Columbus Day should be a Remembrance of Exploitation and Genocide 

Education is not just a mere public instruction but a process to which a nation can build its self-consciousness and through that consciousness a nation can communicate its cultural heritage from one generation to the other. Consequently, the Columbus Day holiday has been celebrated in the United States since 1937 and intensified in 1971 as part of that cultural heritage. To glorify the history of Columbus, most unfortunately, in a year two thousand two President Bush issued a presidential proclamation for a man who never set foot in North America, directing the flag of the United States be displayed on all public buildings on the appointed day in honor of Columbus. (Proclamation 6484—Columbus Day,October 1, 1992) This proclamation speaks of a bold expedition and Columbus pioneering achievements henceforward fails to recognize Columbus human annihilation, genocide and slaves that were sent to Spain to be sold, per Columbus; in the name of Holy Trinity. Columbus reported that, “the Indians are so naive and so free with their possessions that no one who has not witnessed them would not believe it. When you ask for something they have, they never say no”. It is fair to say that’ despite hospitality shown by the Arawak’s, Columbus wicked intentions took over. He seized the Arawak by force aboard the ship as prisoners insisting that they guide him to the source of the gold. In his journal to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Columbus writes “They would make fine servants…with fifty men we should subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want” (Zinn). Columbus further wrote that “Through slavery they should be made to abandon their bad habits and reward them with life time of work. At this juncture Columbus used slavery to deal with “barbarians” who refused to accept Christianity.” (Conqueror).

This period of Columbus is mark by gold as it was becoming the new mark of wealth and Spain like any other nations sought this commodity which they considered to be more useful than land as it could buy anything. Columbus from negotiated 10% profit contract with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella promise to bring back gold and species. As a reward Columbus was promised governorship over new-found lands, and the fame that would go with a new title: Admiral of the Ocean Sea., Columbus’ voyage from inception was motivated by creed. His creed can be demonstrated by his very first encounter with the Arawak’s as he wrote in his journal “As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts” (Bounce). All it took for Columbus was to see jewelry wore by the Arawak’ and nose plugs made from gold. Columbus expected to have spices and plenty of gold. The methods to explore called for domination and justification of such control. To warrant sufficient justification dominion of the Indies and land en route, he used Christianity and Civility as he was induced by a concept of “barbarian,” that Christianity and the rule of civilized government was a gift worth giving to ill-clothed, ill-housed and ungoverned barbarians of the world. Part of that civility was slavery orchestrated by an impression of barbarians as people with manners and customs of which “civil persons” like Columbus disapprove.

Missing in our American Columbus story line and a year two thousand two Bush proclamations, is a story of Columbus genocide perpetrated by degree that’ every 14 years old Arawak’s were to finish every three month a hawk bell full of gold dust or in an alternative a 25 pound of woven of span cotton. Furthermore, missing is brutality commanded by Columbus, horrific branding of copper coins around Arawak’s necks as a symbol that they meet quotas. Indian found without tokens had their hands cut off and bleed to death. When the Spaniards find Arawak’s who attempted to flee, they hanged them or burned them to death. History bear witness that; Arawak’s population of 250,000 in 1492 was reduced to in or around 200 in 1514. The Arawak’s died been hunted by dogs, disease, cruelty, burned, overworked, taking pains to avoid having children and forced into committing mass suicides with cassava poison. This genocide occurred all in the name of cherished assumption of Columbus version of Christianity and civility.

As American history X authors attempt to bury the cruel policies initiated by Columbus and pursued by his successors., they reference this Genocide as skirmish with the natives, moreover horrific acts such as Spaniards been carried by Indians on hammocks and run in relays were position as nuance view and that Indians died due to diseases . (Cohen) To add an insult, this version of history according to Michael Kammen article “Mystic Chords of Memory”, Columbus voyages to the “New World” fronted a new phase of Human Civilization, and a symbol of first order in America. Seeing Columbus as a hero that overcome opposition and adversity to change history, this contrary tale to human annihilation, genocide and slavery will become a romance idealized image of discoverer, bold man to which America will mold him to their purpose as embodiment spirit, a driving force to explore and discover just like in a case of Captain John Mason during raid in Pequots Village in 1636 as he believed that using massacre can destroy Indians will to fight with less risk.

Here we are five hundred and twenty five years later celebrating a cruel atrocious liar who never found China or Asia, Columbus the hero, a man who not only brought disease to the Native Americana’s but drove them to self-destruct as they destroy their own crops, forced to killed their children and committed suicides to avoid horrific act of Genocide perpetrated by Columbus against Native Americana’s. What unite us to celebrate a man who never even landed in the United States but launched one of greatest waves of genocide known to man? Is it Christian superiority over naked barbarians? Or perhaps punitive expedition that virtually exterminated the Arawak’s and paved the way for Atlantic slave trade sum-up what unite us to celebrate Columbus? American History began with Columbus models of human servitude and to understand a larger picture of American history, emphasis should be placed that Columbus along killed four million people in four years and recently in 1980’s under President Reagan and Bush Sir, US government gave direct aid to genocidal campaigns that killed tens of thousands Mayan Indian people in Guatemala (Soldiers of Fortune Mercenary Wars Guatemala). As here the pattern holds and as logic escapes me, a question is; is this a type of heritage mark by omissions apt to be pass down as a celebration? The answer is no and as here, the rest of the country should follow Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Seattle and Minneapolis and Los Angeles as a precedents to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. All in all, to amend this horrific past San Diego should follow a suite and extent its olive branch to our local natives such as Luiseno, Cahuilla, Cupeno, Kumeyaay, and Northern Diegueño. Columbus Voyages and Holiday Day should be nothing of celebration but remembrance of human servitude and Genocide against indigenous people, if anything less, may our God to whom we trust be indebted with a special apology to the Nazis, Ancient people of Babylon, Egypt, Sodom and Gomorrah.

Credit to San Diego City College History Dept.

Works Cited

Bounce, EG. The Northern, Columbus and Cabot. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1906.

Cohen, Paul A. “The Mythology Past.” History in Three Keys: The Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth. Columbia University Press, 1997. 215.

“Conqueror.” Morgan, Edmund S. American Heroes: Profiles of Men and Women Who Shaped Early America. W. W. Norton & Company, , 2010. 304.

Soldiers of Fortune Mercenary Wars Guatemala. http://www.mercenary-wars-.net/Guatemala. n.d. 07 07 2017.

Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of The United States. Harper & Row, 2003.

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