Columbus Revisited

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14 Responses to Columbus Revisited

  1. Don Baumgart says:

    In my Seattle days tradition had been that somone in a “fruity” outfit would alight from a small boat and wade ashore in West Seattle. Until one Columbus Day a Native American waded out to meet him and knocked the new arrival on his ass in the surf. Tradition ended.

  2. Ben Emery says:

    Columbus was brutal. He was a murderer, slave trader, and all around piece of sh!#.
    Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island’s beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log:
    “They… brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned…. They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features…. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane…. They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”

    • Ryan Mount says:

      That’s the second paragraph in Zinn’s People’s History. Columbus Day would not be complete without it. No other written work has contributed more to our revisionist sensibilities more than this. Zinn isn’t always right, nor did he want to be “right,” but it makes for an interesting and challenging read.

      I think most cultural reactionaries who recoil from modern historical revisionism (that’s a lot of adjectives, my bad) like “Columbus ushered in an era of native genocide” don’t even know who Zinn is.

    • TD Pittsford says:

      According to, “The Columbus Day Parade has been organized by the Columbus Citizens Foundation in New York since 1929. Over 35,000 people participate in the Columbus Day Parade in New York City each year, including over 100 groups, with bands, floats and contingents. The parade attracts nearly one million spectators and is the largest celebration of Italian-American culture in the world.”

      Iconoclasts beware.

  3. Ben Emery says:

    Who do you think Zinn is/ was? The history he covered in People’s History is the other side of those who were “victors”, the untold history. Victor’s generally do not let those who were overtaken the luxury of writing and publishing their side of the story. There is no “right” in history, there is just “is”.

    Here is an example of just “is. This is the documented history of broken treaties by the US Government on land nobody owned but rather their whole existence depended on. This is just one small but huge example of how business has taken place since Christopher Columbus came to what we now call the West Indies.

    Oglala Sioux

  4. Ryan Mount says:

    > Who do you think Zinn is/ was?

    Zinn is but one important perspective in a spectrum of thought. My issue with his work is with his zealous followers and not Zinn and his work, per se. All you have to do is raise the specter of doubt and the minions attack you with pitch forks. We like our fundamentalism here in the USA, whether it comes with God or not.

    I find much of what Zinn talks about fascinating and take it quite seriously. However just because it’s from the “people’s perspective,” which I find a tad pandering, doesn’t make him any more true about Cortez, for example. In his later years, Zinn himself commented about his “history” reads more like a narrative than an actual history. And he was fine with that. So am I, as long as people understand the difference. Most don’t.

  5. Ben Emery says:

    I think we are on the same page. I fully understand People’s History is a second hand at best perspective told from documentation of those who were suppressed and oppressed. An interesting book would be history from diaries/ journals recorded by those who sat on the side of historical events. My guess we would get a bunch of stories of those trying to hold on to what little they had in the world. That said most people I know who have read and respect Zinn’s work wouldn’t fit your description. As we know the loud are not the majority no matter what fundamentalist group we are talking about.

  6. We shouldn’t be so tough on old Chris. He was a man of his times and like all historical figures, should be judged in that context. His goal was to find new trade routes to Asia, not conquer a bunch of people no European knew existed. Europe’s unexpected discovery may have been bad for the natives, but they gave us syphilis, tobacco, and in more modern times in California, casinos.

    The cartoon reminds me of a scene from the otherwise forgettable movie “Maverick” starring Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster. The settlers are ambushed by a bunch of Indians, and after the smoke clears, several Indians are dead. As Gibson surveys the scene, he says, “That’s what they get for occupying our land before we could get here.”

  7. rl crabb says:

    The history of the dealings between the whites and Indians take many twists and turns. In doing research for a story I’m working on I came across this account…

    In southeastern Washington, Dr. Marcus Whitman established a mission with the idea of helping the local tribes. Unfortunately, the missionairies brought their own diseases along with them. During an outbreak of fever, the Indians became suspicious that Whitman was poisoning them, so they selected a slave who was in perfect health to go to the mission seeking treatment. He went to Dr. Whitman, pretending to be ill, and requesting treatment. The next day he became ill and died. That settled the matter for the Indians. They massacred everyone at the mission.

    The best of intentions, gone horribly wrong.

    • Ben Emery says:

      The real theme of your story is that missionaries were trying force their religion onto others through the facade of trying to help, my guess the indigenous people more than likely didn’t ask for the help, while blazing trails for more to move into the western territories and establishing roots. What I find ironic it is those who claim liberty and freedom will make these settlers into heroes. I can respect that they were badass tough as nails people that made it but they were encroaching and violating other people regions, faith, freedom, and liberty.

      I am not saying the US needs to give the land back but rather acknowledge the theft and immoral acts. Possibly giving every eligible/ qualified person to a full scholarship to any school in the nation, and I mean any school. Within a few generations the standard of living of those on the reservations would rise tremendously. The question becomes, would they take the scholarships? I would understand both taking it and not taking it.

  8. Robert Lovejoy says:

    Cristo Columbo was no dummy. He took the little woman’s purse and went out for a pack of cigs. He did not know where he was going, didn’t know where he was when he got there, but he knew he had the purse. I should be so lucky.

  9. Russ Steele says:

    On the contrary Columbus know where he wanted to go as he had the China maps and stopped in Puerto Rico for supplies according the the historical recored. The Portuguese has already arrive and set up a colony. Columbus took a wrong turn north, when he was suppose to go south to the isthmus and for his mistake was credited with discovering America. Read 1421 – The Year China Discovered America. There is a lot of missing history that we did not learn in grade school.

  10. Judith Lowry says:

    Thank you Gentlemen,
    Now, what do you all know about this area from 1849 to the present?

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