Archive for Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Calling out Columbus Day

Haskell group wants holiday to be discussed, honor indigenous peoples

October 9, 2007


Large crowds gather in downtown Lawrence to protest holiday

More than 100 people attended the demonstration organized by the American Indian Studies Club of Haskell Indian Nations University. Enlarge video

Shereena Baker, a Haskell Indian Nations University student, was among about 100 people protesting Columbus Day on Monday in South Park. The protest carried into downtown Lawrence and was aimed at starting discussions about why the holiday is celebrated.

Shereena Baker, a Haskell Indian Nations University student, was among about 100 people protesting Columbus Day on Monday in South Park. The protest carried into downtown Lawrence and was aimed at starting discussions about why the holiday is celebrated.

Rae Lynn hopes a protest march on Monday educates the community and, perhaps, serves as a catalyst for change.

Lynn, a Haskell Indian Nations University senior, was among about 100 people who first gathered at South Park and then carried their protest of Columbus Day into downtown Lawrence.

"We want to generate discussion within families," Lynn said. "For them to talk about why we actually celebrate this holiday."

Last week, Lynn and others from Haskell unsuccessfully lobbied the city to change the holiday's name from Columbus Day to "Indigenous Peoples Day." On Monday she participated in the second annual demonstration against the holiday in Lawrence.

The event, organized by Haskell's American Indian Studies Club, included speakers presenting their views and reciting poetry, and people singing songs.

Jodi Voice, a Haskell sophomore, attended the 2006 rally. She said she wanted this year's event to focus on awareness and education.

"We're here to educate everyone," Voice said. "You see people walking around, and they could stop and hear something and remember that for another day."

After the gathering in South Park, attendees took to the streets with signs and banners. They marched along Massachusetts Street to chants of "We will never go away, this is Indigenous Peoples Day" and "Fight imperialism, fight genocide, no more Columbus Day."

"It's a time for celebration," Haskell senior Jimmy Beason said of the event. "We're still here, we're still resisting."

The day's events concluded at Haskell, where participants took part in "teach-ins" and discussions concerning the demonstration and the march.

- 6News intern Crispin Lopez can be reached at 832-6335.


John Kyle 10 years, 8 months ago

It was a good time and want to thank the students at Haskell who put the march, dinner and seminar together. This should become a yearly event whether or not the city commission changes the name. As one speaker reminded us, it's easy to forget that Lawrence has two universities.

matahari 10 years, 8 months ago

every dog has his day no matter how rabid, and most likely infested from some other dogs' day~

RR 10 years, 8 months ago

Altho' I doubt that sign-carrying demonstrators will do much except create animosity among the ignorant or unstable (see above), I have to admit that "Columbus Day" is an anachronism. I didn't even remember that it WAS Columbus Day until the march reminded me. But who commemorates the SECOND person to make a discovery anyway? We know now that Leif Eriksson was the first European known to have landed on American soil -- in the year 1000 A.D., 500 years before Columbus landed in the West Indies. The archaeological remains of his Viking settlement have been verified on the north coast of Newfoundland at L'Anse aux Meadows. The fabled "Vinland" was even farther to the South apparently. (Yeah, yeah, I know where Vinland is. . . ).

It is also worth noting that native North Americans came very close to discovering Europe even earlier than the year 1000. Eskimo people had settlements on the east coast of Greenland well before the Vikings arrived there. Although Greenland became a Danish possession, it is usually considered geographically still part of North America. Just a short distance farther in ocean-going kayak and they'd have made it to Iceland = Europe.

monkeywrench1969 10 years, 8 months ago


Have you also seen the recent theories tearing down the whole "Land bridge" concept. Many of ht enew archealogical sites are out on the coasts under water. Much has been discovered about how many areas were above sea level and then there were shifts in which caused many settlements to be submerged. The influx of people may have been much earlier and easier from Asia and Europe than previously believed through much simpler routes by sea.

I_AM_AN_ANARCHIST 10 years, 8 months ago

I_AM_AN_ANARCHIST (Anonymous) says:

In the year 1495, they went on a great slave raid, rounded up fifteen hundred Arawak men, women, and children, put them in pens guarded by Spaniards and dogs, then picked the five hundred best specimens to load onto ships. Of those five hundred, two hundred died en route:.

Trying to put together an army of resistance, the Arawaks faced Spaniards who had armor, muskets, swords, horses. When the Spaniards took prisoners they hanged them or burned them to death. Among the Arawaks, mass suicides began, with cassava poison. Infants were killed to save them from the Spaniards. In two years, through murder, mutilation, or suicide, half of the 250,000 Indians on Haiti were dead. When it became clear that there was no gold left, the Indians were taken as slave labor on huge estates, known later as encomiendas. They were worked at a ferocious pace, and died by the thousands. By the year 1515, there were perhaps fifty thousand Indians left. By 1550, there were five hundred. A report of the year 1650 shows none of the original Arawaks or their descendants left on the island. - Howard Zinn, excerpted from a People's History of the United States

I just don't understand, what would people Indigenous to this hemisphere have against Columbus. Columbus day for native americans is like Hitler day for Jews, disabled, or homosexuals. Columbus may not have pulled the have carried out the next five hundred years worth of domination, but he started it all. He set the standard. All the comments on here about "you lost get over it," or last year talking about "savages invading" or "far-left never decides to start scalping conservatives". All of this is racism that proves we need an day to talk about and educate people.

For instance whites brought the practice of scalping not natives: ":from cowboys and others who often hunted and killed Indians for sport. Some whites made a living by selling Indian scalps to the Mexican government who paid $50 for a male, $25 for a female and $10 for a child's scalp."

This practice was seen as justifiable because native peole were often viewed as animals not people and therefore traded for pelts as if they were any other fur

manus_flexibilis 10 years, 8 months ago

Being un-bigoted in a contrasting way, 'the Russian mafia lobbied for Stalin day and the nation observed'! How would Jew America respond? Better yet the Aryan brotherhood lobbying for Hitler day {wear your swastika day}. Jewish Americans would have a frenzy with all their political and judicial clout! Equality expired on June 26, 1876....The red society understands this day will never be forgotten! We, including you and me; journey on in a peaceful manner.

germany1999 10 years, 8 months ago

In South Dakota, they changed the name to Native American Day. There are cultural events throughout the weekend, like for example, there is a huge wacipi - powwow in Rapid City. Every thing concludes at the Crazy Horse Memorial in the beautiful "He Sapa" - Black Hills. I enjoyed my weekend there.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.