I went out to get the mail today and was reminded that it was Columbus Day, named after Christopher Columbus who mistakenly chanced upon what is now called ‘America’ while looking for India.
Chris Columbus is the reason I have to tolerate ridiculous questions like “What tribe?” whenever I respond with ‘Indian’ for my ethnicity. But for the indigenous peoples of America, ‘Indian’ is a concept imbued in violence–violence against their homes, cultures and identities. And we dare not forget that violence.
As shown in the video, I would much rather re-define this day as a day of apology to indigenous peoples because without the first ‘illegal alien invasion’ of Christopher Columbus, none of us would be here today. In many parts of the United States, students held counter-protests to Columbus day, making sure that their counter-narratives, their histories of war, genocide and disease are not lost to history.
Check out Howard Zinn’s “Columbus and Western Civilization” for a detailed deconstruction of the mythic ‘discovery’ of America.
Video H/T: VivirLatino