Today is Colombus Day, a holiday celebrated by thousands as the day of discovery for the American people. I hate to say it, but science has discovered that Chris was a relatively latecomer to the continent. Apparently there were people walking and sailing into the same shores for hundreds of years, and when they did, they left all sorts of clues to their passing.
As a Native American, I have the idea some of my ancestors were here to meet the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. They were here to meet the Jamestown settlers, and they were here to meet the Mayflower, welcoming the voyagers with food and friendly acceptance - or so the history books say.
History, however, is a rather uncertain science, full of inaccuracies and rumor, set down by the winners in any given conflict. I don't doubt that my ancestors met the various boats arriving from points west in Europe. I don't even doubt they might have met the intruders, but it seems likely they might have looked askance at pale, emaciated (from the poor shipboard food and seasickness) individuals who came ashore hoping for fresh food and water.
What happened next? Those pale, thin white folks proceeded to simply appropriate any bit of land that took their fancy and declare the original inhabitants savages and unworthy of honor.
It seems a pity to me. Looking at our history, it is easy to see that the original inhabitants of this continent were pushed back and pushed back until they lost their hunting grounds and cities grew at the mouths of every river. Who could blame them for not fighting back when they could?
The genocide here in the Americas was nearly as bad as that of the Germans during the anti-Semite days.
Who says being white and Christian makes one individual better than any other sort of person? I don't think God has anything to do with it. Native people living in the Americas had their own gods and religions and seemed to be getting along pretty darned well, thank you very much.
I heard the government has named the day after Thanksgiving as Native American Day, but that seems to be swallowed up in the biggest shopping day before Christmas. Isn't that a shame? I have the idea Native Americans deserve a better observance - they gave us this beautiful land after all.
So, I don't think Christopher Colombus really deserves a day, he started all this prejudice mess, after all. I sure hope someone takes a look at this and fixes it. If you ask me - and who does? - Native Americans should have more than one day, and no one should shop on that day. They might do well to think about all the lives that were lost when Colombus set foot on our beautiful shores. Come to think of it, maybe we ought to take it back.
In the meantime, keep on the sunny side. Terry
Terry L White -Author of the Chesapeake Heritage Series
"Travel Through Time With Terry"