Lesson #2, Enrichment #1
22 September 2014
Just recently I saw a video of Native Americans holding up picket signs saying that Columbus was a mass murderer and that he had Indian blood on his hands. Native Americans have existed here in America well before Columbus landed on Plymouth Rock. I never knew the full history of Native Americans until now. Native Americans have many different privileges set aside for them, some are inaccurate and some are not. Things that I’ve heard include; if you can prove you are part Indian the American government will give you a check for the past wrong doings their culture endured, Indians are allowed to go to college for a free education, and Indians are the only ones who can open and run casinos or gambling venues. Most television shows that I watch always depict Native Americans as abiding by their own laws and government without interference from any American legal agency. Showing that if a local police department had any concern for looking for a person of interest on a Native American reservation, then they had to have the permission of that reservations police department because they are a separate entity. I’ve always wondered, what the story behind the reason for the separation was and why the laws were set aside for them. I knew that Columbus came and had taken land from them, but had no idea that it was the Colonists coming over from Europe in shiploads that were replacing many Indian homes and causing battles with them and enslaving them for labor while bringing over diseases that almost wiped out their population. I now feel that there should not be just a Christopher Columbus Day, but instead a day that recognizes Christopher Columbus’s long journey and the Native Americans great history and accomplishments before he arrived, including the battles they suffered after his arrival.
Christopher Columbus should absolutely be recognized for his dream of sailing across the ocean and for not giving up until he found wealthy sponsors, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabela six years later, to afford him his journey that connected Europe and the New World. If it were not for Columbus making this brave, pivotal excursion across the ocean, how long would the continents have remained divided? Who would have made this journey, and been strong enough to see it through to the end without giving up hope? Included in this should have always been from the start the fact that Columbus’s journey to find new land did eventually lead to the deaths of many Native American communities. Christopher Columbus Day could be looked at by many Native Americans as a horrible reminder of what happened to their ancestors many decades ago. Native Americans also have customs filled with ritual’s and may believe that their ancestors were robbed of fulfilling the ritual’s being interrupted by the colonists with their battles for food and land and slave labor. Also, by confusing them with “The white man’s disease” that they had brought with them that tore apart so many Indian homes.
There are many events in history that have made major impacts in the way that cultures have divided and come together. Some events have caused a major imbalance to one culture over the other and some events, if they had not happened the world may have taken a different path in history. But if there is no one to actually take the chances, then how do we as humans come close to the benefits. Nothing in life comes easy, all cultures have experienced some type of sacrifice of their ancestors to contribute to the growth of humans as a whole. No, what happened to the Indians is not justified by the fact that history was forever impacted through their demise of their original way of life, but could Americans in this day and age consider themselves living in Europe or somewhere else if that one voyage had not taken place? So in close I do believe that Christopher Columbus should have his day of recognition for making that brave journey. However I do strongly believe that the Indians should never be over looked as to how much involvement they had with the birthing of America.
HIST 1301: Shaping America link to web page that includes hyperlinks to ALL Captioned Videos and Transcripts: http://gln.dcccd.edu/asx/sa/SA_Captioning.htm
Roark, James L.. The American promise: a history of the United States. 5th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2012. Print.