I haven’t decided yet if our friends over at Fox News is just having a much too slow news cycle, or if they are really only interested in speaking up about all of their perceived “attacks” on white Christians. We are just 83 shopping days away from their annual attack on Christmas meme. So, to fill the void, they are now arguing that there is a new attack. This time we are attacking Columbus Day.
It has started because a Seattle school board has voted to redub the Columbus Day holiday as Indigenous People’s Day. What the hell will they think of next. As Fox News has put it: “It’s a social and political statement that says Christopher Columbus was a violator of indigenous people. It’s a slap. It’s an attack on Columbus. Day.” (sic)
Ever since I was a child first learning about Christopher Columbus, I wondered why he was credited with “discovering America” when he never even saw the continent. Remember, he never set foot on either North or South America. He merely sailed around the Caribbean Sea landing on a few small islands.
Why don’t we celebrate Leaf Erikson Day? It has been proven that the Vikings were on the North American continent 500 years before Columbus. Not only were they here, at least in what is now Canada, they actually had a settlement there. As a matter of fact, everyone in Europe knew that there was land to the west of Europe. They didn’t think the world was flat as the myth of Columbus want us to believe, they already knew it was round. So why all of the myth around Columbus? Could it be that Fox News believes that only Christians can be credited with “discoveries” and not Pagans?
In recent years, there have been other “discoveries” about who was on the continent first. There is some evidence and new theories about the Polynesians being in South America and even as far north as California. There is evidence that the Chinese were on the west coast as well. There are even theories about European people arriving as well. All of these people arrived over a 1000 years before Columbus.
Since the first colonization of North America, our history is rife with the slaughter of indigenous people. Manifest Destiny could not have happened without this onslaught. Indian Tribes on the North American continent were systematically slaughtered in order to “make room” for white settlers. Those who did survive were herded onto “reservations” where most of them still live, in poverty.
Besides the battles between indigenous people and the settlers on the East Coast, the first real egregious action came from Andrew Jackson. He ordered the complete evacuation of all Indians from the East Coast. The tribes were rounded up and sent to Oklahoma Territory. Hence, the “trail of tears” when thousands of Indians died on the trek from starvation and disease.
The Indian Wars basically finished off the Indian Tribes of the Great Plains and Southwest. They were herded onto reservations and forced to become “Americanized” by their conquerors. Even as late as the early part of the 20th century, Indians were forced to attend boarding schools. During their time there they were forbidden to speak their own language and their hair was cut short to be better Americanized. Everything was done to wipe out their culture.
The elimination of the indigenous people’s cultures began with Columbus. So yes Fox News, Columbus did violate the indigenous people. As time went by, it became more and more barbaric. It became policy that if they refused to change their ways, they would face total destruction. The Indian Wars were extremely bloody. Atrocities happened on both sides, as usually do in wars for survival. But once the Indians were beaten, the peace that was forced on them was just as bad as the wars themselves.
This is a part of our history that is not always taught in History Class. We avoid teaching that from the day Columbus put foot on a small island in the Caribbean, the survival of the indigenous people in the Americas was in jeopardy. It all turned into a war of cultures. When that happens, there is usually only one winner. The modern-day equivalent is called genocide.
Columbus Day is one holiday that we can do without. It is time for it to die off quickly. Don’t you think we can find better ways to celebrate our country without honoring someone who started the culture wars in America? I once had a T-Shirt I bought on the Cherokee Reservation in North Carolina that read: “Homeland Security. Fighting Terrorism Since 1492.” If you really look at it from the Native American perspective, that is an accurate statement. Isn’t it time we stop honoring it?