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Fwd: Columbus Day: No Cause for Celebration

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  • Dr. Lapin
    Really glad BVHM celebrates Indigenous People s Day. I like Indigenous Resistance Day even better. Blair ______________ skype:
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 8, 2012
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      Really glad BVHM celebrates Indigenous People's Day. I like "Indigenous Resistance Day" even better.



      skype: dr.lapin

      As Canadian born intellectual Naomi Klein tweeted after the recent student victory in Quebec,
      “this is why radical movements are mercilessly mocked. They can win.”

      Inicio del mensaje reenviado:

      Columbus Day: No Cause for Celebration 

      I'm proud South Dakota does not honour the originator
      of the Native American genocide, but not that we're
      alone in the union

      by Dana Lone Hill

      Published on Monday, October 8, 2012
      by The Guardian

      An illustration of Christopher Columbus arriving in the
      New World from circa 1900. (Photograph: Corbis)All
      across America on Monday, people will be celebrating
      Columbus Day. I don't know what that means exactly,
      except usually there's a white sale where you can buy
      your sheets at 20% off. Supposedly, though, there may
      be parades, people get time off from work, school, etc.
      According to Wikipedia, "Columbus Day first became an
      official state holiday in Colorado in 1906, and became
      a federal holiday in 1937, though people have
      celebrated Columbus' voyage since the colonial period."

      I personally don't know anyone who "celebrates"
      Columbus Day. I know plenty of people who protest
      Columbus Day.

      In other states, that is. See, 22 years ago here in
      South Dakota, Republican Governor George Mickelson
      replaced Columbus Day with Native American Day. That
      makes this the only state that honors the indigenous
      people of this land, rather than honor the beginning of
      their attempted genocide. Mickelson proclaimed 1990 as
      a "Year of Reconciliation" and changed the holiday the
      same year, with the help of the state legislature. It
      was supposed to be the beginning of a long road to
      improve racial relations in the state that has a
      tormented history on that score.

      A statue of Christopher Columbus pulled down by
      protesters in Caracas, Venezuela, 2004, where Columbus
      Day is marked as 'Indigenous Resistance Day'.
      (Photograph: Luis Noguera/AP)

      I always felt proud that our state didn't honor someone
      who murdered, enslaved, and raped indigenous people.
      Considering that it was the beginning of a genocide,
      this would be like putting a day aside to honor the
      memory of Hitler and selling sheets at a discount for
      the role he played in the world. Mickelson's initiative
      made me feel like we were a little ahead of the rest of
      the country: this is the same state that remembers the
      Wounded Knee Massacre, the Occupation of Wounded Knee,
      and unsolved deaths of our people in the 1973 incident.
      So, we celebrated Native American Day, not Columbus

      Yet, as Lakota people, we have all experienced racism
      in the state of South Dakota. Every single one of us,
      many times. My first time was when I was six years old
      and moving off the reservation. I was called horrible
      names, but I survived. And that was only the beginning.

      I recall another time, when I was 18: my family moved
      to the nearest city off our reservation. It was a real
      nice, historic neighborhood; my stepfather was a
      lawyer. We received an anonymous letter in the mail
      calling us names and telling us to move back to the
      reservation. I took the letter and went knocking on
      doors trying to find out who'd sent it. Of course, no
      one admitted it; I went home mad and in tears. The next
      day, neighbors brought us casseroles, cookies, and
      fudge. But when they left, my mother wouldn't let us
      eat the food: she was paranoid that the food might get
      us sick (if one of the givers was the one who had sent
      the letter).

      That wasn't to say the fudge and cookies didn't
      disappear mysteriously, though. Too many kids in the

      So, 22 years after Governor Mickelson's proclamation of
      "the year of reconciliation", have the race relations
      in this state improved? We all like to think they did.
      But then, it's hard to ignore an incident like the one
      that occurred a few weeks ago, at the South Dakota
      State University, where Native American students from
      in-state reservations were subjected to graffiti in a
      dormitory bathroom that read "Praire [sic] niggers, go
      back to the rez" (listing specific students' room

      This was the same insult I'd read in that anonymous
      letter sent to my family when I was 18. This recent
      incident has not stopped the Native American students
      from attending the university, and it is being
      investigated as a hate crime. But it shows that some of
      our citizens clearly still have a long way to go in
      learning to accept the people who lived here before

      Our hope is that we all learn from this - and remember
      Governor Mickelson, who made that huge first step, and
      who died, aged 52, in a place crash in 1993. One day,
      we hope, the rest of the states of the union will join
      South Dakota in not honoring the memory of a murderer.
      (c) 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited Dana Lone Hill

      Dana Lone Hill is an enrolled member of the Oglala
      Lakota Sioux tribe from the Pine Ridge Reservation. She
      currently lives in the city of Sioux Falls, with two of
      her four children. She works in a full-time blue-collar
      job, part-time as an artist, all the time as a
      freelance writer.
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