Some Thoughts on Columbus Day
By Laura Patsouris
"In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue"...
There is so much history we are not taught. We are not taught about the rich cultures that were destroyed in the Conquest, we are led to believe that Columbus "discovered" the Americas when it already had a population of 100 million inhabitants. We are not shown the lithographs and artwork done *by Spaniards* documenting how they tortured and murdered Arawak, Caribe and Taino people and hacked up the limbs of the women and children to sell as *meat* to feed their hunting dogs. Instead we get a whitewashed version of history that glorifies Conquest and "Manifest Destiny" and gloss over inconvenient facts about genocide and slavery.
The truth of the story is ugly. The truth is painful. But the only way to heal the pain and wounds of the past is to look it square in the eye. Because whether you are descended from the Conquerors or the Natives or the enslaved Africans on whose backs the Americas were built,(or if you're descended from all those groups combined like me) this is your History. You live in a land steeped in blood, whose soil holds the bones and the stories of all these people. Looking away and trying to think pretty thoughts will not undo reality or lance wounds that have festered. If we are all truly the walking incarnations of our ancestral lines (as I believe we are) then we are obligated to look at the past honestly and mourn it, lest we repeat those terrible errors.
Atrocities happened. And we have inherited a world built on its foundations. The question now is, what are we going to do with it?
From Galina: Here is an excellent article (hosted by MIT) on Columbus’ Legacy of Genocide: http://www.mit.edu/~thistle/v9/9.11/1columbus.html
And from Ukumbwa, another good suggestion for this particular day: we should boycott companies that hold Columbus day sales.