This should be the last year we celebrate Columbus Day as a national holiday because the reality of Columbus’s arrival in the Caribbean in 1492 is nothing to be proud of.

The story of a brave and virtuous man discovering America is a highly offensive example of history being written by the victors.

Not only did Columbus not land in what we now call America, but he and his men were horrifically brutal toward the Caribbean people where his ships actually landed. Do you remember how these ships and their men were depicted? The nice little songs we sang in grade school?

In a mere two years time, white Europeans had wiped out half of Haiti’s 250,000 people. Two causes of death were suicide and the parental drowning of newborns so that they did not have to endure the European’s savagery, including torture, enslavement and rape. Those who had welcomed the white men with exceptional generosity were having their hands severed for failing to supply enough gold.

The conquering white Europeans attempted to justify their unspeakable brutality by portraying the native people of the Americas as savages and godless (because they were not Christian). When his dreams of mountains of gold didn’t pan out, Columbus wrote in his journal, “Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending (back to Europe) all the slaves that can be sold.”

A hundred and fifty years later, schoolchildren were fed the image of another group of white Europeans having happy Thanksgiving feasts with the native inhabitants of what is now the United States. Again, a nice little image, right smack in the middle of the ugly reality of the genocide of America’s native people.

If we accept lies as our history, we will always be in conflict with conscience.

Chris Wright


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