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American Indian Movement of Colorado

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Thursday, October 14, 2004

letter to the editor from a typical columbus supporter

This letter to the editor appeared in today's edition of the Rocky Mountain News.

When reading the letter, one is almost tempted to dismiss it as a parody of what an ignorant columbus supporter might write. However, having dealt with columbus supporters over the years, this person's misinformed, unsubstantiated and ignorant letter genuinely reflects the views held by typical columbus supporters.

Keep in mind that the columbus supporters' "heavy hitter," in the form of the Denver Post's David Harsanyi, claimed that Vernon Bellecourt was responsible for shutting down the 1992 parade, after having orchestrated "violent civil disobedience" in 1991, and you get a sense of what sort of mentalities are driving the "convoy of conquest."

Here is the LTTE

Wanting it both ways

It seems to me that native Americans cannot have it both ways. They live in sovereign nations, pay no income tax and reap several other benefits only available to Indian nations by so doing. Many who live in these sovereign nations refuse to assimilate into American society, yet protest American holidays such as Columbus Day with impunity. To me that is the same as me going to Mexico and protesting Cinco de Mayo. Link to letter

Tom Ross

Okay, some reservations have agreements in which members living on the reservation do not have to pay state taxes on their income. As for federal income taxes, all indians who earn an income pay federal income taxes except for those who earn their income off trust land. In addition to paying federal income taxes, people living on the reservation pay taxes on any goods they purchase outside of the reservation, which is where most of them make the majority of their purchases.

Next, Ross claims that people living on the reservation protest the columbus day holiday with impunity. Presumably, he means that people living on the reservation travel to Denver to protest and are never punished for doing so. Just in case he missed the news reports, 239 people were arrested for protesting the convoy of conquest this past weekend. Maybe he does not understand the concept of what an arrest is so we'll explain it to him. Being arrested means that one is handcuffed and jailed until they can secure their release by whatever means. Next, they are arraigned and can enter a plea. If found guilty, they face a punishment that is decided by a judge or jury. Punishment can range from probation, fines and/or imprisonment. That's the prospect faced by the 239 people who protested and one which most sane people would regard as a potential punitive consequence for their actions.

Now, had the police declined to arrest anyone and simply escorted them back to their vehicles, then it could be argued that those arrested acted with impunity; but that's not what happened. Ross, ignoring the facts of the weekend and struggling to find something to be outraged about, makes the arguement anyway.

Then he closes with this analogy. "To me that is the same as me going to Mexico and protesting Cinco de Mayo" This analogy raises the level of ridiculousness even for columbus supporters: Cinco de Mayo celebrates the defeat of the French, not the the actions of a man who was an Indian killer and African slave trader. Also, those that protest against the convoy of conquest are invited here by the people of Denver. Finally, Tom Ross's people are not indigenous to Mexico, nor does Mexico fall within the confines of their traditional homelands. Contrast that with most of the Indigenous protestors who's ancestors lived in this area before there was a Colorado or even a United States and you get an insight into the sort of "reasoning" that afflicts the columbus supporters.


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