By Jacob Condo, Staff Writer
The history of the United States has been written in the blood of the oppressed.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that a national holiday was given to the pedophilic rapist, mass murderer, and founder of the transatlantic slave trade: Christopher Columbus.
Sadly, the above is a gross understatement of the horrors committed by Columbus and his men on the native tribes they encountered when they landed in the Caribbean. The simple fact is that Columbus never discovered anything, and his only real legacy is genocide.
As a Native American, Columbus Day is admittedly a touchy subject for me, and once again I feel obligated to share just why that is.
First off, it’s just another move by America to whitewash our collective history. It’s hardly the first attempt to push natives out of our history books, but it stings the most.
Like I said, Columbus didn’t discover anything.
In fact, he was nowhere near the first European to encounter the continent and its people. Everyone and their dog knew the Americas were there; they just never explored or mapped it out in any official degree.
So, why was Columbus heralded as a great explorer? And why does he have a holiday?
The answer is misinformation. While historical documentation among Columbus and his men go into great detail about the gruesome facts of their voyage, the public at large were told very different stories.
The papacy itself sponsored all of the events of the voyage, including the trading of underage children as sex slaves among Columbus’s men, the ceremonious gang-rapes of women, the feeding of live people to dogs, and the mutilation of child slaves who mined gold for the invaders.
And the mass murder that finished off the population after they mined their island’s remaining gold? Not only did the pope at the time give Columbus permission to commit this atrocity, but the papacy and Spanish nobility armed the troops.
Needless to say, the pope probably didn’t want the general public knowing the details of the devastation going on in the New World. So, as with the crusades of ages past, fluffy stories about noble Christians and dull heathens were spun.
This allowed people to colonize these profitable new territories without feeling bad whatsoever. After all, these native savages weren’t regular people. It’s best to either enslave them for their own good, or forcibly convert the ones that aren’t killed in the name of God.
To everyone settling the New World, Columbus was a hero. With all of this in mind, it’s no wonder he got his own holiday. How would they feel about him if the real events of his arrival were taught in school?
Columbus set the precedent that allowed for the Native American Genocide to take place. Native Americans continue to struggle today in the reservations their ancestors were forced onto, and some of these places in the United States don’t have heat in the winter or access to clean drinking water.
Our genocide is purposefully left out of the history books, and many people in America today continue to be surprised that we’re “still around”.
Meanwhile, the monster that set it all in motion gets a holiday and a nursery rhyme.
With so many movements going on across the country trying to right the wrongs done to the different peoples of our country, this is absurd.
Whether people are defending women’s rights, Black Lives Matter, or defending the LGBTQA community, I think now is the time to right this particular wrong.
Across the United States, the second Monday in October is shedding the name of the Italian mass murderer and instead is being called Indigenous People’s Day, or variations therein.
Instead of celebrating a monster, we can acknowledge the voices and struggles of the people who truly discovered America.
While it can’t make up for centuries of genocide and oppression, it’s a step in the right direction to stop celebrating the man who started it all.