“Hitler’s concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history. He admired the camps for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for the Indians in the wild west; and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America’s extermination – by starvation and uneven combat – of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity.”
Columbus Day became became a federal holiday in the United States in 1937, though people have celebrated Columbus’ voyage since the colonial period. During the four hundredth anniversary in 1892, teachers, preachers, poets and politicians used Columbus Day rituals to teach ideals of patriotism. These patriotic rituals were framed around themes such as support for war, citizenship boundaries, the importance of loyalty to the nation, and celebrating social progress.
In this post I reflect on the true significance of Columbus Day. I talk about the Genocide of Native Americans, and make mention of how exploitative policies that harm our indigenous people continue today. Please keep in mind that the 1994 U.N. Convention on the Punishment and Prevention of the Crime of Genocide, describes genocide as being beyond the outright murder of people as the destruction and extermination of culture.” Article II of the convention lists five categories of activity as genocidal when directed against a specific “national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.
- Killing members of the group;
- Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of group;
- Deliberately infliction on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
- Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
- Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Columbus Day Considerations
I am not a historian but I find a continuity between American and European policies especially in terms of international abuse, colonial propensity, and an this urge towards plutocracy at the expense of people. To me, what Europe starts America finishes. Of course while this view of history might seem a bit blinkered, I am willing to go on record that those who feel that this view is blinkered are:
- Probably not Native American
- Didn’t live in the American countries under the stranglehold of American Interests, CIA death squads
- Lived under dictatorship financed by “foreign interests”
- Part of the African Diaspora
- Not-well read about Columbus and his Abuses, and the genocide
Two things are clear to me looking at what befell the Indigenous People of Canada, America, and Australia and what still is going on today. Firstly the very existence of Native people is a threat to the narrative we have told ourselves about our country. Very few people will admit to the fact that implicit within the American doctrine of Manifest destiny was the destruction dispossession and subjugation of The Native people. This is why we as a culture continue to marginalize our Native People. Secondly, Columbus Day is a celebration of Genocide and the work that continues today to suppress and destroy the remnant population of our Native people.
Thesis on Native American Treatment
At the heart of colonization was the lust for riches and material excess because these are the means for societal elevation. If some people have to be killed for it than so be it. Concerning America, we have gotten into the habit of feeding our children lobotomized versions of history. Columbus is still said to have discovered the New World even though everyone knows about Lief Ericson‘s voyage to the New World in the 11th century, or the fact that native Americans had been settled on the continent for a few thousand years.
No one tells out kids that on his second trip to the New world Columbus came armed, not just with weapons but with demands on the Natives. Here were some:
- Give his men food and gold
- Allow his men to have sex with any women
When people refused their noses and ears were cut off. Of course it gets worse rape, torture, women sold into sex-slavery feeding of Native to dogs, having the native who didn’t bring him gold have to walk around with their severed hands around their necks.
The seeds for the America we know today can be found in the accounts of Columbus. Looking down on the natives as being less than Europeans was how the abuses where justified and sold. Of course the wealth they were able to get from them, through campaigns for their completely dispossession. Rape was a used as a tool to police, torture and subjugate people. Dogs were used to terrorize people then too.
Recently I wrote two posts that dealt with the subjects of Native Americans and their subsequent treatment in the US and Canada. Check them out you may be surprised to be find that in the USA 1 out of 3 native American women will be raped, and that 80% of the crimes committed on the reservations are comment by non-Indian men. Or that there was institutionalized sterilization of Native people in Canada from the 1928 to the early 1980’s.
- A DEBUNKING POPULAR MYTHS SPECIAL : WOULD YOU SAY THIS TO A NATIVE AMERICAN
- MRMARY RESPONDS TO LECLOWN’S POUTINE WITH A SIDE OF XENOPHOBIA