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    falling on their pens..., 2005-10-10 14:17:23 | Main | you torture me, you torture me not..., 2005-10-10 22:38:48

    Amerindian Day:

    columbus day again? Already? That much maligned founder of the Atlantic trade slave "did no evil". Really!

    update: It's remotely possible, in light of some disagreement as to whether Columbus did no evil, that I made some reasonable comments. Probably not:

    The designation of national holidays is a political process, it is in its very nature a political game. When it was declared a federal public holiday in 1968 it was already proven - seven years previous - that the Vikings had been here long before Columbus, nevermind that the bering straight was established as the route for the earliest American explorers. Johnson could have named it "American explorer day" or some such.

    The gist of the matter is that if one cares to celebrate exploration and achievement there were any number of people that reached America before and after Columbus - whom did little that others hadn't done except he did it in the age of the printing press, so others heard about it - who also did not commit genocide upon first contact with, by his own description, friendly and utterly unthreatening people.

    Columbus is remembered as a "trader", there were others who came before and after that traded with indigenous Americans, rather than trading indigenous Americans, and those deserve rather more plaudits for those of us with European ancestry, which would include most of the present indigenous population. If we're interested in an American mythology that reconciles and unites the country over the past it would be better to have an actually national holiday celebrating those achievements, rather than one celebrating one particular genocidal gold digging slave trader who thought he'd landed in Asia.

    It's a piece of mythology that was convenient for America's image of itself, long since run its course, we could find better heros to celebrate. I have.


:: posted by buermann @ 2005-10-10 17:34:39 CST | link





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