Today is Indigenous Peoples’ Day… To some who don’t know about this holiday, here is are 5 ways to celebrate: from bustle.com:
1. Participate in Cultural Appreciation – No, cultural appreciation is not the same thing as cultural appropriation. Cultural appreciation is all about respecting different cultures, understanding the role you play in oppressing or erasing said culture, and not trivializing sacred cultural traditions by simply adopting them.
2. Donate to Indigenous People’s Rights Organizations – Consider donating to the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition, a group made up of five nations (and supported by 30 Native American Tribes!) who are in a battle to preserve Bear Ears National Monument that has come under threat because of the Trump administration. Or, donate to Stand With Standing Rock, the group formed of Native activists, different tribes, and allies who halted the Dakota Access Pipeline — and are still fighting against it.
3. Attend vigils, rallies, or other events that Native activists organize – On Indigenous People’s Day, let’s celebrate Native culture, but let’s also recognize why the holiday is needed in the first place. Systemic racism has long erased the narratives of indigenous people from American history, and contributes to the large health and wellness disparities Native Americans face today, when compared to all other Americans. Native American women are especially marginalized, as they are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted than women of any other race. Additionally, so many Native American women end up missing or murdered that North Dakota senators are calling it an “epidemic.” If Native Activists organize vigils or rallies on Indigenous People’s Day, try to show up and acknowledge the harm the United States has inflicted on different nations.
4. Purchase art from Native Americans – Put your money where your mouth is, and support indigenous communities’ artwork and business. Being an ally means showing support through action — not just talking.
5. Don’t just celebrate Indigenous People’s Day; actively disavow Columbus Day – No one’s trying to “rewrite American history,” Brenda — Native Americans have been brutalized and subjected to genocide since the inception of America, and as the popular chant goes: your silence is violence. Sign petitions if your city has yet to recognize Indigenous People’s Day, and don’t be hesitant to have conversations with other white people about why it’s important to celebrate it over Columbus Day.
Why does Christopher Columbus not deserve a holiday? Here is some information from owlcation.com:
For the second voyage to Haiti the following year (1493), Ferdinand and Isabella gave him the resources needed to subdue the population. When he returned to Haiti, Columbus demanded food, gold, and cotton thread, and was increasingly met with resistance. This resistance gave him the opportunity he needed to declare war on the Arawaks. According to Bartolomé de Las Casas, who was there with the Spanish, Columbus chose “200 foot soldiers and 20 cavalry, with many crossbows and small cannon, lances, and swords, and a still more terrible weapon against the Indians, in addition to the horses: this was 20 hunting dogs, who were turned loose and immediately tore the Indians apart.”
The Spanish won the war, of course, for the Arawaks had only rudimentary weapons. As Columbus still could not find the gold he sought, and needed to bring something back to Spain, he rounded up 1,000 Arawaks to be used as slaves. Five hundred of these he brought back to Spain, and the remaining 500 he gave to the Spanish then “governing” the island.
Though now in control of the Arawak Indians and their island Haiti, Christopher Columbus still could not find the gold that he was sure was somewhere on the island.
The Arawaks, I’m sure, were not very willing to tell him where it was. Therefore, he set up a “tribute system” which worked thus:
Every three months, each Haitian over 14 years of age would be required to pay Columbus with either 25 pounds in cotton or a large “hawk’s bell” of gold dust (a lot of gold dust.)
Once the slaves paid this, they would receive a metal token. This token was worn around their necks as a signal that they were home-free for another 3 months (during which time they saved up for their next token, of course.)
Those who did not pay had their nose & both of their hands chopped off.
Due to the tribute system, the Arawaks were forced to work in the mines instead of growing food in their fields, which led to generalized malnutrition. According to a letter written by Pedro de Cordoba to King Ferdinand, “As a result of the sufferings and hard labor they endured, the Indians choose and have chosen suicide. The women, exhausted by labor, have shunned conception and childbirth…Many, when pregnant, have taken something to abort and have aborted. Others after delivery have killed their children with their own hands, so as not to leave them in such oppressive slavery.”
The initial Arawak population was estimated at 8,000,000. By 1516 only around 12,000 were still alive. By 1542, less than 200 remained. By 1555, the Arawaks were all gone
Thus, the crime of genocide was perpetuated by Christopher Columbus; not exactly what I learned in public school. He completely exterminated an entire race of 8,000,000 people –and that’s only counting one of the cultures he decimated. “Haiti under the Spanish is one of the primary instances of genocide in all human history.” – Dr. James W. Loewen
Transatlantic Slave Trade
Columbus wasn’t just into subjugating and decimating; he was also interested in the sexual aspect of slavery. According to a letter written by Michele de Cuneo, before his first voyage had even reached Haiti in 1492, “Columbus was rewarding his lieutenants with native women to rape.” Columbus wrote in 1500: “A hundred castellanoes are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand.”
Aside from sexual slavery, there existed, of course, the aspect of using slavery for profit. When there were no more Arawaks to mine his gold for him–for they no longer existed–Columbus systematically depleted the Bahamas of their peoples for this task. Tens of thousands of slaves from the Bahamas were transported to Haiti, leaving the islands behind deserted. Peter Martyr reported in 1516: “Packed in below deck, with hatchways closed to prevent their escape, so many slaves died on the trip that a ship without a compass, chart, or guide, but only following the trail of dead Indians who had been thrown from the ships could find its way from the Bahamas to Hispaniola.”
After the new batch of slaves died, Columbus depleted Puerto Rico, and then Cuba. When they had all succumbed, he turned his eyes to Africa, thus establishing the transatlantic slave trade and the concept of “race.” Through his exploits in Haiti, Columbus lead the way for other European nations to begin seeking wealth through domination, conquest, and slavery. In essence, Columbus changed the world, and we recognize this in one way or another by delineating history as being either pre- or post-Columbian.
Getting rid of Columbus Day isn’t about “erasing history”, it is about decided who and what should be exalted by our society.
In short, Christopher Columbus was responsible for the extincion of an entire tribe of people that once numbered over 8 million! Then turned around and invented transatlantic slave trade.
Christopher Columbus does not deserve to be exalted.
Or to put it another way:
For the third week in a row we have hit double digit submissions! Woohoo! LOW PERSPECTIVE didn’t lead to low participation rates.
But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates. You came to see the submissions:
Christopher D. Bennett
But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:
STILL LIFE! What a great theme! But what is a STILL LIFE photo? A STILL LIFE photo is a photo of an inanimate object. A picture of your kid, not STILL LIFE. A picture of a bowl of fruit. STILL LIFE. A picture of tools. STILL LIFE. A picture of your dog. Not STILL LIFE. If it isn’t alive and it is something you can arrange. That is a subject for STILL LIFE.
I look forward to seeing your interpretations!
A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 RULES DIVISION
The picture has to be taken the week of the theme. This isn’t a curate your pictures challenge. This is a get your butt off the couch (my personal experience) and put your camera in your hands challenge. Don’t send me a picture of you next to the Eiffel Tower, when I know you were in Iowa all week. I will point out that I have let that slide some in the past. I will not in the future. Since it is literally about the only rule.
Your submission needs to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by 11 AM on the Monday of the challenge due date.
I now allow people to text me their submissions. In the past, I had made exceptions for a couple people that aren’t real computer savvy, even though it was an inconvenience for me and required at least 3 extra steps for me. I am now lifting that embargo because I have a streamline way of uploading photos. I’m not giving out my phone number, but if you have it, you can text me.
It should be pointed out that this blog auto-publishes at 12:01 on Mondays. So it wouldn’t hurt to get your picture in earlier.
That is it, them’s the rules.
A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION DIVISION
Nobody showed class, taste, and sophistication this week by signing up for a Photography 139 email subscription. I’ll try and do better next week.
That’s all I got for today, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will commune right here again next Monday. Hopefully it will be a very still Monday!