Monday, October 10, 2016
Happy Columbus Day or happy Indigenous People's Day. This Italian-American holiday is being transformed. States and cities are voting to commemorate peoples living in the Americas before Columbus. The argument is that the lands were settled before Europeans arrived and Columbus launched the predatory behavior that decimated aboriginal populations, enslaved them and slaughtered their women and children. In a meeting between civilizations, there was no melding. It was conquering with the negatives that implies. Yet, one can argue that the countries that arose from the ashes of native tribes are greater than what the Incas, Aztecs and other indigenous nation states could have achieved on their own. The vast number of indians were engaged in subsistence living. They understood the land and largely lived in harmony with it. Europeans, on the other hand, brought the belief that man was to subjugate the earth, its living things and its minerals. Greed was at the core of their experience. So, whether you celebrate Columbus, native tribes or neither, recognize the points of view toward this controversial holiday. It is a complex communications mixture for which there is no middle ground.