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October 09, 2006

Columbus Day

Today I visited the Rankokus Indian Reservation in New Jersey for an Arts Festival. It featured a number of talented artisans from around the continent, from a wide variety of the nations that were here long before Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

In introducing the events, the Indian M.C. said, "Today is not a holiday, and we don't say the C word around here. But we forgive him, for being 15,000 miles off course and accidentally finding this land." He was making a joke, yet of course there is quite a large bit of truth to that. I would add, "And we don't forgive him for enslaving us and killing us."

Truthfully, how is it that Columbus Day is still celebrated? He never actually landed on North America. He killed the people he found. And he certainly didn't discover America. Of course there were already people here, and if you want European contact, the Vikings were here long before Columbus stumbled on to the scene. Isn't the celebration of this day kind of just dancing on the graves of the people who were here before the Europeans showed up?

At the risk of upsetting some Italians, I would propose changing to this a Native Heritage Day or something like that. I know it sounds trite and its been said before, but we did steal their land. At least we could give them a bank holiday.

Posted by jason on October 9, 2006 10:07 PM

Comments

You should ask mom how she feels about celebrating Columbus day.

Posted by: Jenna on October 9, 2006 11:41 PM

I, myself, did absolutely nothing to celebrate Columbus Day. I did, however, celebrate October 9th with an insirational country drive through the changing leaves and harvest fields of Chester County, PA.

Posted by: Susan on October 10, 2006 12:07 PM

As a representative of the Italian peoples, I have done identification repentance for the genocide of the entire Arawak Indian peoples. Columbus has a lot to answer for. The fact that Columbus killed or had killed the Arawaks "in the name of Jesus" is especially grievous to me. That we still celebrate this evil man's life, though, is a clue that the United States is not willing to face its own sin. Isn't it hypocritical for the US to be the watchguard of the world, yet be so unaware of our own evil toward minority groups? The Columbus statue in Wilmington needs to be toppled!

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