The true legacy of Columbus
As a youth, I was afforded the privilege of living on an American Indian reservation. The people I encountered were humble, private beings who would never speak out. Today, Columbus Day, I no longer wish to be shackled by the same pressures they endure.
Every October, I hear so many champions of national exceptionalism spout ignorant tales about Christopher Columbus, the great navigator. It is painfully unfortunate that so few Americans ever study primary historical evidence. Without thinking, millions of intelligent Americans shape their world view around mythology served up by sycophantic historians and politicians. Perhaps my non-Indian friends need to reread Columbus’ revealing words from the 1492 ship’s log: “I could conquer these people with 50 men and rule them as I will.”
When Columbus returned in 1493, he commanded an armada of 17 ships, 1,500 men, cannons, war horses and 20 trained attack dogs which he used to disembowel the Stone Age natives. The blood bath which issued from the great navigator’s command would shock a nation of savages. After all, these evangelizing Christians had to manually hack to pieces or burn alive the naked mud people as they searched for treasure. Modern demographers estimate the population of Hispaniola alone to be 2-3 million, but by 1555 all the Arawak people of the island had been exterminated.
The genocidal crimes of the great Lord Admiral are too vast for this letter. Nevertheless, Columbus’ own account establishes that he not only started the trans-Atlantic slave trade, but also the trans-Atlantic sex slave industry as he conspicuously rewarded his men with native women to rape. He shipped more native slaves from the West Indies than any other single man.
Although politicians try, it is an unquestionable truth that no man gets to choose his past. We all must live with the entire legacy of our fathers. More than any other entrepreneur, Christopher Columbus established our cultural tradition of rationalizing the taking of land and resources from third-world people. Perhaps the most important reason we should continue marking the occasion of Columbus Day is because so many American citizens and businesses still clamor down the path he blazed.
J. Ross Douglass (son of “Thunder Pony”)
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