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On Columbus day

Shivani Tripathi

Posted on October 8, 2018 16:01

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It's Columbus day, but what is there to celebrate?

“Pocahontas, Pocahontas,” Trump said, referring to Senator Elizabeth Warren. “I have more Indian blood in me than Pocahontas and I have none. I mean, sadly, but I have more than she does.”

“They said to her, ‘Why do you say you’re of Indian heritage?’ ‘Well my mother said that I have high cheekbones,’” Trump continued. “Well, I have high cheekbones too. Hey! Maybe I’m an Indian and I’m going to do very well.”

This rally took place a few days before Columbus day. While we all can denounce Trump’s remarks, what jumps out is politicians reducing Native Americans to caricatures and exploiting them for political gain.

This Columbus day, I cannot help but ponder the legacy of colonization. It wreaked terror on Native communities, but most Americans would not be here today if it weren’t for Columbus’s voyage. Columbus day, along with the rest of American history, should not be vilified or blindy praised. Rather, we Americans should spending the day understanding our nation’s past. 

First, we need to learn more about the Native American lifestyle. Most of us view their culture as nothing but red feathers, teepees, and tribes. However, these belittling stereotypes originate from colonizers dismissing the Native Americans as savages due to fundamental differences in culture; or more specifically, attitudes towards property. The Europeans regarded land as a commodity, always seeking to acquire more and using it as a status symbol. Natives, on the other hand, did not hold the same capitalist attitudes towards nature.

However, the colonizers didn’t understand how private property was not part of Native American culture, instead assuming that Natives made little modifications to their environment because they were uncivilized. “Puritans insisted that the Christian God meant for them to enjoy the land, in reward for their godly industry and to punish the Indians for their pagan indolence,” Historian Alan Taylor wrote. “Indeed, ignoring the Indians’ horticulture, the colonists dismissed the Indians as little better than wild animals.”

Our ignorance persists to the modern day; The reservations have imprisoned the Native Americans, where they are suffering from the opioid crisis. The government has introduced capitalist sins such as gambling and casinos into a culture that was so close to nature and healthy.

Native Americans have been subjected to tremendous injustice throughout the past few centuries. While we cannot undo the past, we must show greater sensitivity towards our history. Native Americans are not feathers. Native Americans are not the punchline of a political joke. Native Americans are not just high cheekbones, but they are people on whose corpses America was formed. 

Shivani Tripathi

Posted on October 8, 2018 16:01

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Source: Daily Mail
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President Trump made no mention of Native Americans as he marked his first Columbus Day as president, as more U.S. cities...

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