Friday, July 25, 2014

'Minneapolis Renames Columbus Day As Indigenous People's Day'

'Minneapolis Renames Columbus Day As Indigenous People's Day'

by Bill Chappell - NPR - April 27, 2014

Minneapolis has designated the second Monday of October, the federal Columbus Day holiday, as Indigenous Peoples Day. The city council adopted the plan after hearing concerns that hailing Columbus as the discoverer of America is inaccurate and ignores the history of indigenous people.

Last week, Indigenous Peoples Day supporter and Lakota activist Bill Means told Minnesota Public Radio that the story that Christopher Columbus discovered America was "one of the first lies we're told in public education."

He expanded on that idea Friday.

"We discovered Columbus, lost on our shores, sick, destitute, and wrapped in rags. We nourished him to health, and the rest is history," Means . "He represents the mascot of American colonialism in the western hemisphere. And so it is time that we change a myth of history."

Similar measures that rename or replace Columbus Day are already in place in other parts of the U.S., from South Dakota to Berkley and other California cities. Several states, such as Alaska, Hawaii, and Oregon, do not observe Columbus Day.

The federal holiday has a long and complex history, including an 1892 proclamation by Benjamin Harrison and its establishment as a federal holiday in 1937. Many came to see Columbus Day "as a way for Italian Americans to be accepted by the mainstream," as NPR's has reported.

Now the holiday is gaining a new identity in Minneapolis, as part of what says is the city's effort "to better reflect the experiences of American Indian people and uplift our country's Indigenous roots, history, and contributions."

According to MPR, the city council gave its unanimous support to the Indigenous Day measure after it was introduced by eight council members, led by Alondra Cano.

"The American Indian Movement emerged in the 1960s from the streets of south Minneapolis, a longtime cultural crossroads for American Indian communities in the Midwest," .

But MPR's Curtis Gilbert adds, "Council President Barbara Johnson noted that some of her Italian-American constituents are 'somewhat offended' by the city's snub of the Genoa-born explorer."

Columbus Day will be designated as Indigenous Peoples Day in Minneapolis, which has become one of several U.S. cities to make the change. Here, a member of the Cowichan Tribes holds her hand up in prayer during a 2011 Native American protest against Columbus Day in Seattle.

Why no mention of the Spanish Empire?

"We discovered Columbus, lost on our shores, sick, destitute, and wrapped in rags. We nourished him to health, and the rest is history," --Bill Means. He said "We," so obviously he sees 100% kinship with the Bahamian natives, or any other natives from Alaska to the tip of South America. Therefore, in order to stay congruent, we need to define the equivalent "Us." So in the expanded picture, the "Us" isn't Cristoforo Columbo nearly as much as it is the Imperial Spanish Empire as the face of European colonial supremacy. Columbus was an agent of the Spanish Monarchy, who were entirely in league with the Vatican and various banking cartels and economic interests.

It's interesting that those who would would attack Columbus don't mention the Spanish Empire or the Catholic Church. As Jesus said "Conquer in my name." How about King Ferdinand? Was he not Columbus' boss? How about Queen Isabella who led the "Spanish Inquisition?" What about Pope Alexander VI? The truth is that they need to revision Columbus as a "European bad guy," while not offending the many people who may feel threatened if they dared attack all the other institutions and individuals who were more important in the imperial effort than Columbus. In other words, Columbus must be projected as "a European"; and not as a Catholic, a Spanish citizen, a capitalist, or even an Italian! He must, in their estimation, stand entirely on his own for examination. This is the worst type of intellectual dishonesty.

Will the "bad guys" please stand?

Every person of European descent is a "white person." But how many are even descended from a nation who had a damn thing to do with all this genocide or slavery of the Americas? My quick count is five. Five countries who seemed to be in parcipitation, with the Vatican as a defacto sixth. Clearly most of it was the result of the Spanish and Portuguese Imperial Empires. I mean, if Japan had committed some type of historical atrocity, you don't blame Cambodia!; Unless someone wanted to somehow--against any logic--blame ALL Asians. Why would it be any different with Europe? So who's to blame? King Ferdinand, or a Polish peasant farmer?

Do you see how crazy this is? For the record, people of North and South America, who are of Amerindian or West African ancestry, are the numerical majority. Just within this "Columbus bashing" effort, how can any person with more than a room temperature IQ ignore all the important people who were behind Columbus' voyages as central figures of Western imperialism and slavery? How about Aaron Lopez? He was one of the leading figures of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Arguably at the very top of the list. Like Columbus, he was a very important middle-management figure within the larger scheme of things. Could it be that Columbus makes a much better projected bad guy than Lopez, despite the fact that Lopez administered much more actual harm to people?


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