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Means: The Meaning Of Columbus Day

Some celebration of Columbus Day from the Chicano Forums:


Russell Means Speaking at the Transform Columbus Day Rally

Russell Means was just one of many speakers at the Four Directions/Transform Columbus Day Rally in Denver, CO. This is the first seven minutes of his eight-minute speech.

The march evolved into a protest of the Columbus Day Parade which began 100 years ago in Denver. Protesters and organizers called for an end to the holiday that celebrates a man who brought genocide to the native peoples of the Americas along with the Trans-Atlantic African slave trade.

Means, along with around twenty to thirty others were later arrested for peaceful civil disobedience by the Denver Police Department. Instances of police brutality were witnessed and recorded by many on-lookers.

Nothing says “Columbus Day” to me like a rant from an America-hating ignoramus like Russell Means.

And in case anyone was wondering what the Transform Columbus Day Alliance is all about, this is from their website:

Transform Columbus Day Alliance

Who We Are

Based in Denver, Colorado, the Transform Columbus Day Alliance [TCDA] is an international coalition of over eighty social justice organizations who are committed to challenging traditional ethnocentric views of Columbus as pioneer and sole discoverer of the Americas, and that he, as well as colonial powers, should be celebrated for 512 years of invasion, cruelty, oppression, and cultural imperialism.  

TCDA has been protesting the Columbus Day parade in Denver since 1989, and calls for the unequivocal abolition of the Columbus Day holiday on a local, state and national level. The celebration of Columbus is the veneration of colonialism, conquest, and genocide. As people of conscience, we must move our society closer to the democratic values of equality for all, through historical accuracy, justice in the judicial and political processes of the country, and respect for diverse peoples and cultures.

To this end, TCDA actively works towards the repeal of the Columbus Day holiday throughout the United States, and the accurate historical portrayal of Christopher Columbus and his colonial relationship with native peoples.

Our Principles

The Transform Columbus Day Alliance is based upon mutual respect, sharing the perspective that Columbus Day is an inherently racist statement of cultural domination. Celebrations honoring Columbus reinforce a historical process of racism, theft, lies, murder, slavery and the destruction of the environment. Individually and collectively, we reject Columbus as a heroic personality, and we reject holidays, celebrations or other expressions of adulation for Columbus.

This Alliance opposes Columbus Day, Columbus celebrations and the Columbus legacy. Noting that the Columbus Day holiday began in Colorado in 1905 when governor of Colorado Alva Adams formally requested Colorado observe the holiday, this Alliance acknowledges its unique responsibility to challenge the Columbus holiday and Columbus celebrations, in Denver, and in Colorado. 

This Alliance is dedicated to the transformation of the Columbus holiday from a hateful, racist holiday that celebrates conquest and domination to a respectful celebration that calls for a future for the Americas without racism, exploitation, or state/corporate domination.

We agree that the process of genocide begun by Columbus continues to the present against the indigenous peoples of the Americas. The Columbus legacy proceeds today in, among other ways, neoliberalism and globalization. We pledge ourselves to active, open opposition to the Columbus legacy in all of its forms.

We also agree that Columbus began the transatlantic slave trade in both Indian and , [sic] the consequences of which remain inadequately addressed by the societies that benefited from these genocidal practices. For commencing the slave trade in the Americas, Columbus deserves no national, state or local celebration.

Columbus celebrations promote theories and practices of racial supremacy and superiority, namely that Columbus should be celebrated for the commencement of the justifiable invasion and conquest of the Americas. Consequently, the destruction of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and Africa is considered to be an acceptable cost for the construction of the current settler societies of the Western Hemisphere. We denounce these theories and practices.

 We repudiate the concept of “discovery,” which is not merely a rhetorical description of Columbus’ endeavor, but has been extended into specific legal and political doctrines that have been, and continue to be, used for the destruction of indigenous peoples. Columbus is the source of the discovery doctrine, and must be rejected…

We condemn all efforts by state and corporate powers to limit popular political organizing and action.

In this vein, we encourage all members of the alliance to oppose, resist and frustrate state/corporate attempts to infiltrate, subvert or destroy our common will.

How beautiful.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Monday, October 8th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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