Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Repudiating Columbus the Genocidier

Sitting Bull. What if there had been more Indigenous People’s victories like the Battle of Little Big Horn? Who would be celebrating Columbus today? Photo: Orlando Scott Goff Wikimedia Commons
If you travel in the West 59th Street section of Manhattan, you must move quickly. Remember to look up every few seconds. It’s not just the unsafe construction cranes. Christopher Columbus, the man, the myth, the statue, and the traffic circle is starting to wobble; its physical and ideological foundation is shaky. The hero worship afforded this man will soon come to an end. The statue will be relocated–not destroyed–and Columbus’ true historical impact will be studied in the public schools. Finally.
Columbus, the mass killer,  enslaved, colonized, mutilated, and massacred Indigenous People in the Americas. When will New York City parents demand that the education bureaucrats end the hypocritical deification of Columbus? 
The recent, unwanted “Columbus Day” spotlight is in part a result of efforts to remove statues honoring White supremacists from public spaces. Robert E. Lee, “Stonewall” Jackson, and Bedford Forrest are among the targets deserving reinterpretation, honesty, and relocation. These statues, honoring thoroughly dishonorable persons, litter the south and the north.
In New York, the long-awaited Dr. J. M. Sims statue was removed from Central Park in April, 2018. Sims was a doctor known as the “father of gynecology.” His statue held a place of honor opposite the New York Academy of Medicine building in el Barrio Central Park. His medical innovations were developed by way of repeated, years long, un-anesthetized surgical experiments on enslaved Alabama women.
Indigenous People’s Day 2019, the healthy alternative to “Columbus Day” will be commemorated today, October 14. It will be highlighted by a sunrise ceremony on Randall’s Island.  
The day’s events will take place amid heavy political and moral pressure to end the celebration of the Christopher Columbus day myth. Sadly, the main defenders of the false narrative are “progressive” politicians Governor Mario Cuomo and Mayor Bill De Blasio.
The Randall Island ceremony is organized by the Redhawk Arts Council a collective of indigenous artists and cultural workers.  This year’s program has been expanded from one to two days. The program started 11 AM Sunday and runs until 2 PM Monday.  There will be cultural performances, food, and crafts vendors. 
Monday’s program will begin at daybreak, so an arrival at around 6:30 AM is required.  The venue is the Harlem River field at Icahn Stadium.  The weather forecast is warm and clear, a perfect backdrop for a majestic sunrise gathering.  Everyone is welcome to participate, but the indigenous people should and will take the lead role in exposing and sharing their culture. 
The public schools will be closed on Monday, although the motive for the closing is to perpetuate the false “Columbus is a hero” narrative.  This creates a perfect opportunity for the type of experiential education the bureaucracy ignores. Parents need to expose their children to the cultural traditions of other communities. Pack a picnic brunch, carry a lawn chair or your yoga mat, and catch the early Randall’s bus at 125th and Lexington.
Last Tuesday, the Washington D. C. City Council voted to rename the Columbus Day celebration Indigenous Peoples’ Day. This was done via emergency legislation that did not require congressional approval. In a statement, council member David Grosso said that, “Columbus Day was officially designated as a federal holiday in 1937, despite the fact Columbus did not discover North America, despite the fact millions of people were already living in North America upon his arrival to the Americas, and despite the fact Columbus never set foot on the shores of the current United States.”

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