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Big Whoop, It's Columbus Day

Ray Cook, Opinions Editor
10/14/13
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.

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Anonymous's picture
Holidays for some tribes consists of closure of tribal business, can't even get to the doctor. I'm at work because Indians discovered a couple boats off shore.
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
Here's my white-woman opinion of Columbus day... for what it's worth: Today is Columbus day in the United (don't make me laugh) States.. Here's how to Celebrate Columbus Day in true fashion: You walk into a store, proclaim that you 'Discovered it!' and then steal it from those that already have it. Years later you go down in american history books as a great person instead of the clueless ding-dong that you are. Also, a holiday will be put aside in your honor where children can escape a day from school where they are taught mostly nonsense anyways. And some, not all adults will be given the day off of work so that they can go out and enjoy life. For one day.
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
Me and my dad (MicMac though I am also Black) make fun of this holiday, like another person posted we joke about discovering things, well we make fun of Columbus on a daily bases. I said I don't like Columbus day in school before and the teacher went on a half an hour rant about something, if I had known before hand that other people had been here before I would've mentioned it.
Anonymous