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Monday, October 11, 2004

Columbus Columns

Columbus ignored as Natives persevere
Monday, October 11, 2004

"Christopher Columbus won't be celebrated today at the newly opened National Museum of the American Indian on the Mall. But there won't be a Columbus Day protest, either. Instead, the man credited with "discovering" America in 1492 will simply be ignored while native people gather to reflect on more than 20,000 years of survival in this hemisphere.

'I don't think a lot of native people would actually celebrate Columbus Day in the way other Americans would," said Jim Pepper Henry, assistant director of community services at the museum and a member of the Kaw Nation of Oklahoma. "I would say that, in this case, despite some of the things that were put into motion with Columbus reaching the Americas, native people still persevered. That's how a lot of them feel about it.'" full article

Columbus Day, a Cause to Celebrate? Think Again.

February 01, 1998

By: Thom Hartmann

The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight - p.31-33

"Christopher Columbus not only opened the door to a New World, but also set
an example for us all by showing what monumental feats can be accomplished
through perseverance and faith." George Bush, Sr. 1989 Speech

If you fly over the country of Haiti on the island of Hispaniola, the island
on which Columbus landed, it looks like somebody took a blowtorch and burned
away anything green. Even the ocean around the port capital of Port au Prince
is choked for miles with the brown of human sewage and eroded topsoil. From the
air, it looks like a lava flow spilling out into the sea.

The history of this small island is, in many ways, a microcosm for what’s
happening in the whole world.

When Columbus first landed on Hispaniola in 1492, virtually the entire island
was covered by lush forest. The Taino "Indians" who loved there had an
apparently idyllic life prior to Columbus, from the reports left to us by literate
members of Columbus’s crew such as Miguel Cuneo. full article

Why Columbus Day?
Letter to the editor(Denver Post)

Re: "Columbus critics miss the boat," Oct. 7 David Harsanyi column.

Many of those who weigh in on the debate over Columbus Day miss the real point. The real issue is not whether Christopher Columbus was a great explorer or a genocidal despot. The real issue is whether Columbus is a figure of sufficient national importance to merit a U.S. national holiday. The answer is clearly "no."

Columbus was not American, and played no role in American history. He is an important historical figure, but not a heroic one, and not one who relates uniquely to the history of our nation. We now acknowledge that our land was already populated at the time Columbus landed in the Americas. Columbus did not "discover" America, as I was taught in my childhood in the '60s. The reality is that he was one of many European explorers who were pursuing far-flung lands to further the cause of European colonialism and wealth.

Our national holidays should be limited to days of unique importance to the United States as a nation. During this season, that holiday should be Election Day. It seems ironic that the president speaks endlessly about bringing the glories of democracy to other people, yet we don't have a holiday to mark the most democratic of all actions - voting.
Scott Kleger, Arvada
full article


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