, is appropriate. Colorado AIM and its allies in the TRANSFORM COLUMBUS DAY ALLIANCE (TCDA) have agreed that, in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, that non-violent, civil resistance is completely justified against the inherent anti-Indian racism of the parade.

This year, the Sons of Italy-New Generation will conduct its latest “Convoy of Conquest,” in the streets of downtown Denver, despite repeated pleas from AIM and TCDA that the convoy remove references to the documented African slave-trading, Indian murderer, Columbus.

For the past three years, Colorado AIM has participated, with the Red Earth Women’s Alliance and the Transform Columbus Day Alliance, to focus on constructing a more positive model of respectful cultural celebration, in the hope that the convoy organizers might find the moral courage to abandon Columbus, who was directly responsible for the destruction of hundreds of thousands of indigenous people throughout the Caribbean

Last year, Colorado AIM and our allies delivered an appeal to the parade organizers to transform the parade into a less hateful event. When the invitation, delivered by the late American Indian elder Wallace Balck Elk and Richard Costaldo, an Italian-American paralyzed survivor of the Columbine massacre, was ridiculed, we turned our backs on the convoy. This year, we will not be turning our backs. This year, we will confront the parade because, as Martin Luther King wrote from the Birmingham Jail, “nonviolent direct action seeks to…dramatize the issue so that it can no longer be ignored.” The damage of racism against American Indians that is embodied in the convoy will not be ignored; it will be directly confronted.

Our actions are not anti-Italian. We have many Italian and Italian-American allies. We have said that, if invited, we would participate in an Italian Pride Parade. In that spirit, we commend the organizers of the Festival Italiano, which was held in Lakewood on September 25-6. The Festival is exactly the type of leadership that can help to move Denver to a place of mutual respect and understanding. The Festival was an expression of respect for the entire community. Their dropping of references to Columbus opened new opportunities of what can be achieved by simply dropping the icon of conquest, genocide and oppression.

We will march from the State Capitol on Saturday morning – hundreds, perhaps thousands strong – to the parade route where there will be massive, active, resistance to the veneration of genocide and colonialism. Columbus Day was born in Colorado, and we will end it in Colorado.

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