Message from the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP):
Subject: Questions To Ponder As Columbus Day nears...
Please forward and print (one copy or many) of this
questionnaire and distribute as widely as possible.
Have your children hand it to their teachers, post it on the bulletin board at your
community center, discuss it with your friends and neighbors, mail a copy to your
Mayor, City Council and House Representatives, Senators, Governor and President
-- why are politicians neglecting to do something about this absurd & abominable
holiday (that IS what holiday means) that only serves the purpose of rubbing salt
into some of the old, festering wounds of so many in our multi-cultural society.
WHY DO WE CELEBRATE COLUMBUS DAY?
What is the meaning of this day to each of us, or is there any meaning at all?
Please, bring this up as a topic of discussion with others,
and let me know what kind of responses you hear.
Questions To Ponder As Columbus Day nears
1. Columbus sailed into the Caribbean and never even
set foot in what is now known as the United States.
So, why do we, in the United States, give him one of our 8 Federal holidays?
2. Why would Columbus be given credit for "discovering"
the Americas anyway, when we all know those lands were
already inhabited and had been for thousands of years?
Didn't the inhabitants of those lands discover them?
Look at any map of the US and see the many, many, many states,
cities and towns that all bear the Native American names of
people and peoples who once populated those regions:
Illinois, Oklahoma, Cheyene, Nantuckett, Milwaukee, Yuma, Omaha,
Witchita, Tallahassee, Mississippi, Muskogee, Tennessee, Allegheny,
Missouri, Kentucky, Huron, Tuscalloosa and on and on and on......
3. Knowing that Native Americans were already here, and Columbus
never was here, why does anyone go along with the myth that
"Columbus Discovered America", when we all know it is not true?
4. Why aren't we taught the whole truth about Columbus'
actions and the devastating consequences of those actions?
Why are we only told about Columbus, who as a boy who always wanted to sail
and then when he got older Spain provided him three ships & he sailed across
the ocean and DISCOVERED A NEW WORLD! (where millions of Taino
had lived for thousands of years and which we now call the Caribbean).
Why are we only taught about that FIRST voyage,
and not the other 3 voyages, when all hell broke loose?
Why aren't we taught about how on the second voyage, unlike the first when
Columbus only had 3 small old ships, Columbus was given 17 large ships
and 1,500 armed men eagerly signed up for the chance to go to the
"New World" with hopes of getting rich quick on the gold to be found there?
Also, why aren't we taught about the greed and brutality of the Spaniards against
the Taino (who have been remembered as "naked savages" in our history books,
if at all), and how the Taino were murdered and enslaved on that second voyage?
Why are we not taught about the third voyage & how when King Ferdinand
& Queen Isabella of Spain heard about Columbus' actions in the
"New World" he was sent back to Spain in chains to stand
trial for his crimes, was convicted and stripped of his titles?
Or, how the Spaniards tricked 80 of the Taino
leaders into a hut and burned them alive?
Isn't to omit the ugly part of the truth considered LYING BY OMISSION?
Then, that is what our schools are doing when they only teach about the first
voyage, they are lying by omission to our students, and we as a improperly
educated country have a holiday for an evil, greedy, slave-trading, murderer.
5. Some people say he is worthy of the honor of a holiday for his nautical
genius, but the Vikings sailed across the ocean to North America 500 years
before; Marco Polo sailed to China & India 300 years prior and the Chinese
set foot upon the very shores that Columbus did 71 years prior to the arrival
of Columbus; [not to mention the obvious West African presence which had
been in Mexico and Central America for thousands of years] -- the difference
being, Columbus "claimed" the land and cites the Papal Bulls with giving him
the authority to do so if no one disputes the action, and Columbus according
to his journal, was careful to add that no one disputed it at the time, while admitting
at the same time that they could not understand each other, so how could they
be expected to understand what his flag-planting and pronunciations meant?
6. Many people will argue that Columbus brought Western Civilization
to what is now known as the United States, and that is the reason
the US bestows upon him the honor of a holiday.
But how can we make that correlation when Columbus, working
for Spain, came in 1492 and the European colonizers who came
here TWO HUNDRED years later, came from England?
If Columbus is worthy of being given credit for this "achievement",
wouldn't it have happened 200 years earlier and wouldn't we
all be speaking Spanish now as the countries he invaded do?
7. Some people will argue that Columbus Day is a day
for recognition of Italians, an Italian Pride Day.
Are Italians more worthy of recognition than other ethnic groups in
this country we have proudly (?) nicknamed "The Melting Pot"?
I have heard Italians say that Germans have Oktoberfest,
the Irish have St. Patrick's Day and Mexicans have Cinco
de Mayo, but none of those are FEDERAL holidays.
[Not to mention the fact that many historians are convinced that
Columbus was actually a Spaniard and not of Italian origin at all.]
The only two ethnic groups worthy of recognition for their contributions
and sacrifice in this land are those who were ALREADY HERE when the
Europeans came and those who the Europeans BROUGHT HERE IN CHAINS.
All other ethnic groups came here voluntarily.
It was long overdue but African Americans finally got their holiday
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January.... but Native Americans still don't
have a holiday (urge your congressmen and women to support House Bill #167).
8. Some people think he is deserving of the honor because he proved the
world was round, but this was already a widely accepted belief by educated
people at the time as Ptolemy, the ancient astronomer and geographer
from Egypt, declared that the Earth was spherical in the second century.
7. Why do 17 states refuse to recognize and/or celebrate Columbus Day?
8. Why do protestors gather and march at every Columbus Day Parade?
9. And, WHY is Columbus honored with
one of our 8 federal holidays in the US when,
a. He didn't "discover" us, or anything previously undiscovered or uninhabited
b. He never set foot on what is now U.S. soil.
c. His legacy is greed, theft, destruction, brutality, slave-trading and murder
d. It is offensive to Latin American, African American and Native Americans
e. Native Americans, who were here and are worthy of a holiday, still don't have one
10. And why have the Taino people of the Caribbean and those in the
US, whose ancestors have paid such a huge price for the misfortune
of being "discovered", been erroneously declared extinct and
are therefore denied legal recognition by the government?
To learn more about the truth, read:
*In Defense of the Indians by Bartolome de las Casas *
A People's History by Howard Zinn *
Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Louwen *
Rethinking Columbus by Bigelow and Peterson *
The Voyages of Christopher Columbus by Rex and Thea Rienits *
The Log of Christopher Columbus by Robert H. Fuson *
The Journal of Columbus by Clarkson N. Potter *
1421, The Year China Discovered America by Gavin Menzies *
America Discovers Columbus by John Noble Wilford *
The Conquest of Paradise by Kirkpatrick Sale *
The Columbus Dynasty in the Caribbean by Troy S. Floyd *
The Conquest of America by Tzvetan Todorov *