Illegal immigration in America started on October 12, 1492 when Christopher Columbus bumped into an island in the Bahamas thinking he found the western route to India. We all know how that turned out.
The history of the treatment of Native Americans by the illegal immigrants from Europe is abominable and continues to this day. Of the over 500 treaties the United States government signed with Native American tribes, the government has broken or violated every one. That’s quite a foreign policy record.
Twenty-two years ago South Dakota renamed the second Monday in October Native American Day in honor of the indigenous people who suffered near-annihilation after Columbus opened doors to the New World. This is how Native Americans commemorate the day:
Diana King is an enrolled member of the White Earth Indian Nation in northern Minnesota. For the last 12 years, she has taught at the Waubun High School, which is located on a reservation. “Columbus Day is a chance to teach about who we once were, what has become of us since Europeans arrived on our shores and who we are today – a struggling but surviving people,” King says.
Each October, King creates a bulletin board that illustrates a rich display of indigenous life on the American continents circa 1492.[..]
“I want teachers to teach more about Indian civilization just like they do with Egyptian or European history,” she says. “Our … history did not begin with Christopher Columbus.” [..]
“Even though 70 percent of our students are Native, most of our teachers are non-Indian,” she says. “When I started here there were no Ojibwe language classes and there was no after-school program for Native students. Working with teachers to help educate them about our students about their culture and the issues they face living on the reservation is critical to promoting success.” [..]
“We should have been wiped out,” she says. “It’s a miracle Native people still exist. I have never liked the word ‘conquered.’ We are still here after 500 years. And maybe every time Columbus Day comes around, we should rethink who the real heroes are: the explorer or the survivors?”
Also from Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman interviews Native American Activist Dennis Banks who shared his experiences and view about this day:
On “Columbus Day” – known to many as Indigenous Peoples Day – we’re joined by Dennis Banks, a legendary Native American activist from the Ojibwe Tribe. In 1968, he co-founded the American Indian Movement. A year later, he took part in the occupation of Alcatraz Island in California. In 1972, he assisted in AIM’s “Trail of Broken Treaties,” a caravan of numerous activist groups across the United States to Washington, D.C., to call attention to the plight of Native Americans. That same year, AIM took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs building in Washington, D.C. In early 1973, AIM members took over and occupied Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for 71 days, which some have come to call Wounded Knee II. Earlier this year, he led a cross-country walk from Alcatraz to Washington calling for the release of imprisoned Native American activist Leonard Peltier. Banks shares his thoughts about Columbus Day, the U.S. treatment of American Indians, and his own story of growing up in the BIA boarding school system.
Please sign the petition to President Barack Obama: Clemecy for Leonard Peltier.
Thanks to my friend Izzy, aka Black Eagle.