On Columbus Day, We’re Honoring a Lie

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columbus-genocideI’m not that old, but I do recall in my elementary school social studies classes being taught that Christopher Columbus discovered America, and that he was a great pioneer and visionary.  Which might be true on some levels.  Who’s to say we would be where we are now as one of these strongest nations to have ever existed, if it weren’t for his voyage centuries ago.

And while he didn’t “discover America” (he actually landed in the Bahamas), there’s no denying that he has a place in our history books for his trip across the Atlantic — as do the Europeans that had landed in the “Americas” in the 11th century.

The problem is, our history books don’t often tell the entire story.  Let’s face it — his trip was triggered by his own ego and the greed of the Spanish.

Let’s not forget one very simple fact — he didn’t “discover” anything.  You can’t discover a land that’s already inhabited.  Native Americans were already in the “new world” long before Europeans arrived here to pillage their lands for their own gains.  It’s always baffled me how we still teach this idiocy that these Europeans “discovered” something.

Our history books still continue to downplay the total slaughter and abuse levied against Native Americans.  We often talk about slavery as it relates to African Americans (as we should), but rarely is it mentioned that Columbus himself was a slave trader.  My colleague Arik Bjorn has a pretty great essay which delves deeper into this, and I’d highly encourage checking it out.

There’s something wrong with the fact that our classroom history books gloss over some of the horrors bestowed on Native Americans, while honoring a man whose legend is mostly built on a lie.  We give a federal holiday to a man who didn’t “discover” anything and honestly wasn’t a great individual in many ways, while we don’t properly honor those Native Americans who truly “discovered” America.

He came to the “new world” driven by ego, greed, power and notoriety.  Why we continue to perpetuate this legend that he was some selfless savior who sought to find a new world for noble intentions is beyond me.

While I know most of us enjoy federal holidays, I think it’s time this one gets renamed and refocused.  It’s time we stop filtering our history books to cover up the horrors that were levied against Native Americans, from the landing of Columbus in the Bahamas to the flaws of our Founding Fathers while we “established a nation for freedom.”

As a nation, we seem to conveniently forget that there were people already here and those settlers that came here took these lands by brutal force.

I’ve said often that this nation, though great in many ways, was built by the slavery of one race and the genocide of another.  We herded Native Americans up much like we would cattle (though at times we seemed to treat cattle better than we did Natives) and put them on patches of land we picked out for them.  Then we often called them savages as we slaughtered them by the thousands to near extinction.

I say we keep Columbus Day as a federal holiday, only rename it something that honors Native Americans.  South Dakota already calls it Native Americans’ Day — maybe it’s time to consider something like that on the federal level.

Because by having a day which honors a man whose reputation is built mostly on fiction rather than fact, all we’re doing is honoring a lie.



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Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Erik Tiberius Lervold

    sigh. i really hate how far up your asses you guys’s heads are sometimes. first of, columbus “discovered” america, as in the continent, not the country. that clear? good. he discovered it for the europeans. meaning other people knew it was, but the europeans were ignorant of such a fact, that this is the day that they stopped being ignorant. “oh but leif erikson…” leif came and went and didnt bring any culture and didnt left any at all. good job, leif, you forgot to publish a paper, you suck. “but columbus landed in america american united states of america!” columbus didn’t set foot in united states proper, maybe if you count puerto rico, but that wasn’t a territory until 1898.

    next point. do we blame einstein for the deaths of people in nagasaki, hiroshima, chernobyl, the destruction of the pacific ocean thanks to that reactor in japan and other countless atrocities humans have done thanks no e=mc^2? no we don’t. but we should. according to you. columbus did kill people, usually sailors that would mutiny against him, but in that case is kill or be killed. but he didn’t roam the countryside of la hispan~ola with a vulcan cannon shooting tainos while drinking coca cola and raping a seminole woman. he came, he checked stuff out, he left and he told people (in one instance they did build a fort in la hispan~ola, fuerte navidad, but that was because one of the ships went down and they had to leave the men there and come back later for them. they had disappear, no one knew to where.) so technically no, he did not kill any amerindians.

    last point, you got beef with the name? that is easy to solve. we latins call it dia de la raza (or day of the race, for you that dont know anything about glorious spanish). why? it is the day we, latins, as a people, were born. and yes, we were born of blood, massacre, destruction and demise, rape, murder and brutality, but out of the ashes of all that came out a group of people, a group of decent, loving people that is better for it because we understand the sides of the spanish, the amerindian and the african. and yes, we still make mistakes, we aint perfect, but we understand and we made our peace with it. maybe you should too. i mean, the world doesn’t revolve around you and your white guilt. bury the hatchet, love each other, move forward. call it the day of the americas. that sounds pretty. i mean, we already beat you at taking down slavery, and we didnt have a civil war because of it. oooooh, burn.

    • J Smith

      You have dome bad spelling there, though your second paragraph makes a great point; sadly what this article missed out is that Christopher Columbus didn’t just kill people, or “sailors that would mutiny against him” as you said, he actually did go and “roam the countryside” slaughtering people as you mentioned. He in fact nearly wiped out the whole population within years of his landing. I read an article (which you can easily find online) that shows the population killed was 80% of the full American populace all due to Christopher Columbus.

      The numbers are truly shocking, he was a horrible, slave merchant, and mass murderer.

      Also you start by angrily hating the idea of changing the name of the day, then at the end say “call it the day of the americas” So you don’t even know what you are arguing for, you have come to the exact same conclusion as the writer of the article…

      Apply cold water to burnt area.

    • J Smith

      And yes the spelling mistake was a joke.

    • just an american

      erik you need to do some research. You play off Leif Erickson like he did nothing while in fact the Norwegians had settlements here that lasted longer than the US has been here (blowing the lie of no culture left behind that you try to push on the readers). The scandanavians had settlements for 500 years here! WHy did they not conquer america? Because my people had not been exposed to the plague that wiped out 85 percent of the population then. If the english had got here when the native americans were at full strength king george would have been sent packing, as it was, the brits had to thank the dirty plague ridden spanish for killing 3/4 of the north american population by microbes.

      Further more you lie when you state Columbus did not kill any amerindians (your word). While this is true on first first trip, you should finish reading about his subsequent 3 trips and see what the white man did.

      It is hilarious when a fool gets up and preaches like he knows so much. FInd a book and get less stupid please.

      • Anthonij

        The Icelanders did come to North America but they had no long lasting settlement (e.g. L’Anse aux Meadows)… And knowledge of the Icelandic visits to NA did not make it out of Scandinavia… It was an impressive achievement but had no lasting impact, which Columbus’ voyages obviously did.

    • Ary

      Also lets not forget the sex slaves. He sold girls, not women, GIRLS ages 9-12 as sex slaves. He was a horrible person, and I use that word loosely.
      As a Native American Indian, I find your word “amerindian” just as offensive as if I were to call you a “spic”.
      So you say people should get over it? Fine we will, as soon as the celebrating of a murderous, sex trafficker stops.

      • sarah and shawn miller

        lets not forget they were killing, raping pillaging and warring against each other well before the Europeans ever showed up, so he did not do anything they were not already doing to themselves . he also was aided by those he found by having people sold to him to sell later.

    • Pipercat

      You should also get a little refresher on the word “latins.” It’s Latin and just for clarification, Italians are Latin and so are the the Spanish, Portugese and even the French. For extra credit, Latin was the language spoken by the Romans.

  • Richard Ervin

    Well…I am all for teaching everything…like how tribes would sell people to him and such. Yes he was a greedy vane man…however he did change the world. Can we truly view his actions without taking into context the world and times in which he lived?

    • MJBurton56

      Good points … that’s what I was wrestling with, “wellllll, yeah his actions were vile, but then again we wouldn’t be here, otherwise!!” I’m all for brutal honesty in the telling of the story – warts and all – giving him a little credit for getting here, but also including the atrocities he then waged in his path of destruction…

    • Palto

      “remember the context of the era.”

      Funny how conservatives don’t take a gazillion year old book about a fictional sky king in that same context.

      • sarah and shawn miller

        im not religious but when the bible has to do with the article at and let us know and our comment will not be useless and irrelevant
        or should we just say funny how liberals don’t take any facts in that same context?

      • JOHN McCARTHY NUDE ARREST

        what EXACTLY are “conservatives” ( regressives) actually ‘conserving’???? based upon historical SPENDING and EQUALITY for ALL americans; its NOT those two issues; so what EXACTLY?????

  • Tillmann Puschka

    oh, he discovered something alright- he discovered that people were already inhabiting other parts of the world.

  • Mark Strange

    A lot of people here in oklahoma that call themselves “White” are mixed in their family history. I am one of those people. I haven’t had the change to prove my native heritage and would love to find it, perhaps through a DNA ancestry test, along with other awesome links that might be a fun surprise. But I agree, History books need to be as honest as possible. History isn’t an exact science. It’s more of a detective novel. You have tangible evidence through archaeology, but everything else is just eyewitness accounts told through story. People lie. People make mistakes. People are generally bias. People tell tall tales . And we can’t interview dead people that have no remaining family members that knew them and could speak for them. It really is His(her)story. The further back we go, the hard it is to piece together the truth. But when we do know something, it deserves to be told.

  • thomasbone63

    According to the white man, there’s nothing that they have not discovered. They discovered everything.

    • sarah and shawn miller

      according to the black man, they never ever do anything wrong. its always the white man that made them do it

      • thomasbone63

        You are living a lie. You can’t even show your face. Getting to back to the point, the only thing you’ve discovered was corruption, thievery, murders, need I go on. How can you discover lands where people reside? You were hustlers, thieves, mass murderers. Columbus was a criminal, check your history.

      • sarah and shawn miller

        sure like we have to assume that is really you…. fail…. someone can discover something for people who did not know it existed. It is not like anyone said it was invented. it also does not mean he did so for the entire world. Serious fail.

      • JOHN McCARTHY NUDE ARREST

        sounds rather white trash regressive of U belaboring the sins (????) of the African populace in world history

      • JOHN McCARTHY NUDE ARREST

        im willing 2 wager serious$$$$ that U are as “African” as I am

      • sarah and shawn miller

        Wager all the money you like. You are free to do that. As well as have your own opinion no matter how wrong it is. Great freedom isn’t it? Enjoy!

      • JOHN McCARTHY NUDE ARREST

        my opinion in socio-economic expostulations remains fortified by CBO and us treasury and department of labor STATS– unlike white trash regressive GOP scum who tell us how JEEEE$U$ is needed to legislate america

  • gian keys LOVES shemale porn

    another lie from the ” winners” historically– of that era
    =================================================
    white trash religious regressives then,,,,,,,,,and now

    • sarah and shawn miller

      lol yes because Columbus is certainly a religious thing lol. oh you liberals , just have to hate everyone just to feel good about yourselves lol. hate evil Columbus and the euopeans for slaving, raping, murdering pillaging. never mind the fact they had been doing that to themselves well before any European ever set foot here. they just had better technology to do it with,. but they didn’t do anything that wasn’t being done already nor that wasn’t aided by those already here ( being hired to murder other tribes , selling off prisoners as slaves to Europeans) another inconvenient truth we don’t like talking about from the progressives that never actually progress….

      • thomasbone63

        I will use the racisal slur you use against Blacks, Columbus was a thug.

      • sarah and shawn miller

        balcks use that slur against themselves daily in music, movies, on the corner etc. so good luck playing the vicitim

      • thomasbone63

        Blacks have been victims of white oppression for over 200 years, so it really dose not take luck in playing the victim.

      • sarah and shawn miller

        first off the white half of my bloodline did not show up until the 1920’s to America. but is demonized all the same. guess what? no slavery in the 1920’s. so blaming them is just poor poor pittifull me victim. second im half African. and no my parent was not African American. my mother was AFRICAN. and im here to tell you something. you think your so bad off, mistreated etc. take a trip to Africa. live there a month if you can. you dumb @ss will run back here so fast it would make your head spin. no one is forcing you to live here. you can leave anytime you want. and until you call for the blacks who owned slaves and out own people in afdrica who helped sell out own to be punished and etc etc then you can shut your mouth. no white person today I know of ever owned a slave unless you know something I don’t. yet you ,now what? blacks own others as slaves still to this day in Africa. but yeah lets keep crying about something that stopped 150 years ago. also did you know Portugal was the highest transporter/owner of slaves? America was 4th down the list. Portugal was number one, and the number one slave owning country was brazil. they beat the pants by far off America. but do we see brazil whine all the time? you play the victim because its easier than just becoming a man and doing for yourself like I have. you play the vicitim because democrats want that so you will vote for them because you are to lazy or incompetent to do for yourself and you think you need them. the only thing we are still victims of is being used as a tool by the left. the only things we are still victims of is being a product of our own laziness and incompetence. the only things we are vicgtims of is what we choose to be,i just chose to stop being one. apparently for you its easier to keep being one. very sad. very sad indeed

      • JOHN McCARTHY NUDE ARREST

        ok; explain to me how joyous it was to be BLACK– which U are NOT– an living in America ( especially the white trash regressive SOUTH) from 1920 to say,,,,1967?? shall we review the FACTS?

  • EG

    And the Vatican and some of the Catholic churches still to this day are adorned with the stolen, melted down gold from the Native Americans.
    If I remember correctly Cristobol Columbo did take captive Native Americans back to Spain to get approval for more money for more voyages.

    A few years ago while taking a field trip with my child’s class, a Caucasion person who spoke to the class made the Native Americans look bad and evil and wrong, and totally to blame for what happened to all of them. I am Caucasion and I was offended. So yes the history books information do need to be changed.

  • Steve Brains

    It’s been called “Hunter’s Day in Colorado for more than 20 years.

  • Steve Brains

    The Chinese have been dated in Western California Circa 1421.

  • Joel

    Let us not also forget the lies that claim that he “discovered” that the world was round, or that he was the “first” to cross the trans-Atlantic ocean. Also when explorers first set foot in the Americas there were an estimated 100 million people living in north America at the time. (in case your wondering what happened to them, 90% of them died from a plague)

  • sarah and shawn miller

    blah blah blah , native americans emigrated here just like Europeans did, they did it much earlier yes, but they emigrated all the same.they fought and killed raped and took slaves of each other long before Europeans showed up. Europeans just had better technology to do the same things. but they did not do anything they were not already doing themselves or had already done, so no he didn’t discover it except that he discovered it for people who had not known about it already///

    • thomasbone63

      You are so ignorant. I do not believe you believe what you are saying. I don’t care whether you have a GED or 4th grade education. You need to go to the nearest library and really read up on your history. What did he discover? You dummies thought the world was flat. I will give him credit for that, nothing more.

      • sarah and shawn miller

        oh no I don’t post a picture of myself. you are so much better because you do. oh wow. just because he discovered something eurpoeans did not know… does not mean he discovered it for EVERYONE. why don’t you go grab a dictionary and read up more on definitions. discovering something I did not know for myself or my family etc does not mean I discovered it for you that may already know. and as far as history goes, the day you admit blacks took slaves, blacks owned slaves IN AND OUT OF AFRICA, and that they sold them as well to Europeans ,we can actually have a real discussion on history. but in the mean time just selectively believe the history you want..and I will do the same. and bud im only half white, I just choose not to be racist and be known strictly for the color of my skin like the president. although you were quick to be racist assuming I was not black in anyway. keep them liberal racist assumptions keep flowing!!!

      • thomasbone63

        There’s no difference between you and the kkk. You all hide behind sheets and hoods and if you don’t then you are probably a closet racist that smiles in peoples faces then burn crosses at night. You have so much to be proud of. It all comes down to you are a racist coward.

      • sarah and shawn miller

        besides the difference im half black???? or can you not read? im guessing you missed that? is there no difference between you and the new black panthers? you want to kill white babies my brother? two can play your ignorant game….and the picture is my picture associated with my gmail account. and since two ofm us use the same email account I didn’t see a need in picking a picture of just one of us. and when you post here and it asks how you want to log in I just piucked gmail as I don’t use facebook twitter etc. so by default that’s the picture it shows. I didn’t choose it for the forums its default to my gmail picture. now don’t we realloy feel stupid?

      • thomasbone63

        Being half black doesn’t mean anything. President is half black and white people call him a racist. Was there anything in my past statements that stated I want to kill white babies? No one gives a damn whether you cuddle people or not. I’m no black panther, however I don’t bite my tongue to nobody. I see you are the type that loves to play tic for tac. . The kkk are republicans. The dixicrats went from democrat to republican, so understand the history of your social club.