The murderous legacy of Christopher Columbus
October 13, 2012
As a youth, I lived on an Indian reservation. Some of the people I encountered were so badly beaten down by America’s exceptional moral principles that they wouldn’t even speak of the past. That story, I now understand, is the American Holocaust.
On Columbus Day, Oct. 12, there was an ever greater need to face the American story and speak about the continuing apartheid first peoples are forced to endure.
Within days of Columbus’ 1492 return to Spain, European monarchs and the Catholic papacy conspired to subjugate the New World. The political mechanism they developed to convert their new “assets” is still called the Christian doctrine of discovery. For five centuries, thousands of pirates followed in the wake of Columbus, missionaries and mercenaries gripped by a rabid psychosis, and spread their symptoms of belligerence, plunder and rape across the land.
In 1823, the U.S. adopted into federal law the Christian Doctrine of Discovery. The Johnson v. McIntosh Supreme Court decision would ultimately come to provide Andrew Jackson the legal foundation he needed to ethnically cleanse the Southeastern U.S. Still today, our government only acknowledges land title secured through either Catholic papal bulls or Anglican patents. This judicial back-door approach to land theft extinguished most native rights and reduced the population to ward-of-the-state status. First peoples today are managed by the Department of Interior like wild game.
Routinely our government not only uses the 15th-century discovery doctrine internally but also projects the sectarian atrocity globally. Just like the pirates of old, today’s private mineral extraction multinationals quietly manipulate the doctrine and then use a smoke screen of American cultural exceptionalism as a mind-drug to mask their crimes.
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In 2009, in order to stem the tide of multinationals legally promulgating genocide, the U.N. adopted its Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, an outright challenge to the Christian doctrine of discovery. In 2012, the U.S. reluctantly became the last holdout nation to sign the nonbinding U.N. declaration.
Today, the most important reason to mark the occasion of Columbus Day is so we may shine a light on business interests that clamber down the murderous path that Columbus and his holy Roman horde blazed. It is my hope that timely attention to this issue will stem the tide and make America a more honest and just home for future generations.
J. Ross Douglass, son of “Thunder Pony”