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Monday, October 10, 2016

Happy Native American Day

The second Monday of October annually marks Columbus Day in many parts the United States but not all states or region follow this observance.

Instead, they celebrate other events on the day. For example, South Dakota's official holiday on this date is Native Americans' Day (also known as Native American Day), while people in Berkeley, California, celebrate Indigenous People's Day.

 Friday, September 23, 2016 (local in California)

 Native Americans' Day is a public holiday in South Dakota and in Berkeley, California, instead of Columbus Day.

 Government offices are closed, as are many businesses and schools.

 Services such as police and fire departments, as well as emergency health services, may be available on this day.

 It is also a statewide observance in all of California on the fourth Friday of September.


In 1989 the South Dakota legislature unanimously passed legislation to proclaim 1990 as the “Year of Reconciliation” for Native Americans and to change Columbus Day to Native American Day.

Since 1990 the second Monday in October has been celebrated as Native American Day in South Dakota.

In 1992 Columbus Day was no longer observed in Berkeley, California, but Indigenous People's Day would be celebrated instead on the second Monday in October. 

The city has been known for its political correctness and its officials designated 1992 as the Year of Indigenous People.

 In addition, in 1998 the California Assembly declared Native American Day as an official annual statewide observance on the fourth Friday of September.

  First of all, Columbus wasn’t the first European to discover America.

As we all know, the Viking, Leif Ericson probably founded a Norse village on Newfoundland some 500 years earlier.

 So, hat’s off to Leif.

But if you think about it, the whole concept of discovering America is, well, arrogant.

After all, the Native Americans discovered North America about 14,000 years before Columbus was even born!

 Surprisingly, DNA evidence now suggests that courageous Polynesian adventurers sailed dugout canoes across the Pacific and settled in South America long before the Vikings.

 Second, Columbus wasn’t a hero.

When he set foot on that sandy beach in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492, Columbus discovered that the islands were inhabited by friendly, peaceful people called the Lucayans, TaĆ­nos and Arawaks.

Writing in his diary, Columbus said they were a handsome, smart and kind people.

 He noted that the gentle Arawaks were remarkable for their hospitality.

 “They offered to share with anyone and when you ask for something, they never say no,” he said.

 The Arawaks had no weapons; their society had neither criminals, prisons nor prisoners.

They were so kind-hearted that Columbus noted in his diary that on the day the Santa Maria was shipwrecked, the Arawaks labored for hours to save his crew and cargo.

The native people were so honest that not one thing was missing.

 Columbus was so impressed with the hard work of these gentle islanders, that he immediately seized their land for Spain and enslaved them to work in his brutal gold mines.

 Within only two years, 125,000 (half of the population) of the original natives on the island were dead.

Shockingly, Columbus supervised the selling of native girls into sexual slavery.

Young girls of the ages 9 to 10 were the most desired by his men.

 In 1500, Columbus casually wrote about it in his log.

 He said: “A hundred castellanoes are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand.”
He forced these peaceful natives work in his gold mines until they died of exhaustion.

 If an “Indian” worker did not deliver his full quota of gold dust by Columbus’ deadline, soldiers would cut off the man’s hands and tie them around his neck to send a message.

 Slavery was so intolerable for these sweet, gentle island people that at one point, 100 of them committed mass suicide.

Catholic law forbade the enslavement of Christians, but Columbus solved this problem. He simply refused to baptize the native people of Hispaniola.

On his second trip to the New World, Columbus brought cannons and attack dogs.

If a native resisted slavery, he would cut off a nose or an ear.

 If slaves tried to escape, Columbus had them burned alive.

Other times, he sent attack dogs to hunt them down, and the dogs would tear off the arms and legs of the screaming natives while they were still alive.

 If the Spaniards ran short of meat to feed the dogs, Arawak babies were killed for dog food.
Columbus’ acts of cruelty were so unspeakable and so legendary - even in his own day - that Governor Francisco De Bobadilla arrested Columbus and his two brothers, slapped them into chains, and shipped them off to Spain to answer for their crimes against the Arawaks.

 But the King and Queen of Spain, their treasury filling up with gold, pardoned Columbus and let him go free.

 Christopher Columbus derived most of his income from slavery, De Las Casas noted.

 In fact, Columbus was the first slave trader in the Americas.

As the native slaves died off, they were replaced with black slaves.

 Columbus’ son became the first African slave trader in 1505.

 Are you surprised you never learned about any of this in school?

 I am too. Why do we have this extraordinary gap in our American ethos?

 Columbus himself kept detailed diaries, as did some of his men including De Las Casas and Michele de Cuneo.

 (If you don’t believe me, just Google the words Columbus, sex slave, and gold mine.)

 One of Columbus’ men, Bartolome De Las Casas, was so mortified by Columbus’ brutal atrocities against the native peoples, that he quit working for Columbus and became a Catholic priest.

He described how the Spaniards under Columbus’ command cut off the legs of children who ran from them, to test the sharpness of their blades.

 According to De Las Casas, the men made bets as to who, with one sweep of his sword, could cut a person in half.

 He says that Columbus’ men poured people full of boiling soap.

 In a single day, De Las Casas was an eye witness as the Spanish soldiers dismembered, beheaded, or raped 3000 native people.

 “Such inhumanities and barbarisms were committed in my sight as no age can parallel,” De Las Casas wrote.

 “My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature that now I tremble as I write.”

 Happy Native American Day

Not so happy after all...

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