Some might say that due to my Italian heritage I’m obligated to defend our tradition of celebrating Columbus day, but honestly, I only feel obligated to defend common sense and there is much of it amiss on this ridiculous controversy.
I like to listen to opinions different from mine and from what I’ve gathered some groups see Columbus as some kind of white supremacist that systematically killed indigenous people and stole this beautiful land from them, thus not worthy of our admiration.
Well, one cannot listen to this argument without noticing the hypocrisy within!
We have known for years that the Native Americans are not really original of the land they call themselves native of, they got here through a mass migration that took place thousands of years ago from East Asia. And where did the people from East Asia come from? DNA studies have traced all of humanity back to Africa. So, let’s start with the fact that none of us, unless you can trace your entire heritage back to Africa, is original of anywhere.
Since the beginning of humanity its inhabitants have migrated and conquered a new land. The indigenous people of North America were seen as natives to the new explorers, but not were not native to this particular land.
An even bigger hypocrisy from the outrage over an explorer called Columbus comes from the argument of cruelty, which implies the indigenous people were peaceful and harmless to each other living in perfect harmony. Far from reality.
The Iroquois were the dominant force in northeastern America until the Europeans came to the New World. Five smaller nations made up the League of the Iroquois: they were the Onondaga, Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca tribes. The legendary Hiawatha joined these five tribes together into a single powerful confederation after fierce blood feuds threatened to destroy all five nations.
Naragansett, and Algonquin tribes were enemies to the Iroquois. These tribes had become oppressed by the Iroquois nations after they had formed their confederation; prior to the League these three tribes were actually the dominant tribes of Native Americans in the Northeast. Later, these tribes were also among the first to accept Catholicism, which added favor in the eyes of the new settlers, whose mission was to convert people wherever they went. When the Europeans accepted the friendship of these tribes, however, they accepted the enmity of the Iroquois as well.
The tribes fought for land which meant food. In those days, once the land you occupied ran out of animals to hunt you’d take someone else’s land.
Prisoners of war were tortured and killed slowly, some were scalped, some were burned alive, and some tribes practiced cannibalism.
Not looking so peaceful anymore, are they?
The reality is that among the Native Americans were those who were killing and enslaving with the sole purpose of acquiring more land. How was that any different from an explorer from another continent arriving to a new land and wanting to claim it? Allow me to answer… NONE.
Yes, sadly there were Natives who suffered and lost their land without provocation. Reason why the U.S. government has created laws to preserve the tribes still in existence and the rich culture of this land’s past. No one feels good about the wars that took place hundreds of years ago in order to create what we call home today, but it’s important to have a clear view of what the world was like back in those days.
And what if Columbus had not come to America, where would you and I be today?
Ironically, we would most likely be in a land that also didn’t originally belong to our ancestors.
Instead of fighting the past, why can’t we celebrate the future?
Embrace who you are, be thankful for today, don’t look back… you’re not going that way!
And as for me and my heritage, I’ll always be proud of it. Thanks to two “paesanos”, an explorer called Cristoforo Colombo and his financier Amerigo Vespucci, today I have the privilege to live in the land that gave us Alexander Graham Bell, Dr. Jonas Salk, Thomas Edison, George Eastman, Katherine Blodgett, Benjamin Franklin, the Wright brothers, Steve Jobs, and so many others who have not only improved the lives of Americans but the entire World.
So yes, I celebrate!
Happy Columbus Day !!!