Columbus Day haters are missing the entire point of the holiday

  
Via:  john-russell  •  3 weeks ago  •  38 comments

Columbus Day haters are missing the entire point of the holiday
the indigenous peoples are not why we have America and the shining example of liberal democracy and human rights it became. Look around you. Most of the things you have and love are derived from the European settlers tracing back to Columbus.

I know we are a few weeks past Columbus Day, but while looking up something else I came across this opinion piece in the NY Post. 

These days, this sort of vile celebration of Columbus isnt seen much anymore, but the NY Post saw fit to print it from one of its op ed writers. 

When an article starts out talking about how the natives liked to torture their enemies, and Columbus represented a step up, you know you are off the right side of the page. 


S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


So long, Christopher Columbus. You’ve been canceled.

Some 60 cities and states have stopped celebrating Columbus Day, in many cases replacing it with Indigenous Peoples Day. There’s no doubt Columbus — and the conquistadors who followed — enslaved and slaughtered on a mass scale. But Columbus didn’t bring cruelty to peaceful, benign peoples. The indigenous people were also cruel to one another.

Iroquois Indians were famous for their practice of torturing enemies to death over a period of days. The Kwakiutl Indians in the Pacific Northwest practiced cannibalism. A mass grave dating to the 14th century, in what is now South Dakota, turned up 500 murdered, dismembered and scalped bodies of men, women and children. Many tribes scalped their victims alive.

Ritual child sacrifice was common among the Mayans, the Aztecs and many other peoples. The Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan contains the remains of 42 children around age 6 who were murdered to appease the god who made the rains fall. Because the tears of children were required to prime the pump, some of the kids’ fingernails were torn off to make them cry.

The Incas would drug little girls with alcohol and coca leaves, then freeze them, then mummify them. In a spot that today is right across the Mississippi River from St. Louis was a burial site where scores of teen girls were ritually sacrificed. There is a theory that poor people and slaves captured in war were literally fed to rich Aztecs because protein was so scarce. In the 15th century, life was cruel. Columbus didn’t invent cruelty in the Americas.

Hey, but we’re only thinking of the good things done by indigenous peoples, right? That’s exactly the point of Columbus Day, to celebrate the good stuff.

The arrival of Columbus in America kicked off an era of rapid technological advancement and cultural ferment. While the clash of civilizations was bloody, celebrating Columbus Day is not a salute to conquest. Columbus is simply a handy symbol for all of the energy Italians and other Europeans brought to the Americas. That’s why the fifth-oldest university in the US, the capital of Ohio, a province in Canada, a traffic circle at the southwest corner of Central Park, a country in South America, one of the big five Hollywood studios, one of the four TV networks (the C in CBS), the vice presidential anthem and, oh yeah, the seat of the federal government are all named in honor of Chris.

Columbus paved the way for the world’s first modern democracy, the one we live in today. America (named after another Italian) was a gigantic leap forward for human liberty and the possibilities for human flourishing that go with it. Or would you rather teen girls were still having their heads chopped off so they could be sacrificed to the gods outside St. Louis?

The Americas owe most of our culture — our politics, our freedoms, our languages, our civilization — to Europe and its greatest thinkers and traditions. Christopher Columbus wasn’t the first European to set foot on these shores, but he is as handy a historical spokesman as any for our historic roots in the Old World.

Sure, celebrate indigenous cultures if you like, but it’s preposterous to argue there is nothing worth celebrating about what Columbus represents. Yet, especially in college towns (Evanston, Princeton, Ithaca, Ann Arbor), what remains of Columbus Day is being loudly denounced. Do these kids even know the seat of the federal government is called the District of Columbia? That’s a much bigger deal than some Monday parades in October.

Institutions of higher learning specifically designed to teach young people about their place in the world and in history are instead ripping us away from our roots and denying plain facts. Sorry, Dylan and Emily, the indigenous peoples are not why we have America and the shining example of liberal democracy and human rights it became. Look around you. Most of the things you have and love are derived from the European settlers tracing back to Columbus.

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JohnRussell
1  seeder  JohnRussell    3 weeks ago

In retrospect, Columbus is not defensible.  The country is better for trying to move beyond "Columbus Day". 

The seeded article is closer to white nationalism or white supremacy than it is to honesty. 

 
 
 
Heartland American
1.1  Heartland American  replied to  JohnRussell @1    3 weeks ago

There was supposed to be something morally wrong or historically inaccurate in the article you brought to us here? 

 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
1.1.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Heartland American @1.1    3 weeks ago

in a word yes. evidently you dont get it

 
 
 
Tacos!
1.2  Tacos!  replied to  JohnRussell @1    3 weeks ago

Was there a specific point in the article you disagreed with?

 
 
 
†hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh
1.2.1  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh  replied to  Tacos! @1.2    3 weeks ago

He posted it to upset our Indigenous members. It's an annual trolling event.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
1.2.2  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Tacos! @1.2    3 weeks ago

Did you read the article and still not see it's meaning? Thats surprising. 

 
 
 
Tacos!
1.2.3  Tacos!  replied to  JohnRussell @1.2.2    3 weeks ago

It's not about what I think. I'm asking you what specifically you dispute in the article.

 
 
 
Heartland American
1.2.4  Heartland American  replied to  JohnRussell @1.2.2    3 weeks ago

Are you in denial of the things that happened in the Western Hemisphere before 1492?  Did the author excuse what the conquistadors did?  

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
1.3  Freedom Warrior  replied to  JohnRussell @1    3 weeks ago

Yeah that’s what everybody says anytime they can’t handle the truth it’s so cliché now that I don’t even know why you think you can get away with it

 
 
 
Heartland American
1.4  Heartland American  replied to  JohnRussell @1    3 weeks ago

Are you now going to argue that the four current economic powers founded by the UK in past centuries where those settlers and their descendants along with additional immigrants took over from the then indigenous population?  USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand.  Are they unique in world history?  Is the world worse off because of the four?  Did all the movements of people across time on all the other continents never cause people to be displaced or become minority where once they were majority?  I’m not going to defend Columbus as he was a complex personality.  The Spanish conquistadors who came after him to the west were often no better than what they replaced except they did abolish human sacrifice.  

 
 
 
†hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh
2  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh    3 weeks ago

White guy seeds article complaining about canceling a guy who pioneered the Indigenous genocide.

Not cool.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh @2    3 weeks ago

word salad does not compute

 
 
 
†hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh
2.1.1  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1    3 weeks ago

Might I suggest one of these? Perhaps i will buy homeslice one for Christmas. Be good and Santa Fish just might make your dreams come true.

384

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2.1.2  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh @2.1.1    3 weeks ago

You keep it, you still need it. 

 
 
 
Tacos!
3  Tacos!    3 weeks ago

If you have to have this explained to you, then you are racist and you support slavery and genocide. /s

(Just thought I'd save a few people the trouble.)

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
4  Perrie Halpern R.A.    3 weeks ago

Look this is a very skewed article.

Columbus is a very complexed and flawed person in history. He enslaved and murdered the indigenous people he came in contact with, even after he was told directly from Queen Isabella not to do that. 

He didn't bring democracy to the native people. He brought death to the cultures he came in contact with. 

We can't even claim he discovered America. Leif Erikson did. 

So if we are going to give the full history of Columbus, let's really be accurate about it. 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
4.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @4    3 weeks ago

ook this is a very skewed article.

Every article about Columbus is very skewed. 

I've never seen an article on Columbus that isn't heavy handed propaganda. 

This is just the mirror of what usually gets published. 

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
4.1.1  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Sean Treacy @4.1    3 weeks ago

Read my last line, Sean. That is what I am about.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
4.2  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @4    3 weeks ago

Thank you for your great comment Perrie. You are one of the ones here who know how to explain the reality of what Columbus did and brought.  All what you say is true. 

 I think the NY Post op ed article is a little more insidious than just being inaccurate. The writer is promoting the fact that the Europeans conquered the "new world" as evidence that they deserved to because they had the superior civilization. 

In the book and films based on the book Guns Germs and Steel the author Jared Diamond demonstrates that the spread of European civilization was the result of circumstance, and geography moreso than having a superior civilization. 

The past is the past and we cant rewrite history, but we can stop honoring a history that cost so many innocent lives. European expansion in the western hemisphere is not bathed in glory in terms of how the indigenous were treated. 

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
4.3  Freedom Warrior  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @4    3 weeks ago

It’s not meant to give a full history of Columbus that’s nonsense this is to recognize that this indigenous peoples movement is more phony identity politics crapola.

 
 
 
1stwarrior
4.3.1  1stwarrior  replied to  Freedom Warrior @4.3    3 weeks ago

And you give a very good reason for many Native Americans not responding.  Intentional blindness is pathetic.

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
4.3.2  Freedom Warrior  replied to  1stwarrior @4.3.1    3 weeks ago

Every time I see one of these narratives I have an overwhelming instinct to call a frickin   whaambulance.

That's because it's pathetic on its face.

 
 
 
Tacos!
4.4  Tacos!  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @4    3 weeks ago
We can't even claim he discovered America. Leif Erikson did. 

I'm not suggesting this is what you are doing, but this particular observation is often presented as justification for dismissing, ignoring, and minimizing Columbus's place in history. People feel more justified in demonizing him if they can dismiss anything positive he ever did.

Nevertheless, Columbus's "discovery" of America (ok, Caribbean islands) was the direct stimulus for something far more significant than that of Leif Erikson. There is a reason we point to Columbus at the beginning of studying United States history instead of Erikson.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
4.4.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Tacos! @4.4    3 weeks ago

The arrival of the Europeans pretty directly led to the death of millions of innocent people in a relatively short time.  When Columbus arrived there were many tens of millions of natives living in the Americas. The vast majority of those tens of millions died from diseases brought by the Europeans and their animals. 

While the changes that occurred in North and South America post Columbus may have been historically inevitable after the Europeans began an age of exploration,  there is no reason to "celebrate" the destruction of the native cultures that occurred, often with cruelty and criminality attached. 

 
 
 
Tacos!
4.4.2  Tacos!  replied to  JohnRussell @4.4.1    3 weeks ago
The arrival of the Europeans pretty directly led to the death of millions of innocent people in a relatively short time.

That is hardly anyone’s fault, particularly Columbus. Something like 95% of the deaths you are talking about were the result of disease. As you say, that was going to happen, no matter what, because the people living in the Americas had been isolated for millennia from the rest of the world. There is no reason to hate Columbus for it.

there is no reason to "celebrate" the destruction of the native cultures that occurred, often with cruelty and criminality attached. 

I don’t believe the point of this story was to celebrate the loss of those civilizations as much as it was to rebut the idea that the civilization that replaced it was somehow much worse. I think the writer sees the trendy hysteria against Columbus as being shaped by the old trope of the “noble savage.” 

I don’t think it needs to be either/or. It’s simply another transitional period in human history, neither better nor worse than many that came before. It is a useful beginning in the study of US History. And if you’re of a mind that the United States - as a government and a culture - is good thing, generally speaking, then it’s worth remembering Columbus in a positive way for that reason.

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
4.4.3  Freedom Warrior  replied to  Tacos! @4.4    3 weeks ago
Nevertheless, Columbus's "discovery" of America (ok, Caribbean islands) was the direct stimulus for something far more significant than that of Leif Erikson. There is a reason we point to Columbus at the beginning of studying United States history instead of Erikson.

That's pure common sense and common knowledge except there are those out there that prefer to rewrite history to their liking.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
4.4.4  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Tacos! @4.4.2    3 weeks ago
And if you’re of a mind that the United States - as a government and a culture - is good thing, generally speaking, then it’s worth remembering Columbus in a positive way for that reason.

No it's not. In the first place Columbus has nothing to do with the government and not much to do with the culture of the United States of America. It is fair to say that the Spanish culture has had a fairly large influence on American culture, but almost all of that was well after Columbus was long gone from the scene. The beginnings of America as a nation, and as a culture, are entirely derived from the English colonies. Not only that, but you could say the Native Americans in the north had more influence on the creation of the United States than the Spanish did, as well as on the original 'American' culture. It is well known that the natives helped many of the early English colonizers survive in their early years on the coast. 

That is hardly anyone’s fault, particularly Columbus. Something like 95% of the deaths you are talking about were the result of disease. As you say, that was going to happen, no matter what, because the people living in the Americas had been isolated for millennia from the rest of the world. There is no reason to hate Columbus for it.

Given that Europeans developed an economy and a culture that wanted to expand beyond its own shores (conquest) it does seem inevitable that someone would have brought disease to the Americas.  That still doesnt make the arrival worth celebrating.  We dont need a day to celebrate Christopher Columbus.  It is a celebration of death and destruction and conquest and greed.   Sure a lot of good things came out of it, and we celebrate the United States of America for many reasons on many other days during the year. 

 
 
 
Tacos!
4.4.5  Tacos!  replied to  JohnRussell @4.4.4    3 weeks ago
The beginnings of America as a nation, and as a culture, are entirely derived from the English colonies.

Depends on your perspective and your need for specificity. Is America more English than Spanish? Of course! It’s also more European than Asian or Middle Eastern. More Christian than Islamic.

I said Columbus was a useful beginning point for studying US history. I never said it was the whole thing. His voyages are the beginning of an age of exploration and colonization by European powers that developed the American continents, thus expanding European culture and hegemony in a way that would have otherwise been impossible if they hadn’t made the decision to venture west. If they had delayed, the Americas might be more heavily Islamic now or more influenced by some Asian culture.

Would someone else - from maybe England or France - have reached America eventually? Sure. But you have to start somewhere and Columbus is a perfectly reasonable starting point. He’s not mandatory for a holiday.

We also, by the way, make a big deal out of the Jamestown settlement, the Plymouth colony, and as we are reminded this week, Thanksgiving. Frankly I’d prefer a Jamestown or Mayflower holiday over one for Columbus just because that would be more closely tied to the United States specifically.

Either way, it doesn’t need to be a zero sum question. We don’t have some limited allocation of holidays to spend on early events in American development. We can have holidays for all of these things and for native Americans as well.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
4.4.6  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Tacos! @4.4.5    3 weeks ago

Standing back and looking with the perspective of 527 years, I see no good reason to celebrate Columbus with a holiday in the United States . 

 
 
 
Tacos!
4.4.7  Tacos!  replied to  JohnRussell @4.4.6    3 weeks ago

If we were starting over with holidays, I wouldn’t have one for him either. But there are valid reasons for feeling that way that don’t involve unnecessarily exaggerating his actions for the purpose of demonizing him. As a kid, I always thought it was a little weird that we got a holiday for Columbus instead of for Jamestown or Plymouth, but I wasn’t going to complain about getting a Monday off.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
4.4.8  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Tacos! @4.4.7    3 weeks ago

I dont have a personal feeling about Columbus, but I might if I were native American. 

He is "demonized" as a reaction to the hundreds of years he was lionized.  That's the way it goes. 

 
 
 
KDMichigan
4.5  KDMichigan  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @4    3 weeks ago
So if we are going to give the full history of Columbus, let's really be accurate about it.

I'm going with what I learned in school. I don't care to expand off that since I passed the test.jrSmiley_86_smiley_image.gif

original

 
 
 
1stwarrior
4.6  1stwarrior  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @4    3 weeks ago

Not only Queen Isabella - the Pope stated in 1506 that the lands the Indigenous peoples live on were theirs and that their lives were not to be cut short simply because they don't "believe" as the Euros do.  Specifically, the Pope stated that Indigenous peoples were, indeed, HUMAN, and were not to be treated as the Euros were treating them.

'Course, we see how much the Pope was listened to over the MONEY/CONQUEST/GLORY that could be obtained by the Euros.

 
 
 
Tacos!
5  Tacos!    3 weeks ago

 
 
 
JohnRussell
5.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Tacos! @5    3 weeks ago

That was a relatively interesting video, and I say relative mainly because it doesnt address what the seeded article is about. 

 
 
 
Steve Ott
6  Steve Ott    3 weeks ago

A very nice white nationalist, intellectually dishonest diatribe.

Let's pick on scalping shall we? Such a lovely act.

"In England in 1036, Earl Godwin , father of Harold Godwinson , was reportedly responsible for scalping his enemies. According to the ancient Abingdon manuscript , 'some of them were blinded, some maimed, some scalped. No more horrible deed was done in this country since the Danes came and made peace here'.

"The Connecticut and Massachusetts colonies offered bounties for the heads of killed hostile Indians, and later for just their scalps, during the Pequot War in the 1630s; [15] Connecticut specifically reimbursed Mohegans for slaying the Pequot in 1637."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scalping

Apparently scalping wasn't all that abhorrent to white Europeans. But what had Europeans been doing to each other before this? Nothing much.

Sending children to war: Childrens Crusade

Europeans were certainly an inventive lot: The 8 Most Painful Torture Devices Of The Middle Ages

And where did the idea of American democracy and confederation come from? Why, from God of course. These men were simply brilliant!

But wait, what is that? The Six Nations: Oldest Living Participatory Democracy on Earth

American History Myths Debunked: No Native Influence on Founding Fathers

Oh my,  how embarrassing. It perhaps wasn't white europeans who had the idea first.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
6.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Steve Ott @6    3 weeks ago

Good post Steve. You got right to the heart of it.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
7  Paula Bartholomew    2 weeks ago

Columbus Day was conceived by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic Fraternal organization, in the 1930s because they wanted a Catholic hero. After President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the day into law as a federal holiday in 1937, the rest has been history.  While researching the subject, what I found out about CC made me literally sick.

 
 
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