Columbus Statue Celebrates Genocide and Should Be Removed

Native American activist groups in Minnesota would like people to learn the real history of Christopher Columbus and quit putting him up on a pedestal at the State Capitol.“We all know in 1492 he sailed the ocean blue,” said American Indian Movement Chair Mike Forcia. “And in 1493 he stole all that he could see.”For more than 83 years a statue of Columbus has gazed from the Capitol toward Minnesota’s Justice Center. For Forcia, real justice would be removing the statue.“We need to deport Columbus,” said Forcia. “We can’t be celebrating genocide anymore.”Genocide isn’t a word most history books associate with Columbus, but he enslaved Native Americans. As governor of the large island he called Espanola (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Columbus’ programs reduced the native population from as many as eight million at the outset of his regime to about three million in 1496.Minnesota’s legislature is considering a bill that would change the engraving on the statue from “Discoverer of America” to “Christopher Columbus landed in America.” A co-sponsor of the House bill includes Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City), who taught high school government classes 35 years.That change misses the point, say Native Americans who marched through downtown St. Continue Reading

Who are heroes and to whom? An Indigenous perspective on Columbus

Last month, October 13, 2014, it was my pleasure to participate in a celebration at the Minneapolis American Indian Center. The occasion was the resolution passed by the Minneapolis City Council to have as a co-name, “Indigenous Peoples Day,” for what white U.S. society has celebrated as Columbus Day.This is a Community Voices submission and is moderated but not edited. The opinions expressed by Community Voices contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the TC Daily Planet.Why do I rejoice at this name change? Columbus may have been a hero to U.S. Euro-Americans, particularly to Italian-Americans, however, Columbus is not a hero to not only the Indigenous Peoples of the U.S., but also to the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. Columbus used dogs trained to disembowel Native peoples when they fled. Continue Reading

Five reasons to cancel Columbus Day

The Minneapolis City Council is scheduled to vote on Friday April 25 on a proposal to change that October holiday from Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day. Here are five reasons they should vote yes:1) Setting history straighter: Celebrating Columbus Day reduces history to a simple-minded story, and one that’s wrong on a lot of counts. He “discovered America?” Not exactly — there were already plenty of people living in the Americas. As Bill Means told MPR:”We had been edited out of existence in the public school system. Continue Reading