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article imageOp-Ed: Trump wants to protect the legacy of Christopher Columbus?

By Karen Graham     Oct 11, 2020 in Politics
President Donald Trump’s proclamation Friday commemorating Columbus Day veered from a typical White House holiday announcement, with stark warnings of “radical activists” seeking to tarnish the explorer’s legacy.
Ah, yes, the legacy of Christopher Columbus needs to be protected from getting tarnished - God forbid that American school children be taught the truth about the Italian explorer. Not that Christopher Columbus was not a real man, or an Italian.
Columbus just didn't "discover" what we have been taught all these years. As archaeological evidence and better research methods have shown the world, there were others who walked on North America's shores. The Vikings in the 10th century, long before Columbus set foot in the Bahamas, had settlements in Greenland and New Foundland.
Truth be told, Columbus was looking to make a fortune, as were the Spanish Monarchs who subsidized his voyage. But after reaching what he thought was the East Indies, Columbus found little in the way of riches. He did find an Indigenous people unfamiliar with the weapons of war the explorers carried.
President Trump - in his Friday proclamation - truly showed he does not understand history, and in particular, he dismisses the truth. Instead, he rewrite the history of Columbus to fit his own narrative, ignoring the fact that Christopher Columbus helped launch centuries of genocide against indigenous populations in the Americas.
Sadly, in recent years, radical activists have sought to undermine Christopher Columbus’s legacy,” Trump said in his proclamation declaring Monday Columbus Day, reports the Associated Press. “These extremists seek to replace discussion of his vast contributions with talk of failings, his discoveries with atrocities, and his achievements with transgressions.”
Let's talk about the "vast contributions" Columbus made. First of all, Columbus kept a detailed journal during his first voyage, and the journal was given to Queen Isabella upon his return. Entries are dated from August 3, 1492, through November 6, 1492, and Columbus wrote about everything, from the plants and animals to the people he found.
And it was his description of the people he encountered that is most troubling because he went into detail about how easy it would be to enslave them: “They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells," he wrote. "They willingly traded everything they owned … They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features …They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron …They would make fine servants … With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”
Celebrate humanity instead of genocide
The one good thing about the Internet, in my opinion, is that it has brought a global library of information directly to our fingertips. And it is certainly that way with history, if only we take the time to search for the truth. And that is exactly what has been happening in America.
Today, more and more cities and towns across the country are rejecting what Columbus Day represents - especially for Indigenous people. Many argue that it is morally wrong to celebrate genocide, and I agree with them.
In Boston, Massachusetts on Saturday, demonstrators protested the celebration of explorer Christopher Columbus, who had a violent history against Native Americans with a rally and march to Boston Commons. Other Massachusetts communities, such as the nearby city of Somerville, will observe Indigenous Peoples' Day on Monday instead of Columbus Day.
While Boston may be one of the newest citiers to join in rejecting Columbus Day in favor of celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day, in October 2015, The Albuquerque Journal reported the Albuquerque City Council voted 6-3 to celebrate the second Monday in October—the federal Columbus Day holiday—as Indigenous Peoples’ Day from now on.
Albuquerque, New Mexico's largest city, joined a growing number of American cities which have passed resolutions or ordinances recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day. These include: San Antonio; Seattle; Portland; Minneapolis; St. Paul; Berkeley, California; Santa Cruz, California; Lawrence, Kansas; Olympia, Washington; Anadarko, Oklahoma, Alpena, Michigan and Traverse City, Michigan.
Here's a little footnote to the true history of Christopher Columbus: Because he could not find the huge pile of riches he has promised the Spanish Monarchs, Columbus and his men brought 500 enslaved Indigenous people to them as a gift. The queen was horrified—she believed that any people Columbus “discovered” were Spanish subjects who could not be enslaved—and she promptly and sternly returned the explorer’s gift.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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