Every single year on Columbus Day and Thanksgiving, people blow up my Facebook feed with anti-Columbus and anti-white posts and comments. The general message that is relayed is tantamount to “White = Bad” “Natives = Good”. It’s ok to have an opinion, but we must point out that often that opinion has rose-colored lenses and completely ignores history.
I know that some of you reading will completely shut down and call me a racist and a bigot. If you are one of those that are easily “triggered”—this essay isn’t for you. This essay is for the intellectually and historically honest person that wants to put Columbus Day into a historical perspective….
In fourteen hundred ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
He had three ships and left from Spain;
He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.
He sailed by night; he sailed by day;
He used the stars to find his way.
A compass also helped him know
How to find the way to go.
Ninety sailors were on board;
Some men worked while others snored.
Then the workers went to sleep;
And others watched the ocean deep.
Day after day they looked for land;
They dreamed of trees and rocks and sand.
October 12 their dream came true,
You never saw a happier crew!
“Indians! Indians!” Columbus cried;
His heart was filled with joyful pride.
But “India” the land was not;
It was the Bahamas, and it was hot.
The Arakawa natives were very nice;
They gave the sailors food and spice.
Columbus sailed on to find some gold
To bring back home, as he’d been told.
He made the trip again and again,
Trading gold to bring to Spain.
The first American? No, not quite.
But Columbus was brave, and he was bright.
523 after the fact, people tend to believe that the Americas was a beautiful land full of rainbows, love, happiness, and peace-pipes which the Europeans ruined, but what was actually happening in the Americas in and around 1492?
The Aztecs believed that all the gods were appeased with human blood and sacrifice and hundreds of thousands of men and women were ritualistically sacrificed in this belief. What is more troubling is the mass graves of very young children and infants that have been found to have been murdered. Victims hearts were cut out, disremembered, eaten and skinned with priests wearing their victims freshly flayed hides in gory feasts and festivals. There are ample written records of every form of torture having been performed by the Aztecs on their Captors. [source]
The ancient Inca chose children as young as 6, but also as old as 15, “fattened them up” for a year and sent them on a sacrifice pilgrimage….. in the moment of the sacrifice children were semiconscious. Some children may have been left to succumb due to exposure to the cold. But others had a horrific death: scientists found vomit and diarrhea on their clothes, pointing to a violent death. The vomit contained the hallucinogenic drug achiote, also encountered in the stomach and feces. They were likely to have been asphyxiated, the body being crushed by their clothes, so strongly that the ribs and pelvis were sometimes broken. The bodies of the sacrificed children were mummified by the dry cold of the Andes, including hair and inner organs. In fact, Inca children represent one of the best naturally cold preserved mummies. [source]
The deliberate taking of a human life was deemed necessary to sanctify certain ritual occasions, such as the ascendancy to the throne by a new ruler or the dedication of a new building…The usual method of such a sacrifice was decapitation in a public ceremony. Aside from decapitation, the favored method in Postclassic times was a trick acquired from the Mexican cultures to the north, the removal of the heart. Women and children were sacrificed just as often as men The intended victim was stripped and painted blue before being led to a courtyard or temple where the victim would be placed face-up over a convex altar-like stone also painted blue. The arms and legs of the victim were held by specially designated priests while a fourth, called the nacom, would penetrate the victim’s chest with a flint knife just below the left breast. Reaching inside the chest cavity, the nacom would pull out the still beating heart and hand it to another priest, who would then smear the blood on that idol to which the sacrifice had been made. If the sacrifice had taken place on the top of a pyramid, the corpse would be thrown to the courtyard below where priests of lower rank would skin the victim except for the hands and feet. The skin would then be worn by the officiating priest who would solemnly dance among the spectators. If the victim had been an especially brave warrior his body might be butchered and eaten by the nobles and other spectators. [source]
The Skidi Pawnee practiced human sacrifice, specifically of captive girls, in the “Morning Star ritual”. They continued this practice regularly through the 1810s and possibly after 1838, the last reported sacrifice. They believed the longstanding rite ensured the fertility of the soil and success of the crops, as well as renewal of all life in spring. The sacrifice was related to the belief that the first human being was a girl, born of the mating of the Morning Star, the male figure of light, and Evening Star, a female figure of darkness, in their creation story. [source]
The Comanche were considered one of the most violent and aggressive Native Tribes in all of North America, routinely practicing slavery and torturing their victims should they be so unlucky as to be captured or lose a battle:
S C Gwynne, author of Empire Of The Summer Moon about the rise and fall of the Comanche, says simply: ‘No tribe in the history of the Spanish, French, Mexican, Texan, and American occupations of this land had ever caused so much havoc and death. None was even a close second.’ He refers to the ‘demonic immorality’ of Comanche attacks on white settlers, the way in which torture, killings and gang-rapes were routine. ‘The logic of Comanche raids was straightforward,’ he explains. ‘All the men were killed, and any men who were captured alive were tortured; the captive women were gang raped. Babies were invariably killed.’ [source]
They were infamous for their brutal and inventive tortures, a favorite was to “stake out the victim”
He was stripped of his clothing, laid on his back on the ground and his arms and legs, stretched to the utmost, were fastened by thongs to pins driven into the ground. In this state he was not only helpless, but almost motionless. All this time the Indians pleasantly talked to him. It was all kind of a joke. Then a small fire was built near one of his feet. When that was so cooked as to have little sensation, another fire was built near the other foot; then the legs and arms and body until the whole person was crisped. Finally a small fire was built on the naked breast and kept up until life was extinct. [source]
The reason why I bring this up is because I am a first generation American. I have had nothing to do with America’s Past. I didn’t own slaves. I din’t oppress anyone. I didn’t sacrifice anyone. And I didn’t march in any anti-minority rallies. However, because I happen to be white, minority groups immediately assume I am guilty of something—and believe me, I’ve experienced my fair share living in Alaska.
Fact is, America is a country of immigrants, most of whom were never slaves, never oppressed anyone, and do not owe anyone any apologies. Yes, Columbus and other Europeans did bad things.
So, has every significant other cultural group in North and South America.
The reason why Columbus Day should be celebrated is that he represents an ideal and an inspiration for allowing the creation of a country that worked hard, shed hundreds of thousands of lives to unite people and give them a better life.
The United States of America no longer has slavery, no longer has human sacrifices, no longer discriminates blatantly against minority groups, and by every arguable standard represents a better and more equitable society than in 1492.
So, in the future, celebrate Columbus Day with pride and remind those that have rose-colored glasses to kindly take them off.
Read More: What Happens When Colombia Meets Columbus