Big Whoop, It's Columbus Day
Ray Cook, Opinions Editor
Sadotturday I was made to remember what it is like to celebrate a holiday that has nothing to do with me. Columbus Day in the U.S. and Thanksgiving in Canada. I did not like that, but what Indians (Indio Indians, not sub-continent Indians) think about these two holidays apparently drive our readership numbers. In all honesty, I could care less about what American holiday drives our readership numbers. I am not about reinforcing American values or their understanding of the world. That is not what ICTMN is about; it is about sharing what we think about the world.
I want you to understand what we, the Indigenous of this land think of the world and universe.
I did not realize it was to be Columbus Day until I was rudely and unceremoniously alerted to this fact, a fact that equals in my book as quaint trivia. A bullshit fact. I treat Columbus Day as I did the rantings of my children, when they were in fact children, and my grandkids who are in fact real children. I ignore them when they misbehave or plead with me to do something I know is wrong for them. I ignore them, only because it is wrong to beat them. Love over anger. Reason over irrationality. Logic over preconceived notions. Power over weakness. Patience over want.
I am a Mohawk, Ogwehonweh, an original person, and a human being. My peoples first contact with the infant Europeans were with the Dutch, not the Spanish or with their paid explorer Christopher Columbus, Christophe Colon depending with whom you ask.
I do not fear Columbus Day; this day does not change my people’s reality. It actually means nothing to us. Our reality is that we sit and wait. That is what the old timers mean when they say, “We were here long before they came, and we will be here long after these interlopers leave, or die away from their own greed and spite. Hang on to our ceremonies and don’t forget where we come from.”
The American as child is a picture worth imagining. New on the scene, blessed with great resources and power, none of which are of their own making, strut about the globe as a male peacock strolls his pen amongst his captured flock. But it is not about the feathers; it is about the pen within which they strut. In the end, look as good as your might allows, but in the end you are in a pen. A pen of your own making.
Does it matter that today is Columbus Day? Not to me or my kin. Does it matter that it is Canadian Thanksgiving Day? Well, not really, Canada gives nothing, but they do like their sibling United States of America, they take plenty, they share plenty and none of it is of their own to give.
Happy Columbus Day America, and happy Thanksgiving Canada may you both reap what you sow.