Native Americans give no thanks for Columbus’ legacy of destruction and neither should we

picture from One Cut video
Screen shot from One Word – Episode 25: Christopher Columbus
CUT.com invited Native Americans to free-associate one word with Columbus. They got fabulous responses worked into a short video, which made me feel very thoughtful.

Although American schoolchildren do learn about the destruction Columbus brought to our land and the First Nation people who were already living here, we are also taught to idolize both the destroyer and the destruction Columbus initiated. Which means that from a very young age, our schools are teaching children to idolize cruelty, thievery, genocide and to value the monetization of natural resources. Resources which – when left intact or at least, used sustainably – remain treasures of Mother Earth with the power to nurture and allow us to live surrounded by beauty, in comfort.

School lessons about Thanksgiving and the “discovery of America” also exercise a subtle, insidious effect on their minds, as these lessons require students to discard accurate perceptions of what fairness is and to replace them with interpretations of reprehensible acts as acts of charity and kindness. Internalizing these fallacies create in students’ minds a state of cognitive dissonance, and may create a mental imbalance that follows them throughout their lives.

Small wonder that faced with the internet-empowered and growing ability of The People to learn real history, educate others and advocate for serving up authentic lessons delivered by professors who represent gender and cultural diversity, Big Money pushes back by spending massive amounts of lobbying dollars to close the internet down and is intent on destroying public education as well. Educated and digitally empowered democratic citizens are not Big Money’s best customers.

These powerful, monied interests keep us complicit in the Earth’s destruction by inveigling us to labor at enriching the industries that are destroying it and then spend our leisure hours shopping for the largely useless goods that those industries produce. The industrialists seem hopeful of disabling challenges to the narratives they have injected into and made dominant in our society by limiting our ability to communicate with each other on a mass scale via the internet and by blocking upcoming generations from the acquisition of critical thinking skills by destroying public education.

Big Money designed narratives to destroy morality, intellect, the love for truth and belief in its innate rightness in order to create generations of confused and frustrated, but compliant laborers and consumers who are easily led … and on both sides of the consumption coin we are enriching them to the point that .1% of society now owns as much as the lower 90%. But truth can be our remedy to this grand manipulation.

Let’s circle back to truth talk and to life lessons of intrinsic value. I love the truths spoken by Native Americans in CUT’s video and if you do too, please share it widely.

Please also share your ideas, if you have any, on whether Thanksgiving Day can be transformed from a celebration of wrongdoing into a celebration of goodness … and how. My family’s approach is by supporting Newark’s Share the Harvest and Break Bread With You Celebrations in Newark, where we help to share a festive day and delicious home-cooked food with 3000 plus underserved, elderly and NWNAs (Neighbor With No Address) families and individuals in northern New Jersey.

Hat tip to Nathaniel Davis for the fantastic find.

Leave a Reply