Not everybody loves a parade
American Indian protest light as Italian-Americans celebrate Columbus
By Annette Espinoza
The Denver Post
Denver's annual Columbus Day parade was once again met with protests
Saturday, but police said no one was arrested compared with a year
ago when 83 protesters were jailed for blocking the parade route.
"It was very peaceful," said Denver police spokeswoman Sharon Hahn.
"Both sides got to express their views in a peaceful manner."
A steady drizzle of rain kept parade watchers to a minimum while
dozens of uniformed police and barriers along the nearly 3-mile
parade route separated the sides.
Parade participants blasted car horns and revved motorcycle engines
to drown out a small group of protesters who had gathered along the route.
Don Bruno viewed the parade as it passed along Broadway.
"It's democracy in action," Bruno said, "as long as they don't
interfere with the parade." He was referring to American Indians who
believe Columbus' voyage to the Americas in 1492 led to genocide
against the natives.
Dozens of Italian-Americans proudly waved American and Italian flags.
A float belonging to Tirolesi Trentini del Colorado was painted with
a mountain scene found in Dolomiti, Italy.
Phil Antonelli, 84, is president of the social organization.
Antonelli was joined by his wife, Romana, who grew up in Dolomiti.
The couple said they participate in the parade every year to honor
their Italian roots.
"We want this to be our day. We want to celebrate our heritage, our
culture. We're very proud," Romana said.
The parade began at 10 a.m. at 14th Street and Colfax Avenue, then
traveled down to 15th & Stout streets before winding its way up 17th
Street to Broadway, where it ended in front of the state Capitol.
There, parade participants were greeted by about 100 anti Columbus
protesters with banners.
The parade was then stopped briefly when a group of 13 indigenous
women tried to present parade organizers with a "Treaty of
Transformation," but the offer was declined.
"We have tried many times to hand them a proclamation only to have
backs turned on us," said Mano Cockrum, a member of the American
Indian Movement of Colorado's leadership council.
"We're not against anyone's heritage, only those who worship a slave-
trading Indian killer," Cockrum added.
Many on both sides agree that they would like someday to see a
peaceful parade on the streets of Denver without police presence,
street barricades and protests.
"I would love to see it take place in Civic Center park where
everybody could enjoy the Italian heritage," said Tom Ligrani,
president of Italians of America in north Denver.
Annette Espinoza: 303-954-1655 or email@example.com
Club Advocates Abolition of Columbus Day
Native American Club to Screen Documentary on Alleged Legacy of Abuses
Sunday, October 12, 2008
By Ryan Faughnder
As much of the country observes Columbus Day this Monday, October 13,
the Santa Barbara City College's Native American Awareness Club will
hold an event to call for the abolition of the holiday, which its
members believe unintentionally commemorates the colonists' cruel
treatment of indigenous peoples.
Rebuking the spirit of the holiday, the event will feature a
screening of The Canary Effect,
a 2006 documentary that portrays and analyzes the history of what the
club calls the "terrifying and horrific" and "genocidal" acts against
Native Americans, both past and present. The film won the Stanley
Kubrick Award for Innovative filmmaking, at Michael Moore's Traverse
City Film Festival 2006.
The gathering will take place at Santa Barbara City College, Room
A-160, from 6-9 p.m. A 20-minute introduction falls before the
screening and a 20-minute discussion afterward.
"Columbus should be recognized for his feat of traveling across the
Atlantic, but once he set foot onto ground he was a complete failure
at being a governor and the atrocities he committed should not be
something we honor," said the club's Frank Arredondo.
He added that reactions to events such as Monday's are mixed. "Many
people are still unaware of what the truth is. Many still believe
Columbus discovered America," he said. "We often reply you can't
discover something if someone is already there."
The event's aggressive flier indicates the angry feelings the club
leaders' angry feelings about the issue. The top half shows a
portrait of Columbus in a regal pose, his image smeared with steaks
of blood and embossed with the word "savage," a slur once commonly
used against the indigenous people of North America.
The film also highlights recent perceived wrongs against Native
Americans, including President George W. Bush's apparently sluggish
response to a school shooting on a Native American reservation. As
for other examples of recent acts of unfairness, Arredondo said there
are simply "too many to list."
On Columbus Day, correcting Columbus' legacy
By Mark Anthony Rolo
October 9, 2008
On Monday, Oct. 13, schoolteachers across the nation should find the
courage to speak the truth about the man who sailed the ocean blue in 1492.
Trying to explain to youngsters how this country came to be is surely
no easy task.
How can you sugarcoat telling a fourth-grader that Columbus did not
"discover" the "new" world that he more accurately opened the door
to conquering it?
How do you explain to a fifth-grader that the only measurable blood
spilled in Columbus' encounter was that of indigenous Caribbean islanders?
Can you even use the word "genocide" in a sixth-grade classroom?
There was a time in this country once when celebrating the feats of
Columbus and his successors was less complicated. Only a generation
ago, students did not learn the full extent of Columbus' impact on
the peoples who inhabited this continent.
But let's set the historical record straight.
Hundreds of thousands of indigenous Taino Indians were raped,
murdered, and forced into brutal slavery as a result of Columbus'
conquest. Much of the Taino population fell to new diseases such as
smallpox. Extinction is all that remains of the Taino today.
Those who like to honor Columbus would have us believe that bringing
up the darker side of the explorer is an attempt to blow the man's
memory off course.
But these facts of genocide and land theft are not part of a
revisionist, false history. In his own words spelled, out in his
personal diary, Columbus acknowledged his scheme to subjugate the
Taino Indians: "I could conquer the whole of them with 50 men, and
govern them as I pleased."
Columbus' men rounded up 1,500 people and selected 500 as slaves to
be shipped off to Spain. Two hundred died en route. This did not
deter Columbus, who, according to historian Howard Zinn, later wrote:
"Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves
that can be sold."
Some defenders of Columbus fall back on the rationale that he was
just a man of his time, with the prejudices that prevailed. But one
of Columbus' own contemporaries, Bartoleme de las Casas, a Spanish
colonist turned priest, spent his last years trying to wash the
indigenous blood from his hands by calling for an end to the slave trade.
This year many teachers may stress tolerance of opposing views as
they try to bring a broader and more balanced view of Columbus'
legacy into the classroom. But a lesson plan on tolerance won't do.
Putting an end to the hero worship of Columbus begins with telling
the truth: Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 not to explore, but
to conquer with domination, brutality and yes genocide.
Mark Anthony Rolo is an enrolled member of the Bad River Band of Lake
Superior Ojibwe in Wisconsin. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.