I celebrated Indigenous Peoples Day with a post and a thanks to some I have been honored to know and receive teaching from. I added commentary that I feel it is more appropriate to honor these people and continue the decades long re-think of whether or not Christopher Columbus’s “discovery” is really something to pin a National Holiday around.
One response was, “Hmmmm, revisionist history.” Well, yes, it is.
Unlike conspiracy theories — of which the “discovery” of America might be one of the great originals–our understanding of history can and should be revised based on new knowledge. To think that it isn’t used for personal and political agendas would be naive. However, most historians are looking for truth, such that it can be found.
This well-dressed Genoese Parrot Head, sailing on behalf of Spain, was off to find a new route to places not yet seen by THEM and to find treasures. Fair enough. He and his crew kind of bumbled onto some of what is now called the “Americas.” Folks were there. Millions. Living a life with families and commerce and pursuit of growth.
The claims of discovery have long since been debunked. Rightfully so. The facts covering the brutality and inhumanity on behalf of progress–totally driven by greed–were muted for so long. Until recent decades. Why? Because those facts, like so many others, mess with the myth of who we are or where we came from or what we value about our history.
Visiting and setting up residence in a new place isn’t bad. Most of our country is based on valuing immigrants (until the last few years). But to say it is YOURS because YOU haven’t seen it before has NOTHING to due with “discovery.” It’s more like this.
Seanus Greedus (mountain biking and coming across small village–let’s call it Waxhaw): I’ve never seen this place. I like it. I think I’ll call it Seanus Township.
Indigenous Person: Yo. We’ve actually been here a long time and we call it Waxhaw.
Seanus Greedus: You mean this isn’t Japan?
Indigenous Person: No. That’s a little East.
Seanus Greedus: Well, I don’t see anyone else wearing Lucky Brand 110 Jeans, Vans sneakers, and drinking Ka’Chava shakes.
Indigenous Person: Nope, don’t see that either. But you’re welcome to join us for a shot of moonshine.
Seanus Greedus: No, I am claiming this place on behalf of the Land of Lucky Brand Vans Sneakers Wearing Ka’Chava Drinkers.
Indigenous Person: You can’t do that. We already live here and it’s called Waxhaw.
Seanus Greedus: Well then, we will cut off your head, enslave all of your brothers, take all your women away to star in our show, The Bachelorette, and make your children slaves or keep the nice ones for Chick-fil-a servers.
Indigenous Person: That seems pretty extreme. Can’t we just have that drink and talk about it?
Seanus Greedus: Okay, but only if you name a National Holiday after me.
Note: To those anywhere on the planet whose history has been dismissed, exaggerated, erased, distorted, and otherwise stolen for the sake of painting a different picture in order to make the selected generations to come feel a false sense of pride and wild frontier bravado, a closer look reveals your beauty and a heritage we should all celebrate. What was stolen, or acquired, or, in some cases gratefully landed upon, can be shared. And honored with a bit of humility and truth.
Just a thought.