Council takes hypocritical stand on Columbus Day | AspenTimes.com

Council takes hypocritical stand on Columbus Day

Council takes hypocritical stand on Columbus Day

Aspen City Council members should reflect on meaningless actions such as creating new designations for holidays, as opposed to really doing anything substantive.

First of all, it is preposterous to suggest that Columbus was responsible for an era of genocide, as the Ute representatives suggested. He was one man, on a single mission that discovered the new world.

If genocide followed, it was undertaken by many others as an aspect of the expansion of European interests to a new continent.

To make the point at the local level, perhaps William Gant should be held solely responsible for driving the Utes from this area, since he was the first European in the valley.

Secondly, we all fall victim to the "myth of the noble savage." The natives inhabiting the continent when the Europeans arrived were doing quite well, thank you, in killing each other. They did not live in some peaceful, blissful natural paradise. There were bloody contests for fishing rights and hunting grounds.

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The Europeans certainly undertook their abundant share of killing and conquest, but let's be candid about the societies they encountered. War was well known among the native peoples long before Europeans arrived.

But, to the point: If council really wants to make amends, how about changing the name of the community back to Ute City? Or designating public funds to programs that benefit the displaced tribe? Or perhaps building housing for those who might wish to return?

Of course, it is certainly easier to just change the name of a holiday and feel good, but it is also hypocritical.

James DeFrancia

Aspen

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