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Que Sera Sera, Columbus Day

October 10, 2014

Christopher Columbus was a bad man. No two ways about it. He was foundational in changing the world, but he was pretty much amoral.  The northwest has cancelled his day in favor of a Native American Day.

OK, forget for the moment that Columbus Day is more about honoring the discovery of America by the rest of the world than it is about the man himself (who most people know as the guy who sailed the ocean blue in 1492 and not much else. 1492! Judged today on modern standards, Chris was not very enlightened. And truthfully, by the standards of his day was pretty much a monster, but I digress).

Native American Day.

Can it get more condescending than that?

“Hello, all you conquered people, Hello! We’re going to celebrate you today!” We aren’t going to give back any of the land that was stolen from them (though, as I recall, Indian tribes didn’t consider land to be under ownership. Not until someone took it away, but there I go digressing again). They might eat corn and call it maize. Gosh, maybe they’ll dress in war paint and war bonnets! That would be enlightened (not).

Maybe they’ll have a parade down the streets of Seattle, the very same streets that were once the land of the Lumi and Algonquin and, you know, several other tribes who didn’t get along well until they had a common enemy in those pale people.

In Washington, every day is Native American Day, where the conquering people go to the casinos built by tax-dollars and lose their other money to the house.

Perhaps you think I don’t like Native Americans. That’s not it at all. I do think what we did to the First Americans (they’re no more native than I am) was awful. It was a different, conquering age that we could take solace in, but our northern neighbors in Canada did their snow-bound natives right, so there goes that excuse.

I also am horrified by what we did to the conquered nation, demoralizing them and dehumanizing them on “reservations.” Like any other conquered people, they should have been allowed to integrate or die out. That sounds cruel, but America was all about multi-culturalism. Or, we could have given them a state—California, perhaps, and sovereignty to live as they’d like. It sort of worked for Israel. Don’t force them to go there, just say, “Hey, this place is yours. Live off the land, build industry, or whatever. You’re getting land, some supplies to make the tents we burned. And that’s it. You’re welcome to integrate with us, move to your new nation or not. It sucks, we suck, but there it is.”

Having days in their honor is like having a day for a starving kid without feeding the kid.

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