At least thirteen states do not celebrate Columbus Day (Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, DC; Wisconsin and South Dakota) but celebrate  “Native American Day” instead.  

Why? Following are some reasons  to think about:

A young, Catholic priest named Bartolomé de las Casas transcribed Columbus’s journals and later wrote about the violence he had witnessed. He expanded upon the extent of Columbus’s reign of terror within his multi-volume book entitled the “History of the Indies.”

“There were thousands of people who had perished from war, slavery, and the mines. Who in future generations will believe this? I myself am writing it as a knowledgeable eyewitness can hardly believe it.” 

According to another report, found in 2006 in the national archives in the Spanish city of Simancas,  “Columbus once punished a man found guilty of stealing corn by having his ears and nose cut off and then selling him into slavery.”

Testimony recorded in the report stated that Columbus congratulated his brother Bartolomeo on “defending the family” when the latter ordered a woman paraded naked through the streets and then had her tongue cut out for suggesting that Columbus was of lowly birth. The document also describes how Columbus put down native unrest and revolt: He first ordered a brutal crackdown in which many natives were killed, and then paraded their dismembered bodies through the streets in an attempt to discourage further rebellion.

Throughout his years in the Americas, Columbus forced natives to work for the sake of profits. Later, he sent thousands of Taino “Indians” to Spain to be sold, and many of them died during the journey. The natives who weren’t sold into slavery were forced to look for gold in mines and work on plantations.

Stop and think about history. We are repeating it today in demonstrations and the deaths caused by the “virus.”  Statues and names of various people in history are being destroyed.  How can we  — or our children, grandchildren, etc. — learn about our “mistakes” if there is nothing to remind us of them? Are you thinking?

Saad Assad

Ashtabula

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