Written Response: Bartoleme de Las Casas
My immediate response to Las Casas’ account was one of sorrow, dread, and horror. I cannot even express in words the emotions that ran through my mind and soul as I read this terrifying report exposing the truth of our country’s beginnings. My voice cracked as I read aloud Las Casas’ words, and I felt myself holding back tears as a roar against injustice raged within me. I wish I could believe Las Casas was a liar, but his brutal honesty wipes away every possible doubt.
The impressions I had about Columbus’ discovery of the New World are completely destroyed by this firsthand account of the horrible truth concerning the native people of America. In both middle and elementary school, I read about the discovery of Christopher Columbus and the evils of both the settlers and Native Americans. Never before, though, had I heard of the torturous, unprovoked attacks directed at the innocent. Never before had I felt such disgust toward people claiming to be Christians. Never before had I known how good and virtuous the natives, at least a large portion of them, were toward the settlers and in their lifestyles. We spend so much time in our schools learning about the horrors of World War II and about how Jews were discriminated against to the point of extermination towards extinction. Civil rights are also studied, and I am in no way displacing the crucial reminders of what African Americans went through in the United States’ past. However, although history textbooks typically mention settlers taking lands, killing off tribes, and taking advantage of the Indians ignorance in the ways of earthly possessions and worth, all I have ever learned concerning the unfair treatment adds up to nothing more than a single scratch on a gory corpse. Compared to this brief, breathtaking, bone-chilling account, I consider my days as blissfully ignorant over as the ugly facts melt away the sugar-coated excuses of angry, murderous tribes forcing...
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