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American Indian Movement of Colorado

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Sunday, October 10, 2004

A response to David Harsanyi's column-by Tink Tinker

Tink Tinker is a member of the Leadership Council of the American Indian Movement of Colorado. He wrote the following in response to a 10/07/04 column(Columbus critics miss the boat) by David Harsanyi.

Response to David Harsanyi on Columbus Day:

In the interests of historical accuracy, Mr. Harsanyi needs to name at least one incident of violence perpetrated by columbusday protesters in the lastfifteen years. It is not enough to dismiss the protest by alluding to some
vague specter of violence purportedly perpetrated by the American Indian Movement of Colorado. If one is really concerned about historical accuracy,then the public deserves to see at least some bit of corroborating evidence for the claim. The truth is that columbusday protesters have asserted non-violent protest for the past fifteen years and have delivered on their promise of non-violence in every protest action. Maybe Harsanyi needs to abandon the naïve confines of New York City and come visit us in Denver before he writes about us.

Secondly, Harsanyi really does need to read up on some basic Christopher Columbus history. Start with Bartolome de las Casas. But a more modern analysis can be read in the historical demography of Sherbern F. Cook, a University of California scholar writing a half century ago. His scholarly research corroborated las Casas' claim that eight million Indians were killed on one island alone: namely, the island of Hispaniola which served as Columbus' headquarters during his decade-long tenure as governor of the Caribbean. I am sorry, but those are genocidal and naziesque figures whether modern Americans like it or not.

Harsanyi's attempt to justify Columbus' and Amer-european violence by implying aboriginal Indian violence against Indians is to perpetuate acarefully conceived white lie. The truth is that Indian worldviews never
permitted the kind of mass violence and killing that entered this continent with the European immigration. Traditionally, Indian peoples engaged in lengthy (days-long) and expensive ceremonies before engaging in any act of warfare. And even then, the entire war might or might not result in a fatality. More often than not, the issue was decided in a battle resulting in no deaths at all. Again, my advice is to do some serious reading of Tom Holm, Kirkpatrick Sale, Ward Churchill, and Georges Sioui, for starters,before trying to write on the subject. Uninformed historical denial is simply insulting to the Denver public. Maybe it's time for the Post to reconsider publishing Harsanyi's column. Perhaps ignorance is bliss; but the Post really should not publish such anything so uninformed and blatantly false.

Finally, to quote Vernon Bellecourt as an authority on the protest of columbusday in Denver is strange enough.
Bellecourt lives in Minneapolis and has never been a part of our protest action here in Denver since the
resumption of the parade in 1989. If the Post is going to continue to publish Harsanyi, then he needs to learn a bit about Denver and to figure out who really is involved in this serious and vigorous non-violent protest
against celebrating the father of the American Holocaust (see David Stannard's book by that title).

Tink Tinker
Denver, Colorado


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