[News] Coupla Columbus Things

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Oct 14 11:45:59 EDT 2013


      "Columbus Day"

/By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz 
<http://www.beaconbroadside.com/broadside/2013/10/%20http://www.beaconbroadside.com/broadside/2013/10/columbus-day.html#author>/
http://www.beaconbroadside.com/broadside/2013/10/columbus-day.html

For the Indigenous Nations of the Western Hemisphere "Columbus Day" is a 
day of mourning. The year 1492 is an abomination. But, October 12 
arrives every year to torture the open sore of genocide, not as a 
reflective day of mourning and solidarity with Indigenous Peoples, as it 
should be.  It is celebrated with gusto throughout the Americas, but no 
place as enthusiastically as the United States, where it is one of the 
ten official federal holidays when all federal offices and banks are 
closed. Columbus Day parades and fireworks are the main fare in towns 
and cities throughout the country.  Counterintuitively, in the liberal 
city of San Francisco where I live it is the occasion of the gathering 
of U.S. warships and two days of low aerial strafing by war planes (the 
Blue Angels), a whole week of mass participation in martial events and 
patriotic gore called Fleet Week. The only good thing about the 
Sequester is that Fleet Week has been canceled this year.

It's tempting to personalize the initial crimes committed by the 
mercenary Christopher Columbus 
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Columbus#Accusations_of_tyranny_and_genocide_during_governorship>, 
no banality of evil there and easy to vilify. However, Columbus was 
commissioned by the Spanish monarchy and his voyage was only the 
symbolic beginning of the nightmare of modern colonialism that 
impoverished, enslaved, and simply eradicated hundreds of millions of 
people and hundreds of ancient nations, the results of which we still 
live with. It is settler colonialism, not Columbus per se, that is 
celebrated. The United States was born of colonialism's most genocidal 
and exploitative twins: settler-colonialism and the Atlantic slave trade.

The nearly two centuries formation of the thirteen British North 
American colonies did not disappear with the bloody war of independence 
that created the United Sates. On the contrary, the continuation and 
expansion of settler colonialism/genocide and plantation slavery were 
the primary motives for separation. The first seventy years of the new 
"empire of liberty," as Thomas Jefferson called the U.S. 
<http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/empire-liberty-quotation>, was 
devoted to genocidal wars against the Native agricultural nations east 
of the Mississippi, seizure of their lands, and forced mass removal of 
the citizens of those nations to Indian Territory (future Oklahoma). The 
appropriated land in the South was used for expansion of the 
slave-worked planation economy, while land in the Ohio Valley and Great 
Lakes area was used as the bait to entice European settlers---one-way 
transport, tools, and "free" land. The Columbus myth of the right to 
discovery transmuted into "manifest destiny," and territories west of 
the Mississippi were taken through war and genocide during the second 
half of the 1800s. This then is the genealogy of all of us who live in 
the U.S. and of its institutions and its relations with the rest of 
humanity (the other 94 percent of the world's population).

But, that is not the whole story, because Native nations, through their 
resistance to U.S. colonization, survived, have land bases and 
governments and languages and demand the return of all lands not 
transferred through legitimate treaties.

I have completed a book on this genealogy, /An Indigenous Peoples' 
History of the United States,/ which will be published by Beacon Press 
next year.  In it, I trace the U.S. origin story to the Columbus myth. 
Origin narratives form the vital core of a people's unifying identity 
and of the values that guide them. In the U.S., the specific narrative 
of the founding and development of the Anglo-American settler-state was 
envisaged by the Puritan settlers as a covenant with God to take the 
land; that part of the origin story takes on legal color based on the 
Columbus myth and the "Doctrine of Discovery 
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_doctrine>." According to the 
fifteenth century doctrine pronounced by the Pope, European nations 
acquired title to the lands they "discovered," and the Indigenous 
inhabitants lost their natural right to that land now that the Europeans 
had arrived and claimed it.

The celebrations of Columbus suggest that from U.S. independence onward, 
colonial settlers saw and still see themselves as part of a world system 
of colonization. "Columbia" is based on the name Columbus (Colombo in 
his native Italian), rendering its Latin form, Columbia, as the "Land of 
Columbus." It was a poetic name used referring to the United States from 
its founding throughout the nineteenth century and was represented by a 
female persona that can be found in sculptures, paintings, and place 
names, such as the national capitol, the District of Columbia, Columbia 
University, and the names of dozens of towns with many more by the name 
of Columbus. The 1798 hymn, "Hail, Columbia," was the early national 
anthem of the U.S., now used for the entry of the Vice-President of the 
United States.

And, of course, the nearest Monday to October 12 is an official federal 
holiday celebrating Columbus, thereby attempting to validate the 
discredited Doctrine of Discovery. The devoted celebration of Columbus 
in the United States gives food for thought since Columbus never came 
near touching any piece of land or water that has ever or is currently 
occupied by the United States. Arcane as it may seem, the medieval 
"Doctrine of Discovery" remains the basis for federal laws still in 
effect that control Indigenous Peoples lives and destinies, even their 
histories, maintaining a colonial hold. Most importantly, it controls 
the world view and behavior of the U.S. government and its citizens.

How about a movement to abolish Columbus Day 
<http://www.beaconbroadside.com/broadside/2007/10/indigenous-peop.html> 
and bury the Doctrine of Discovery?
****************************************


  The myth of Columbus

By /Stephanie Adohi 
<http://www.workers.org/articles/author/stephanie-adohi/>/ on November 
21, 2012
http://www.workers.org/articles/2012/11/21/the-myth-of-columbus/

/Based on a talk entitled "//On the 520th anniversary of the landing of 
Columbus: What his legacy means for Indigenous Peoples today//*" 
*//given to a Workers World forum in New York City on Oct. 12.  The 
speaker is a long-time member of WW and is of Cherokee, Huron, and 
Muskogee descent./

Sisters and brothers, comrades and friends,

Why is there a "holiday" for Columbus? On Oct. 12, 1995, WBAI-FM in New 
York interviewed progressive Italian-American historian, Jennifer 
Guglielmo, who stated that Columbus Day was promoted by backers of 
Italy's fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini. Italian-American 
working-class socialists and anarchists fought those fascists in the 
streets before and during World War II. Nonetheless, Columbus Day became 
a federal holiday in 1937.

In 1492, Spain was able to complete the Reconquista. The royal couple, 
Isabella and Ferdinand, had made war to expel "the Moors," northwestern 
African Muslims who had ruled much of the Iberian peninsula for almost 
eight centuries. The newly united Spanish crown wanted new riches, trade 
and colonies. The conquistadors sailed on their orders, bankrolled by 
the king and queen.

Christopher Columbus was apparently no Italian. His name was actually 
Cristóbol Colón. He was a Spanish pirate. The Spanish Queen Isabella 
would have executed him had she known. There is no evidence he was ever 
in Genoa, the city he claimed as his city of birth. He read and he wrote 
a lot. Of his many papers none were written in the dialect spoken in Genoa.

He landed in the Caribbean. He assessed the ready welcome of his 
friendly hosts. He decided to attack, kill and take power. There are 
stories of him cutting the arms off of Taíno men to feed to his war 
dogs. He wrote to the queen immediately to convince her of the idea of 
making them slaves. He invented the slave trade there:

"They would make good servants. ... They are fit to be ordered about and 
made to work ... [and] with fifty men we could subjugate them all and 
make them do whatever we want."

Most of the slaves Columbus sent to Spain died quickly, and after a few 
years, Ferdinand and Isabella sent an investigator, Bobadilla, who 
arrived in Santo Domingo to find men jailed, lined up for hanging as 
rebels. He ordered Columbus arrested. Columbus' personal cook Espinoza 
put the chains on him.

Once the first reports came from Pizarro in Peru and from Cortés in 
Mexico about the gold and silver that could be plundered, and the 
slavery, a steady stream of conquistadors moved out from Spain, all 
bankrolled by the monarchs.

The conquistadors included Cristóbol Colón, Hernán Cortés, Francisco 
Pizarro, Juan de Oñate, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, Hernando de Soto 
and others. From their contemporary descriptions we can characterize 
them as a lumpen sort of completely out-of-control mercenary force. They 
were motivated by arrogance, religious superiority and greed.

They used the Requerimiento, a three-paragraph announcement from the 
Spanish monarch and the Church in Rome. It demanded people submit to 
these conquistadors as representatives of the Spanish crown, or else 
knives and guns would be used. The Requerimiento was an excuse for 
murder, rape, torture and robbery on a level never before seen: 
enslavement of whole Indigenous nations, many or most worked to death in 
gold and silver mines, all in the name of the Spanish monarchs and the 
Catholic Church.

*True legacy of the conquistadores*

It's not possible to touch on all of the crimes of all the conquistadors 
tonight. But it is important to know which ones are most hated still, 
which ones did the most damage.

Isabella wanted riches and she got wealth beyond all imagining. So did 
everyone with Francisco Pizarro, butcher of the Incas. Writers describe 
the Incas in different ways, sometimes as an empire and other times as a 
socialist or communist society. It is known that Incan civilization grew 
from ancient farming communities that held the land in common. Incans 
were observed distributing stored supplies from public warehouses to the 
sick, elderly, poor, widows, disabled and anyone in need, according to 
Ronald Wright in "Stolen Continents." The ruins at Huánuco include 500 
such warehouses, measuring over one million cubic feet.

The Incas were highly skilled working with gold, silver and platinum. 
They used much bronze. There was no source of iron available. They were 
the world's finest weavers. They domesticated llamas and alpacas as pack 
animals, and for wool and meat. They were astute recordkeepers. They 
made their records using intricate woven fringes of knotted string, 
called quipus, and they kept their archives in storehouses.

They had advanced base-ten mathematics with zeros and place notation. 
They had 14,000 miles of paved roads through the Andes Mountains (often 
stepped for the pack animals). Cusco had a population of 50,000-100,000 
and there were many smaller cities and towns.

Pizarro, described by those who knew him as ruthless and devious, 
tricked the Incas, who had underestimated him based on reports the 
invaders were lazy robbers. Pizarro and his men attacked and killed 
10,000 in an hour and a half. The Incas at court were unarmed for they 
lacked fear of these men, but they still fought to the last, even as 
Pizarro's fighters cut off their hands. Pizarro took Atahualpa, the 
Incan leader, hostage.

Atahualpa offered the Spanish a room full of gold and two of silver as 
ransom. Llamas carried gold back from stripped temples and palaces for 
months. The outside walls of Cusco's main temple alone held one and a 
half tons of gold plates.

The entire ransom came to seven tons of gold and 13 of silver, all of it 
in the form of artwork and jewelry. The total value has been estimated 
at $280 million, based on $1,749 an ounce.

No king in Europe had ever seen or even heard of anything like this. The 
conquistadors melted it all down. It took a month at a quarter ton a day.

Pizarro killed Atahualpa anyway. And the Spaniards went on a rampage of 
plunder for more. In some buildings they found 20-foot planks of silver. 
They took jewels off mummies. They killed so many people and llamas that 
the irrigation canals and other public works fell to decay and the 
llamas were almost exterminated.

Spain and Portugal signed a treaty in 1494 to divide up Africa and the 
Western Hemisphere. This document gave Portugal part of Brazil and 
everything to its east.

Some $129 million in gold was shipped to Spain every year. This valuable 
trans-Atlantic traffic became a target for English, Dutch and French 
pirates. The British pirate Francis Drake captured $172 million in 
Spanish gold.

Spain used the gold for a series of wars against France and the Turks, 
and then in the war against Protestantism. By the time the Spanish 
Armada, a fleet of warships, was sunk by the British in 1588, the 
Spanish monarchs had spent the entire fortune, though their programs of 
colonization and missionaries continued long afterward.

The huge amounts of gold that were stolen did not just fund wars and 
more conquest expeditions, they changed Europe. The European 
bourgeoisie, still subordinate to the nobility, had its role in 
outfitting all of the wars. Huge quantitative change led to qualitative 
change in the power of the enterprising bourgeoisie and directly led to 
the rise of capitalism. And colonialism exploded in size and scope in 
utterly immense robberies of previously unknown rapaciousness.

*Conquistadors in the American Southwest*

Coronado, known for wandering all over the North American Southwest in 
search of the seven cities of gold and Quivira, attacked, occupied and 
burned several pueblos. Less than a third of the original pueblos still 
exist today. They extended all the way into the Texas Panhandle. If you 
ever are in Albuquerque and drive through Bernalillo, there are two 
ruins just west of town which are among those that Coronado personally 
burnt down.

Oñate, known for working thousands of people to their death in the gold 
and silver mines of Zacatecas, left Mexico to take over New Mexico. He 
is hated in New Mexico to this day. He attacked Acoma Pueblo in 1599 
when it rose against the settlers.

Oñate's men killed 800 children, women and men. Oñate ordered every man 
over 25 to have a foot cut off and sentenced each to 25 years slavery. 
Every female and male between 12 and 25 years of age got 25 years of 
slavery. And 60 young girls were sent to priests in Mexico, never to return.

There were rebellions against Spain and the conquistadors. The biggest 
rebellion in the Andes/Peru was led by Túpac Amaru II. There are records 
of the Incas melting gold and pouring it down captured conquistadors' 
throats.

The second biggest rebellion was in New Mexico in 1680. Some say it was 
the Spanish fear of snakes and dolls that led them to burn 
1,000-year-old kachina dolls of the pueblos. Others say it was the 
beating of Popay, who did lead the pueblos in revolt. The Indigenous 
people burnt out the Spanish and kicked them out for 12 years.

Pedro de Alvarado worked thousands to death in Guatemala in the mines, 
and hanged any local leaders who tried to protect the people. He 
enslaved so many, the price of an Indian slave fell to 1/20th the price 
in Mexico.

Hernando de Soto was Pizarro's lieutenant. He had grown up killing 
Indians in Panama in his teens, and killing Indians in Nicaragua in his 
20s. His part of Atahualpa's ransom made him a millionaire in gold. He 
wanted Florida and got the grand bankroll to do so in Spain. He paid for 
600 soldiers, 200 horses, numbers of African and Mexican slaves, war 
dogs, and several hundred swine (these were war pigs, they actually 
flushed ambushes and rooted out fields).

De Soto's expedition left Florida north to the Smokies or Blue Ridge 
Mountains, then across the Mississippi to Arkansas. From town to town to 
city they went, following the roads and paths, stealing food, burning 
storehouses, fields and towns, kidnapping local Indigenous people for 
enslavement and burning them alive if they made trouble. De Soto cut 
their hands off if they didn't lead him to gold. He abducted the woman 
ruler of the city of Talomeco in the state of Cofitachiqui (no one today 
knows if it was Creek or Tsalagi) and killed her for her pearl necklace.

The de Soto party recorded events. They saw cities and towns newly 
abandoned because smallpox was already spreading from Spanish 
incursions. They were the first and last outsiders to ever see the 
living Mississippian culture, today called the moundbuilders. Smallpox 
and the other seven disease vectors living in the guts of de Soto's 
unleashed war pigs gone feral, spread disease everywhere through the 
entire Mississippi Basin and tributary rivers system.

De Soto attacked the original city of Mabile and abducted the leader, a 
woman. A huge battle was fought and Mabile burnt down. The city of 
Mobile, Ala., is named after it.

The Mississippian culture fell directly as a result of de Soto's pigs 
and diseases. The mounds that remain were actually great earthen 
pyramids, showing the influence of the Mayans and others. The 
Mississippian culture depended on corn. They had miles and miles of corn 
crops.

Maize corn was the first-ever selectively bred food grain in the world. 
Its scientific history is still being debated, as it is so very 
different from teosinte, its ancestor. Somehow, Indigenous gardeners had 
changed it from a thumb-sized nearly inedible seed pod to the many 
varieties of maize corn being grown in many parts of this hemisphere in 
1492. Maize corn was being raised up and down the East Coast, all over 
the Mississippi River valley, the Southwest and more.

Some 10,000 years ago, in the Chilca Canyon of Peru, the potato was 
domesticated and cropped. The word used in Spanish,/ /"papas," is the 
Incan word. By 1491, thousands of varieties were in existence, with 
varieties developed for every altitude going down from the high peaks to 
the valleys. So we have agriculture developing in the Western Hemisphere 
in the same time frame as Mesopotamia.

The Incans preserved great masses of their papas crops by mashing and 
freeze drying, which gave them a food store good for ten years in case 
of a drought. They did all that with wooden tools too.

The stories that Native people saw and smelled these unwashed armed men 
and thought they were gods is disproven over and over by contradictory 
accounts. Incas thoroughly investigated the strange men, but made the 
mistake of underestimating them in their disgust for their personal 
behavior and filth.

In 1502, Colón accidentally encountered a large seagoing canoe the 
length of a galley off of Honduras. It was a Mayan crew, and they 
ordered the Spaniards to get out of the way. It took the conquistadors 
till 1511 to figure out that the Mayans were 120 miles west. At the 
first big battle in 1517, Fernando Hernández was crushed by the Mayans 
at Champotón. By 1519, they began to enslave Africans and bring them to 
Cuba, where subsequent Spanish excursions into this hemisphere now used 
some African slaves.

There is a link in all of this with the fight against the racist use of 
"savage" in anti-Muslim posters on Metropolitan Transit Authority public 
transport in New York City. This and the word "primitive" have been used 
endlessly without question for 520 years against the Indigenous people 
of the world.

*The words 'savage' and 'primitive'*

Colonialism is savage. Capitalism is savage. Imperialism is savage. And 
there are other words to use in place of "primitive" in economic and 
political discussion --- "pre-class society," "early accumulation of 
capital," "original communism" --- when discussing humanity.

Imagine the continual effect on the consciousness of the use of these 
two words over the last 200 years. People see it in literature and 
accept it. People of color see it and resent it. Our youth are affected 
negatively and so are our social relations with people outside our 
communities.

The truth is that the term "hunter-gatherer" is generally wrong in the 
same regard. It might be accurate for that period when people around the 
world were surviving the Ice Ages, but not since then. It's another way 
of saying "primitive." All of humanity is adaptable and creative in 
learning to use the resources available in a given environment. These 
societies were gardening.

At some time after the last Ice Age in Asia, and later in Europe, 
domestication of livestock animals developed. Great varieties of plant 
foods were being developed in the Western Hemisphere.

In 1491, what was actually going on across Great Turtle Island (North 
America), and in the Land of the Condor (South America), was a whole 
hell of a lot of gardening, growing of crops, even in the forests. Over 
one half of all the food crops in the world by numbers of species and by 
volume and weight are Indigenous to this hemisphere, and were all 
domesticated by Indigenous people, from popcorn to pumpkins.

Tomatoes, squashes, beans, maize corn, berries, various nuts, potatoes, 
chocolate, pumpkins, pineapples, cassava, various palm oils, avocados, 
papaya, quinoa, amaranth, acai --- too many others to name them all here 
--- and all the chiles taken around the world by the Spaniards and 
mistakenly named "peppers" by Columbus himself.

What is primitive about the cultivation of so many diverse food crops?

What is primitive about the Mayan and Incan development of the concept 
of zero? Or of the science of astronomy developed by all the ancient 
peoples of the world?

Between 3200 and 2500 BCE, large-scale public buildings were erected in 
at least seven places on the Peruvian coast. The only other urban center 
then was Sumer on the Tigris-Euphrates.

And then there is the fact that across this continent, people from small 
villages to cities lived communally. There were 500 nations in what is 
now the United States alone and most of them still had a matrilineal 
structure. There is nothing primitive about a society which is so equal 
and free yet completely functional on the basis of no classes at all. 
Native American women today often use the term matrilineal because it 
does not imply any hierarchy.

There are so many highly different and complex traditions of music, 
storytelling, dance and theater and art forms to be found in our history 
as well, and some still surviving.

In Amazonia's forests, where people today can walk and pick fruit to 
eat, scientists tell us these are old orchards. There were 138 crops 
grown in Amazonia, half of them trees, lots of palm oils, pineapples, 
papayas, cassava or manioc, calabash, acai and more.

There are also huge tracts of artificially built-up soil. The Amazon 
basin has acidic red soil, bad for growing. By an unknown process, 
people who lived there created two types of very dark nutritious --- 
terra preta --- soil  for their crops; they used charcoal, pottery and 
probably animal and fish remains, which provided all the needed 
nutrients for plants (phosphorus, calcium, sulfur, charcoal and organic 
matter).

"The Amazon was being terraformed before 1492," wrote Charles Mann in 
his book, "1491. " Conservative estimates put the extent at a few 
thousand square miles at 0.1 to 0.3 percent of the Basin, which is about 
equal to the size of the cropped area the Mayans had. Others estimate up 
to 10 percent, which would be the size of France.

In original communism or communalism, the family is healthy and vibrant. 
It is called the extended family. This form provides all the support 
needed for the individual, for the children. Everyone knows they belong. 
Unrelated people are adopted in. There is no isolation of the self, no 
alienation from society, as seen today to the detriment of many youth. 
By contrast, the nuclear family is just a little piece of that extended 
family, cut off and lacking support.

The clash of cultures began with the invasion of the Spanish 
conquistadors. It continued with the later European invasions --- the 
English and the French, the Russians on the West Coast.

Yet the cultural clash had many positive effects on the settlers, some 
of which enabled them to survive here. These include:

. The adoption of nearly all of our Indigenous food crops.

. The gender equality of the women was not understood or accepted by the 
Europeans, who had been living under feudalism for hundreds of years. 
The National Women's History Project states that many early women's 
rights leaders were inspired by what they call the Seneca's "matriarchal 
society."

. Ben Franklin noted the impact of the Iroquois Law of Peace on the U.S. 
Constitution.

. Bathing was a daily practice. The British and French are often noted 
as amazed as many of them had never had a bath.

. Many ideas in fashion too numerous to even go into.

*The role of smallpox and communicable disease *

Up until 1492, there was very little contact between the hemispheres. No 
one here had any immunity to all the European and Asian diseases. These 
are diseases that jumped species from domesticated animals or rats. Half 
the Aztecs, the Incas and the Mayas died before the fighting when these 
societies were overthrown. It was more severe than the Black Death was 
in Europe and it killed leaders, advisers, generals and elders.

Cortés lost the first assault on Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital. Then 
smallpox spread for 60 days, leaving everyone too sick to even move. 
When it began to diminish, Cortés had returned.

Disease traveled out from everywhere the Spanish and later invading 
forces landed, and traveled to every corner of the hemisphere. It is now 
estimated that in 1491 some 112 million people lived in this hemisphere. 
The Mexican plateau alone held 25.2 million people, based on colonial 
records.

The diseases of smallpox, flu, measles and others killed 80 to 100 
million people in 100 years. It works out to 20 percent of the world's 
population at that time, which by United Nations figures was 500 million 
in 1600. The work done by progressive scientists in the 1950s and 1960s 
to achieve this realistic figure is still under attack by racists in 
their fields.

In 1542, Bartolomé de las Casas [friar and Spanish historian] described 
"a beehive of people" and "the greater part of the entire human race in 
these countries." By 1562, he estimated there had been 40 million deaths 
due to disease. By 1600, some 20 waves of pestilence had swept the two 
continents. Less than one in ten survived. About 90 million died. That 
would be about the equivalent of a billion deaths today.

By the time the English and the French arrived in this hemisphere, the 
waves of smallpox epidemics had left numerous villages of the dead, 
which the settlers found here on the Atlantic seacoast and across the 
lands. Sometimes they moved into the empty villages, as the Pilgrims did.

Decimated Indigenous nations at that point faced waves of settlers 
anxious and mean with greed to steal the land and create wealth. The 
perspective of the settlers and their view of the land, the environment 
itself, was totally alien to the Indigenous peoples. The settlers saw it 
as something to be used and abused to make money, as opposed to being 
stewarded, cared for, to encourage the wealth of variety of resources 
available previously.

The Indigenous nations fought back, but fighting came long after the 
waves of death had shifted the balance of forces to the invaders.

In 1776, most of the fighting was not against the British. Over 100 
Cherokee villages were razed to the ground and all the crops destroyed, 
so that the settlers could steal huge tracts of territory in Virginia 
and the South. The whole Cherokee nation was refuged and went into the 
mountains with only the shirts on their backs in the winter.

Do you know that Tecumseh and a white general are currently honored with 
stamps in Canada in tribute to Tecumseh's saving Canada from a U.S. 
takeover?

As all of us know, Marx and Engels were very excited to read the work of 
Lewis Henry Morgan, who was the first to write of the matrilineal 
societies and the extended families, based on the Haudenosaunee. But 
most do not know how he met Tonawanda Seneca Ely Parker when they both 
worked as bookshop clerks. Morgan learned everything he knew from 
Parker, who later was General Ulysses Grant's right-hand man, the 
military secretary who took the surrender at Appomattox in the U. S. 
Civil War.

In the 19th century, the U. S. declared it was "manifest destiny" to 
take the West. The Trail of Tears, the California Gold Rush, the Plains 
Wars --- all these wars and atrocities lead up to the U. S. becoming 
imperialist when it finally took on Spain in 1898, seizing Puerto Rico, 
Cuba and the Philippines.

In 1891, Congress passed the Dawes Act to break up the communally owned 
lands of the reservations, and mandated individual ownership, in plots 
small enough to leave a lot of land open for the Sooners [settlers who 
seized "unassigned lands" in the Midwest], plots too small to be viable 
for communal use. Ironically, only the pueblos were protected, given 
legal status by the Spanish land grants. The 1898 Curtis Act dissolved 
tribal governments and courts.

There are many undocumented Indigenous people, including full bloods in 
Oklahoma, who are unable to be members of their nations now as their 
ancestors had refused to get on the rolls. Later, their families did not 
get the allotments of land.

*The resistance continues*

During World War I, when Eugene Debs was in jail under the Palmer Raids, 
the biggest rebellion against the fratricidal imperialist war this side 
of the Atlantic was in Oklahoma. It was called the Green Corn Rebellion. 
In 1917, Indigenous, Black and white farmers and workers fought and were 
suppressed by the National Guard.

Today, capitalist society portrays all Indigenous people as either 
completely exterminated --- and their supposed attire free to be used as 
Halloween costumes --- or only noted if a person fits the popular 
stereotype from Hollywood.

There are so many local struggles we never hear about. There are 500 
nations, each with its own history.

This is still Indian land. The struggle continues. This is the 
significance of Day of Mourning. If you have never gone to Day of 
Mourning, get on the bus and come this year!

You will hear from Leonard Peltier, who sends his support from prison in 
Florida. You will hear about struggles across Great Turtle Island and 
how Indigenous people view the current U. S. wars.

We salute Osceola, leader of the Seminole nation, the Creek nation that 
adopted runaway slaves in Florida and who never surrendered. We look to 
the Green Corn Rebellion for our inspiration in the struggle. We salute 
the United American Indians of New England, whose slogan is: "We are not 
vanishing, we are not conquered, we are as strong as ever. "

*Day of Mourning*

We are building for the 2012 Day of Mourning starting tonight, and this 
meeting will also be a fundraiser for the New York bus. I was able to 
get some books donated to raise money for the bus, from East Bay, 
California, poet John Curl, specifically, "Columbus in the Bay of Pigs," 
about the nightmare for the Taíno people following the landing of the 
first conquistadors in what is now Cuba, based on the records kept of 
those expeditions.

This pamphlet was published in 1992 in the San Francisco Bay Area in 
support of the struggle against the Columbus holiday. Please get a copy 
and make a donation toward the bus for Day of Mourning.

My professor, Betty Parent, one of the first professors of Ethnic 
Studies in the U.S., and one of the founding faculty for San Francisco 
State American Indian Studies, traveled with other Alaskan Athabascan 
language speakers to Soviet Siberia. They found their "distant cousins" 
there, other Athabascan language speakers. All had materials, books, and 
college in their own language. We never had that here.

Since the struggle for Ethnic Studies began, more authors are also in 
print today representing the oppressed nations, including Indigenous 
authors.

We do know more now than we did 30 years ago about what happened. Also, 
there are many progressive scientists and social scientists, 
contemporaries of or following in the popular shoes of Carl Sagan and 
Howard Zinn, who have brought new information and resulting new analyses 
to public view.

For instance, the Siriono people in Bolivia, mistakenly seen as 
paleolithic holdouts by Allen Holmberg in "Nomads of the Longbow," were 
actually the remnants of their nation, who fled a 95-percent die-off 
from smallpox, flu and enforced enslavement to white cattle ranchers. 
That was the reason they were impoverished in the forest.

We are dialectical materialists. We welcome the new information, and we 
make our own analyses as well. And we take it further.


-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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