Spokane’s City Council will vote Monday night, August 29, whether to begin to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day. Will you come show your support? You can invite your friends here.
Or, will you email [email protected] to encourage undecided Council Members to support the resolution declaring the second Monday in October “an opportunity to celebrate the thriving cultures and values of the American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Indigenous Peoples of our region”?
I went to my copy of Howard Zinn’s Voices of a People’s History to find Columbus’ journals and the eyewitness account of Bartolome de Las Casas. Zinn begins the chapter:
“There is no more glaring distortion in the history learned by generation sof Americans – in textbooks, in schools, in the popular culture – than in the story of Christopher Columbus. … But what is missing from that story is that, when he landed in Bahamas Islands, Columbus and his men, greeted by peaceful and generous natives, set out on a ruthless quest for gold that led to enslavement, misery, and death for that population. … He kidnapped and enslaved hundreds of [Arawaks], compelling them to work in the mines, under terrible conditions, in the quest for gold. … It was the start of the European conquest of the Western Hemisphere”
“…with 50 men all of them could be held in subjection and can be made to do whatever one might wish.” – Sunday, 14 October 1492, The Diario of Christopher Columbus
And Columbus’ contemporary, Bartolome de Las Casas writes:
On one occasion when we went to claim ten leagues of a big settlement, along with the food and maintenance, we were welcomed with a bounteous quantity of fish and bread and cooked victuals. The Indians generously gave us all they could. Then suddenly, without cause and without warning, and in my presence, the devil inhabited the Christians and spurred them to attack the Indians, men, women, and children, who were sitting there before us. In the massacre that followed, the Spaniards put to the sword more than three thousand souls. I saw such terrible cruelties done there as I had never seen before not thought to see. …
Afterward, when all the Indians of this island were subjected to servitude and the same ruin had befallen there as on the island Hispaniola, the survivors began to fee to the mountains or in despair to hang themselves, and there were husbands and wives who hanged themselves together with their children, because the cruelties perpetrated by one very great Spaniard (whom I knew) were so horrifying. More than two hundred Indians hanged themselves. …
In three or four months, when I was there, more than seventy thousand children, whose fathers and mothers had been sent to the mins, died of hunger.
The celebration of Columbus Day perpetuates this glaring distortion of our history. We all deserve to acknowledge the hard truth of our history.
Please encourage Council Members to support the resolution!