Corine Fairbanks in Native Condition. Discussion »
“Christopher Columbus' reputation has not survived the scrutiny of history, and today we know that he was no more the discoverer of America than Pocahontas was the discoverer of Great Britain.”
1927 Grand Council of American Indians
Since the first "American history" book was written, there has been, still is, a systematic and effective cover up locked in to place that perpetuate the fallacies and myths of Christopher Columbus and the assumed "divinity" of the fated voyage.
Corine Fairbanks Oglala Lakota
ome academics consider Columbus one of the first instigators of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and set in motion, one of the largest intentional efforts of ethnic cleansing known in history - and also the one of the least known. By some accounts, over 95 million Indigenous peoples throughout the Western hemisphere were enslaved, mutilated and massacred.
Go down to your local public school and peruse the American History section and tell me if there has been any formal accountability for this American Holocaust. Columbus, Cortez, Father Junipero Sierra, and hundreds of others are still celebrated as our countries brave nautical explorers and finest heroes, not as perpetrators of crimes against humanity.
Obviously, Columbus's atrocities are rarely discussed in the public school system. Recently, Roberta Weighill, Chumash, shared that her third grade son disagreed with his teacher about the Columbus discovery story and added that he knew Columbus to be responsible for the deaths of many Native people. The public teacher corrected him: "No. Columbus was just a slave trader." Hmmm, just a slave trader?: Oh! Is that all?
On October 12, 1492, Columbus wrote in his journal:
"They should be good servants I, our Lord being pleased, will take hence, at the time of my departure, six natives for your Highnesses." These captives were later paraded through the streets of Barcelona and Seville when Columbus returned to Spain."
Soon, there was evidence showing that this was fast becoming a profitable business, yet, did these "Savages" deserve to go into bondage and slavery? According to Columbus:
"they are artless and generous with what they have, to such a degree as no one would believe but him who had seen it. Of anything they have, if it be asked for, they never say no, but do rather invite the person to accept it, and show as much lovingness as though they would give their hearts."
In a short time, Columbus seized 1,200 Taino Natives from the island of Hispaniola, tearing families apart by abduction and killing the ones that resisted going. On board Columbus' slave ships, hundreds died; and as "Christian" as those sailors were, they callously tossed the Natives bodies into the Atlantic.
Being the nice guy that history would like us to believe, Columbus felt required at least to inform the natives of the terms by which they would be treated from now on in the "New World"
"I certify to you that, with the help of God, we shall powerfully enter into your country, and shall make war against you in all ways and manners that we can, and shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church and of their highnesses; we shall take you, and your wives, and your children, and shall make slaves of them, and as such shall sell and dispose of them as their highnesses may command; and we shall take away your goods, and shall do you all the mischief and damage that we can, as to vassals who do not obey, and refuse to receive their lord, and resist and contradict him; and we protest that the deaths and losses which shall accrue from this are your fault, and not that of their highnesses, or ours, nor of these cavaliers who come with us "
(ask yourself how many Taino people understood what Columbus was saying)
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Corine Fairbanks is Oglala Lakota and is the director for the American Indian Movement Southern California Chapter. Ms. Fairbanks is a proud mother of five children. She is active on the Board of Directors for the American Civil Liberties Union Affiliate Santa Barbara chapter and also on the Grant Making Committee for the Fund for Santa Barbara.
posted October 8, 2012 7:40 am edt