Monday, October 10, 2011

Let's talk about impropriety and insensitivity

For many people of indigenous ancestry, Columbus Day has long been a smack in the face. It also isn't a long standing tradition, contrary to what schools will try to tell you.  Columbus was a jerk (don't believe me, check the first person accounts) and was a murderer.  He discovered nothing as the Americas had been long known to the indigenous peoples for thousands of years and the Vikings.  Colonization of the Americas also wiped out entire populations through warfare and disease, as well as destroying cultures through the process of conversion and assimilation.  Columbus Day is nothing to celebrate; it is a day to mourn, to think about the cost of "progress" and discovery.  It is a day to look at the plights of native peoples all over the world whose lives and livelihoods are in danger every day.

My morning began with listening to a radio broadcast of the Sunrise Ceremony preformed on Alcatraz this morning in celebration of the anniversary of the Alcatraz protests and Indigenous Peoples Day (a protest celebration against Columbus Day).  I talked to my son about the importance of this day, dropped him off at school ran some errands and came home. I checked my Facebook account this morning and saw something so inappropriate that I nearly cried.  A picture of a little boy dressed as a Franciscan friar posted by his proud mama.  He was dressed up for a school project about California's history, a history in which Franciscan friars to this day are faulted for their brutality in converting the California native peoples. On Indigenous Peoples Day! 

My rant is this:  real history needs to be taught; we need to protect and honour indigenous peoples as unique manifestations of humanity, and that violence, even historic violence should not be celebrated.  It's one thing to commemorate the ideology of behind a revolution, but let's honor the dead, not canonize the violence that killed them.


  1. Oh, I plan on teaching our children the truth. And to be proud of our Cherokee/Choctaw/Shawnee heritages. If the schools have a problem with it, they can all just suck it. I'm not lying to my children. One of my friends ranted about this on facebook; I was sure to also point out the Vikings, which she appreciated. She HATES Columbus and his day. Great post, great points. ~)O(~

  2. Good for you, Self Portrait. If you haven't take a look at "Tell Them They Lie" it deals with an alternative Cherokee history. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Right there with ya!! We live in Virginia, and this is the first place we have lived that the Columbus Day isn't celebrated. The kids go to school,people go to work, and we don't celebrate the shithead here. We are very big on education in our home and that means only the truth is acceptable when teaching our children. Hugs to you and know you aren't alone in your rant! :)

  4. I am not of native descent but I sympathize completely. Our children should know the true history so that it is never repeated. I am of Norwegian descent so I appreciate the recognition of there accomplishments. We should all be proud of where we came from and who we are without walking on and causing harm to others. Blessings to you and thank you for a great post!


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