Today is Columbus Day in the United States, the day that commemorates Columbus’s voyage to the Americas in 1492. It’s one of the most significant events in human history—as I tell my American History students, “we wouldn’t be here if Columbus hadn’t made his voyages”—yet the social justice, Cultural Marxist revisionist scolds want to do away with the holiday entirely, replacing it instead with “Indigenous People’s Day.”
The thrust of the proposed (or, as is the way with SJWs, demanded) name change is that Columbus was a genocidal, white male meanie who defrauded and murdered peace-loving Native Americans (who had the gall to mislabel Indians!), so instead we should celebrate the contributions of Stone Age cannibals.
Two States—Vermont and Maine (of course they’re in New England, the epicenter of neo-puritanical scolds)—have passed laws renaming the federal holiday to the SJW-approved Indigenous People’s Day. One Maine mayor, however, refuses to bend, and has declared that in Waterville, Maine, Columbus will be honored.
Mayor Nick Isgro has garnered national attention for his stand to protect Columbus Day from the faddish winds of outrage culture: “‘The history of mankind is not necessarily a nice one,’ he said. ‘With every great accomplishment, we could probably line up negative consequences as well as positive consequences and that goes across all peoples, all continents, all countries.'”
That’s probably one of the best, brief summaries of a proper historical perspective I’ve read recently: we can find all sorts of nasty bits about every culture, country, and personality. But that doesn’t detract from the greatness of their accomplishments.
The revisionists are not incorrect about Columbus: he did, in his own misguided way, commit what we would now consider atrocities against the Arawaks of the Caribbean. But it’s foolish to believe that the Native Americans were peaceful, “noble” savages, living in a harmonious state of nature until the evil, exploitative Europeans showed up. That version of history is a Leftist passion play, which casts history into shades of (literal and metaphorical) black and white—and any white person must possess a black soul.
The searching party found plentiful evidence of these unpleasant Carib habits which were responsible for a new word—cannibal—in the European languages. In the huts deserted by the warriors, who ungallantly fled, they found large cuts and joints of human flesh, shin bones set aside to make arrows of, caponized Arawak boy captives who were being fattened for the griddle, and girl captives who were mainly used to produce babies, which the Caribs regarded as a particularly toothsome morsel.
Clearly, the Arawaks weren’t polite simpletons (which is how they come across in progressive retellings) snookered by a wicked Italian. They were fattening up little boys t be eaten, and impregnating young girls to eat their offspring!
I recently wrote about similar Native American atrocities regarding the Aztecs. The Aztecs’ atrocities are far better understood—the massive, organized human sacrifices, for example—but there’s still this push among modern historians to cast the Spanish conquistadors as the villains.
Naturally, we have to understand these cultures and civilizations in their time and place—but we can do so without condoning their barbarism and cannibalism. Similarly, if we’re willing to accord some historical wiggle room to baby-eaters, can’t we extend the same generosity to Columbus and the Spanish conquistadors?
Further, as I read the accounts of various Native American practices, I can see why Spanish and subsequent Europeans believed they were doing the Lord’s work to wipe out these practices: some of them are downright demonic. It’s fitting that the bloody temples of Tenochtitlan were dismantled and replaced with a Christian cathedral. The Old Testament is rife with examples of pagan places of worship being destroyed and replaced with altars to Jehovah.
(Of course, if the Spanish were indeed part of God’s Divine judgment on the Aztecs, et. al., Americans should be very worried today, as we continue to participate in mass infanticide. God is patient, but His patience does not endure forever.)
So, yes, let’s celebrate Columbus on Columbus Day. I’m glad to be in the New World, and that we don’t line people up to be sacrificed to a sun god every day.