Post date: November 25, 2011
I will aim to post 5 days a week, Monday through Friday. I will post the day after the reading. So, Monday's post should be about Friday's reading. Does that make sense? Chime in where and whenever you like.
So, tonight I post about yesterday’s reading, pages 1-7 on Thanksgiving Day. What a day...so much to say...and today is Black Friday...but maybe more on that in the next post.
Ok. So. 7 pages in this book holds a lot. And somehow it is still too easy to read it without really absorbing it. And, that is why I chose just a few pages a day - to make it manageable, but also, to make sure I was taking it in!
So, let’s start from the beginning. I’ll attempt to re-cap with my own spin on things:
Columbus was an entrepreneur setting out on a high risk, highly capital-intensive venture. He had to give his investors a return on their investments and when he couldn’t get his hands on the gold quickly enough, he decided he had to use human beings as his dividends, but he treated them like no one or thing should ever be treated and due to that treatment, they died. He murdered them with his greed. He rationalized his actions away. He decided that God intended it that way because he’d designed them to be so “nice”, so “gullible”, so hospitable and with such a strong belief in sharing that they practically led themselves to slaughter. It was like the stars were aligning for Columbus, he’d found his calling and God was sending him signs that he was on the right track; making things so easy for him, it must be that he was meant to be “a winner”! And well, when there’s a winner, there’s gonna be a loser, right? That's just the way life is. Them’s the breaks, eh. Business is business. If you can dominate and be the “market leader” then I guess you should...so he did! He rounded up 15,000 people - the people who were living here when he arrived, the people who welcomed him and shared with him. He penned them in and assigned guards to keep them in line and he chose “the best” 500 and packed them into a ship to take back to Spain and enslave. 200 of those people died on the ship...that’s just business I guess. Only thing is he hadn’t intended to incur that much of a loss on his “cost of goods sold” - and he didn’t even get to sell them, he had to give them away to keep his investors happy until the gold came in. Oh, wait, were we talking about human beings or...? Yes, human beings who were attacked by foreign terrorists (maybe the first terrorist attack on America (which native peoples call Turtle Island) was by Columbus...wait, did I say maybe?)...When these people who’d been attacked by foreign terrorists and then kidnapped from their homes and stuffed into a ship and then as the ship travelled across the sea, endured witnessing the deaths of their family, when they arrived to Spain, they were not embarrassed about being naked, they “were no more embarrassed than animals.”
Well, that must be a great reason to think of them as less than human...
"In two years, through murder, mutilation or suicide, half of the 250,000 Indians on Haiti were dead."
After 23 years, 200,000 of those people were dead.
after 158 years, none of them, nor any of their descendants remained living.
(That's like the entire city of Boise, Idaho or Daytona Beach or Lexington-Fayette, TX, or Baton Rouge, LA or Fremont, CA no longer existing in 158 years. Well, the city might exist, but every single current resident and all of their descendants would be deceased. Not a single person would remain.)
Spanish christians were, for example, beheading little boys for fun - to test the sharpness of their blades. The People could not defend themselves against the Spanish so they began to commit suicide. They were enslaved in mines separated from their wives and children. Out of fatigue many ceased to procreate and many of their newborns died. A young priest, Bartolome de las Casas, who was present and witnessed their treatment said, “while I was in Cuba, 7000 children died in three months.”
And he wrote “...from 1494 to 1508 (14 years time), over three million people had perished from war, slavery, and the mines. Who in future generations will believe this? I myself writing it as a knowledgeable eyewitness can hardy believe it...”
Indeed, who will believe it? Who will even know it? Especially if they are not taught it in school? If it continues to be presented as periphery information...
What if that were our 5th grade education? Day one.
And kindergarten through 4th were all about the native peoples, the first people who lived here. The people who knew how to work with the land, who respected it, who did not waste it, did not destroy it, did not seem to have an intense lust for more, more, more. Let them be our first models in school, their ways, their understandings...and then, in 5th grade, tell the kids how they were murdered and enslaved and lied to and displaced by the gold and power hungry “great explorers” of Europe. And then after we are reminded, by the pure emotional responses of honest children, of the horror of those actions that are at the foundation of our country. Then let us explain how we all make mistakes and sometimes rationalize behaviors that we know in our hearts are wrong, but that we must learn from our mistakes, and that we are still working to heal from this great mistake...let that be the honest education that will give us, our children and, most importantly, the earth that sustains us, a fighting chance.