Uprooting Colonialism: The Limitations Of Indigenous Peoples’ Day

1992, March in Ohlone lands

By Staff of Indigenous Media Action – As momentum has accelerated for occupying forces to issue declarations of “Indigenous Peoples’ Day (IPD),” we can’t help but feel disconnected from the revelry. Aside from psychic solace, if the state dismantles these statues and proclaims Indigenous Peoples’ Days, what do we actually achieve if the structures and systems rooted in colonial violence remain intact? Is it merely political posturing or window dressing to diminish liberatory agitations? Our senses are heightened as most re-brandings of Columbus Day into IPD appear to whitewash ongoing colonial legacies. The statistics are all too familiar: Indigenous Peoples in the “U.S.” are the ethnic group that faces the highest police murder rate, the highest rates of incarnation, homelessness, and sexual violence. So yes, we have very good reason to be skeptical of symbolic gestures. We’re all for removing colonial symbols and nationalistic myths, so long as structures such as colonialism and racism go along with them. Problem is they are not. These edicts are readily embraced by their advocates as “steps in the right direction” for Indigenous interests, yet—as we’ll assert here—only serve to calcify colonial rule. What else are we to glean from superficial declarations handed down by occupying governing bodies?

Columbus Day Was A Gift From Sleepy Hollow Author Washington Irving


By William Francis Keegan for Red Green and Blue – In 1496, Columbus was the governor of a colony based at Santo Domingo, in what is now the modern Dominican Republic – a job he hated. He could not convince the other “colonists,” especially those with noble titles, to follow his leadership. They were not colonists in the traditional sense of the word. They had gone to the Indies to get rich quick. Because Columbus was unable to temper their lust, the Crown viewed him as an incompetent administrator. The colony was largely a social and economic failure. The wealth that Columbus promised the Spanish monarchs failed to materialize, and he made continuous requests for additional financial support, which the monarchs reluctantly provided. By 1500, conditions in Hispaniola were so dire that the Crown sent Francisco de Bobadilla to investigate. Bobadilla’s first sight, at the mouth of the Ozama River, was four Spanish “mutineers” hanging from gallows. Under authority from the king, Bobadilla arrested Columbus and his brothers for malfeasance and sent them to Spain in chains. Columbus waited seven months for an audience at the court. He refused to have his chains removed until the meeting, and even asked in his will to be buried with the chains.

The Legacy Of Christopher Columbus

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On the weekend when the United States celebrates the exploits of Christopher Columbus there is increasing debate as to whether this is a person who should be celebrated. Seattle and Minneapolis have both abandoned Columbus Day in favor of focusing on Indigenous peoples. This brief movie is based on the diary of one of those who was on the voyage with Columbus when he “discovered” the new world. It is a harsh reality and brutal reality to face therefore view discretion is advised. A brief dramatization of Bartolomé de Las Casas’ testimonial account of the Spanish Conquest of the New World. This was an exercise for me and my children in remembering the slaughter which our indigenous Caribbean ancestors endured. My father’s grandmother, Clemencia Figueroa, was pure-blooded Siboney (native tribe of Eastern Cuba). She died a victim of Cuba’s War of Independence from Spain. It was also an exercise in memory for the lead actress in the film, Dolann Adams, who is more than half Native American — Choctaw and Blackfoot on her dad’s side and Cherokee and Apache on her mom’s side.

Christopher Columbus: No Monuments For Murderers


By Bill Bigelow for Zinn Educate Project. There is nothing murky about Columbus’ legacy of slavery and terrorism in the Americas. The record is clear and overwhelming. The fact that The New York Times could report this with such confidence — adding that “most Americans learn rather innocently, in 1492 [Columbus] sailed the ocean blue until he discovered the New World” — means that educators and activists still have much work to do. In fact, Christopher Columbus launched the trans-Atlantic slave trade in 1494, when he sent back at least two dozen enslaved Taínos, including children, to Spain. In February of that year, Columbus dispatched 12 of his 17 ships from the Caribbean back to Spain with a letter to be delivered to the king and queen by Antonio de Torres, captain of the returning fleet. Columbus wrote: There are being sent in these ships some Cannibals, men and women, boys and girls, which Your Highnesses can order placed in charge of persons from whom they may be able better to learn the language while being employed in forms of service, gradually ordering that greater care be given them than to other slaves.

Indonesian Government Denies Human Rights Violations In Papua


By Free West Papua Campaign USA. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is very disappointed at the Indonesian government’s irresponsible denial of human rights violations in Papua and West Papua province. Far from taking steps to improve the human rights condition there, the government consistently denies the existence of any problem. At the recent 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, in the first right of reply, Indonesian diplomat Ms. Ainan Nuran stated that human rights violations in Papua is nothing but a hoax. In the previous 71st session, junior Indonesian diplomat, Ms. Nara Masista, also denied the occurrence of various human rights violations in Papua.

While Outrage Mounts Over Puerto Rico…


By Whitney Webb for Mintpress News. San Juan, Puerto Rico – Since Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, the U.S. territory – which rarely garners much attention from the national media – has received widespread coverage which has focused on the Trump administration’s slow response to the disaster. The situation in Puerto Rico is undoubtedly dire, as many struggle without power and access to basic necessities more than a week after the storm struck. In addition, the Trump administration’s response has been notably lackluster in several regards, which has brought renewed scrutiny to its attitudes and performance.

Why Some Western Intellectuals Are Trying To Debrutalise Colonialism

The ugliness of colonial power in India emerged at its end with the Bengal Famine and the Partition | Wikimedia Commons

By Vijay Prashad for Scroll.In – Césaire was adamant: colonialism had produced nothing that would earn it respect in the scales of history. This was in 1950, when a few nations has just emerged out of the scar of colonialism and when many societies fought pitched battles to extricate themselves from colonial power. The ugliness of colonial power in India emerged at its end, with callous policy by the British engendering the millions dead in the Bengal Famine of 1943, and the million dead and millions displaced in the Partition of 1947-’48. It was harsh too when one considers that after centuries of rule, the British left behind a region with a literacy rate of merely 12%. Indian historians had looked back at the record of British rule in India to find economic and political policies designed to impoverish the country at the expense of Britain, with massive surpluses from India sucked into Britain to underwrite the industrial revolution and to build a British military force capable of ruling the sprawling British Empire. “India is to be bled,” said the Marquees of Salisbury in the 1870s. So it was. The Indian subcontinent did not submit to this “drain of wealth” with submissiveness. Revolts came hard and fast, from the early days of British colonial rule in the 18th century (such as the Fakir-Sanyasi rebellion in the 1770s) to the final days of its rule in the 20th century (such as the Patri Sarkar in the 1940s).

Vieques to Protest Explosions, Contamination by US Navy

US Navy out of Vieques

By Staff for Telesur. Myrna Pagan, spokesperson of “Vidas Viequenses Valen” or “Vieques Lives Matter,” reported a round of detonations from the former U.S. Navy military site and announced in a press release Saturday the organization’s plans to hold a protest at 5:00 p.m. Monday outside the U.S. Navy’s Restoration Advisory Council building. “After six decades of bombardment and contamination, this town rises up to denounce this practice and to demand the use of existing alternatives for the cleaning of our lands and sea,” she stated. On July 25 and 27, two separate explosions shook the island, releasing poisonous chemicals into the air, 300 units closer to the community’s border and its 9,000 residents. “Smoke columns were seen from our windows and workplaces spreading toxic gas waste into the air from the explosions caused by the (U.S.) Navy … It was one of the strongest explosions we’ve ever felt, but it’s our daily bread,” Pagan said.

'Literal Colonialism': Blackwater Founder Calls For 'American Viceroy' To Rule Afghanistan

Despite the fact that private contractors have a long record of abuse and deadly criminality, Prince believes that they should have a stronger presence in Afghanistan. (Photo: Melissa Golden/Redux)

By Jake Johnson for Common Dreams – Prince insists that these are “cheaper private solutions,” but such privatization would also be a boon for military contractors. As one critic noted, it is hardly surprising that a “war profiteer sees profit opportunity in war.” Blackwater, the private military company Prince founded in 1997—which now operates under the name Academi—made a fortune off the invasion of Iraq. In 2007, a New York Times editorial noted that Blackwater had “received more than $1 billion” in no-bid contracts from the Bush administration; that same year, Blackwater contractors shot and killed more than a dozen civilians in what came to be known as the Nisour Square massacre. But “war profiteering” doesn’t quite capture the scope of Prince’s vision for Afghanistan. Despite the fact that private contractors have a long record of abuse and deadly criminality, Prince believes that they should have a stronger presence in a war that has spanned nearly 16 years and cost trillions of dollars. Such a recommendation, combined with Prince’s invocation of the East India Company—a vestige of the British empire that “conquered, subjugated, and plundered vast tracts of south Asia for a century,” in the words of historian William Dalrymple—amounts to a call for “literal colonialism,” says Anil Kalhan, chair of the New York City Bar Association’s International Human Rights Committee.

DAPL: Twenty-first Century Replay Of Manifest Destiny


By Billy J. Stratton for History News Network. Resistance to colonial oppression has long been a way of life for Lakota and Dakota peoples living at Standing Rock. Their interactions have been defined to a large extent by conflict over land and resources, and through resistance to systematic efforts aimed at the destruction of their cultures and sense of identity through government policies such as allotment, termination, and relocation, along with their forced assimilation in boarding schools and the repression of Native spirituality and religion. Native peoples’ claims to the lands of the Northern Plains, expressed in the very names of North Dakota and South Dakota, have been systematically eroded over the past century and a half through the instruments of war, broken treaties, theft, and corruption.

Communities Vow To Stop Equity One From Building On Cemetery


By Popular Resistance. Bethesda, MD – The members of Macedonia Baptist Church (MBC,) established in 1920, one of the oldest African churches in Montgomery County is engaged in a fight with financial powerhouse Equity One in its pursuit to plunder an African cemetery associated with the church and its members. The current membership of MBC is composed, in part, of descendants of the original African community on River Road. The MBC community, located in the center of one of the wealthiest communities in the US was once a thriving community of descendants of liberated enslaved Africans in the mid-1860s. The homes of the River Road African community were stolen by developers and the graves desecrated. After the tombstones were discarded, Montgomery County allowed a builder to pave over the graves and build an HOC apartment building and a parking lot. It was hoped that this crime against humanity would never be discovered.

Amilcar Cabral’s Revolutionary Anti-Colonialist Ideas


By Firoze Manji for ROAR Magazine – Amilcar Cabral and Frantz Fanon are among the most important thinkers from Africa on the politics of liberation and emancipation. While the relevance of Fanon’s thinking has re-emerged, with popular movements such as Abahlali baseMjondolo in South Africa proclaiming his ideas as the inspiration for their mobilizations, as well as works by Sekyi-Otu, Alice Cherki, Nigel Gibson, Lewis Gordon and others, Cabral’s ideas have not received as much attention. Cabral was the founder and leader of the Guinea-Bissau and Cabo Verde liberation movement, Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde (PAIGC).

Black Flags And Debt Resistance In America’s Oldest Colony

Flickr/ Andrés Díaz

By Max Haiven for ROAR Magazine – Sunday midnight in Santurce, the old downtown working-class neighborhood of Puerto Rico’s capital San Juan which, like seemingly all such neighborhoods around the world, struggles with the uneven brutalities and gifts of gentrification. Old men sit on decaying swivel chairs outside small bars pumping local music, faded newspapers line the insides windows of shops long-shuttered by the island’s ongoing economic crisis. Yet here and there new businesses and experimental social spaces are also flourishing

Newsletter: The Real History Of July 4th Builds Our Power

Colonialist pull down statue of King George

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. Official holidays in the United States tend to reinforce false historical narratives. The Fourth of July is one of those holidays and what the official story misses is the reality that must be told. During the decade before the Revolutionary War, colonists ran one of the most effective nonviolence resistance campaigns against corporate power in history. Rivera Sun describes this campaign of nonviolent actions by showing that many of the tactics people attribute to Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and other modern activists were used in an effective campaign by the colonists including boycotts of British goods, replacing them with their own goods; refusing to cooperate with unjust laws, non-payment of taxes, the development of parallel governments and local assemblies as well as rallies, petitions, marches and protests.

Puerto Rico: 500 Years Of Colonial Bondage & Resistance

Puerto Rico is being put into an austerity vice by US hedge funds. (Photo of Flag of Puerto Rico: Damian Entwistle)

By Abby Martin for Tele Sur – Puerto Rico’s massive debt has been discussed at length in Congress and the media, all omitting the most important fact: the history of being a colonial subject for over 500 years, still owned and controlled by the United States. Abby Martin talks to two professors of Latin American studies, Luis Barrios and Danny Shaw, about the long struggle of Puerto Rico to break the shackles of U.S. and Spanish colonialism—from indigenous resistance to the Young Lords in Harlem.