Monday, October 8, 2012

Rethinking Columbus Day

An excerpt from a column written by the author; you can read the entire article here.

Rethinking Columbus was never just about Columbus. It was part of a broader movement to surface other stories that have been silenced or distorted in the mainstream curriculum: grassroots activism against slavery and racism, struggles of workers against owners, peace movements, the long road toward women’s liberation - everything that Howard Zinn dubbed "a people's history of the United States."

I remember watching a television movie in 1992 - the quincentennial of the "discovery" - about the effects of Columbus in America; I cannot recall the name of the movie, but it was quite powerful to me.  The story followed one of the sailors who mutinied and his trek across the country, from the Caribbean to the West Coast of the US.  Some of the scenes were gruesome and the cruelty of Spaniards was epic.  As a young girl in school, I never learned of this.  I went out and bought Howard Zinn's book, mentioned in the excerpt - it was painful to read what our government has done in The People's name and I had to put it down.

This "holiday" is not about the "discovery" of America nor is it about the pride of being an American of Italian ancestry.  This is about patriarchal conquest of a land and all her inhabitants.  I've heard patriarchy described as a "dominator virus," and I have to agree.  It is a disease of the soul, of the mind, of the emotions, of the spirit - no culture, human or otherwise, is immune to the ravages of its fury nor to its infliction of destruction, damage, death and dismemberment of cultures they deem to be inferior or simply in the way of their "progress."  It is a cancer eating away at the beauty of our Earth and Her creations.  That is what is being "celebrated" on Columbus Day.

May we learn the wisdom of the Beauty Way prayer of the Dineh (Navajo) people.

Today may I walk out in beauty.
With beauty may I walk.
With beauty before me, may I walk.
With beauty behind me, may I walk.
With beauty above me, may I walk.
With beauty below me, may I walk.
With beauty around me, may I walk.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.

My friend, Kathleen Jenks, PhD, has a wonderful website and she has just put up a page about Columbus Day.  You can find it here.  If you have any interest at all in mythology, you will find very comprehensive information there - I highly recommend it!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Oh, look Toto - we have visitors!