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Submitted to the Rocky Mountain News 12.6.04
With the court cases pending in the Columbus Day trials, it is
important not to get bogged down in some of the court proceedings
around the parade and focus on the issue at hand. There is a
State and National holiday that celebrates the life of a person
who is responsible for the genocide of Indigenous people, who
was involved in the slave trade both in Africa and in the
Americas, and was removed from power and brought back to Europe in
chains for managing the affairs in the "new world"
poorly. It is well documented that the Columbus mythology
was largely a fabrication to give legitimacy to the theft of
Indian lands. The facts are that he never set foot in what
is now the United States of America, even until his death thought
that he was near Asia, and he set up the encomienda
system of governance that used the rule of law to steal Indigenous
land and enslave the people to mine gold. What does it
sa y about us that we annually celebrate lies about a
historical figure that was never physically in the country?
What does that say about us that we annually teach our
children lies about a historical figure to mask the reality of a
brutal past of stolen land and millions murdered. It
takes strength to face this reality and do something about it.
That is what the protesters did on October 9th. I hope the rest of
us can also do something about it.
Mark Freeland, Aurora
©2004 Transform Columbus Day Alliance