We need to resist against hate, xenophobia, and all forms of oppression against Christopher Columbus for what he has done to Indigenous people. We shall celebrate Indigenous People’s Day.
Please support Indigenous Peoples’ Day all over the cities and towns in the country, “Columbus Day” is a commonly used as a white privilege label to support to any bigotry, hostility, and discrimination against Native Americans and its use is often politically motivated. That is why I do not support Christopher Columbus’s legacy in secrecy, war, and violence in Native American lands. To date, if Columbus was alive today, hate crime charges without question where the trial is necessary for Columbus.
There are plenty of literature reviews on Native Americans and criminal justice, found one of the literature reviews focusing ethno-violence and found not a single case of Native Americans as victims of racially motivated violence. It makes them deeper than an invisible cloak. It is literally bad! What had Native Americans done to them? Kurt Vonnegut writes in his book, Breakfast of Champions: “As children we were taught to memorize this year with pride and joy as the year people began living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America. Actually, people had been living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North American for hundreds of years before that. 1492 was simply the year sea pirates began to rob, cheat, and kill them.”
What is Indigenous People’s Day? It is about celebrating of the Indigenous peoples in North America to celebrate their culture, language, and arts. It is important to appreciate them as part of humanity and it is also difficult to imagine and understand the current strains of Indigenous peoples where they face the connections with colonialism. As for Columbus’ trial, according to the United Nations: 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide:
any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such:
a: Killing members of the group;
b: Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
c: Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
d: Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
e: Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. (Article II)
Do we need to celebrate Columbus Day what he has robbed Indigenous Peoples lives? It should be student-centered, human-centered, and love-centered that we need to retain our knowledge about Indigenous People in schools. Also, it can be educator-led that we need strong educators to bring in stronger awareness that impacts learning. At a human compassion, we all need a healthy terminology such as Indigenous People’s Day.
Finally, it should be Hate-Free, as Indigenous People deserve an education without financial hardships. They deserve a chance to thrive in their lives, without facing hate and racism daily. We need teachers and learners clearly to share a common interest in positive meaning and we need to re-invest Native American literature more often in our public schools and universities. Can we channel our knowledge toward the essentials of teaching and learning about Indigenous People’s Day? Please visit this YouTube video with captions provided:
Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier
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I am 42 years old male, my government skin is white, and a direct line with indigenous people in my family, I will copy and paste this powerful statement that today people still thinks Indigenous people are “people of color”:
A common phrase used to describe minority or underrepresented populations is “people of color.” American Indians are not, to quote Elizabeth Cook Lynn, a member of the Crow Creek Sioux tribe and founding editor of Wicazo Sa (a leading journal in American Indian Studies), “people of color”. Cook-Lynn writes:
Native populations in America are not “ethnic” populations; they are not “minority” populations, neither immigrant nor tourist, nor “people of color.” They are the indigenous peoples of this continent. They are landlords, with very special political and cultural status in the realm of American identity and citizenship. Since 1924, they have possessed dual citizenship, tribal and U.S.; and are the only population that has not been required to deny their previous national citizenship in order to possess U.S. citizenship. They are known and documented as citizens by their tribal nations. (1)
After watching a Deaf white woman with privileges video to belittle Deaf people of color conference couple of days ago, I do not know what to say, more like tying knots in my stomach. This post might be bit long to read—and try my best to unpack my white privileges. When I was a college student at a local community college, I signed up for African American History as part of my degree requirement before transferring to a university. My majors were: English, Liberal Studies, and Sociology.
That day in 2005 when I entered into the classroom to learn and appreciate African American history, I reached a very low moment in my academic experience when the teacher turned out to be a white male and had no experience in teaching this subject. It was a very last minute notice by the History department and I was offended. That was where I decided to withdraw that course on the same day. I felt good about it—that was part of unpacking my white privileges.
Later I became a university student—I signed up for American Indian Literature that was taught by Indigenous professor. I signed up for Jewish Literature that was also taught by Jewish professor. Then I signed up for Advanced Topics in American Literature: The Harlem Renaissance taught by Black professor. If Deaf Studies is taught or run the department by a hearing person, what do you call it? Is that a cultural appropriation? What about disempowerment? Dirty politics will always get in the way.
The whole point is that it is appreciated by what it is called cultural appreciation to learn about another culture with respect and courtesy by their own experience through the trials of oppression. In 2010, I attended National Deaf People of Color Conference: Hands Joined, Signs United, Colors Flying held in Portland, Oregon, it has popped my eyes even more coming from Deaf POC. They were the teachers of stories. I thank them for their experiences.
….What societies really, ideally, want is a citizenry which will simply obey the rules of society. If a society succeed in this, that society is about to perish.” [A Talk to Teachers]
What this means is, if we project that someone fail, they indeed might. But if we encourage and educate them, especially to take the occasional chance and challenge existing knowledge, we could truly advance as a society.
It is about education of People of Color. What I learned all these years not just the courses I took, but all the books I’ve read is that people of color has been stigmatized and never allow a Deaf white people with privileges to challenge Deaf people of color conference’s goals and missions on the basis of gender and race. Did it create an environment of paranoia? They already suffered as a result of extreme prejudice and stereotype.
This pertains to social problems because there is definitely a large gulf of misunderstanding between POC and whites that seems to pervade society to this day, and that is tragic if we are to share the earth’s resources and live and work together as a human race. When no one asks honest racial questions about it, generations of ignorance and hatred fill the spaces between different races. When we all make an extra effort to understand each other’s experience or at least learn to it, that is progress in filling these racial gaps between people.
If I may make friendly suggestions to read three those books just to start and understand:
Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk
John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me
And two movies to watch: Dear White People: A Satire about Being a Black Face in a White Place and 13th: From Slave to Criminal With One Amendment.
Yes, I have more books to share, but I feel this is good enough for now. It is only beginning—time to unpack white privileges right there. Remember, Hands Joined, Signs United, Colors Flying……Deaf People of Color comes FIRST—and try not to break up the hands, signs, and colors into white privileges. Make a good example.
Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.
Time to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day! No more Columbus Day! I am happy to inform that more cities are recognizing Native Americans today—the movement to change the holiday to celebrate the history and contributions of indigenous cultures around America. It is a huge deal.
My grandmother on my father’s side–her own mother–my great grandmother was Cherokee born and raised in small town called John Day in Oregon–she died at “childbirth” giving my grandmother a life and she refused to talk about it because her father (my great grandfather) told her not to bring up about it. I was from small town, Yacolt, on the southwestern border of Washington, in the shadow of Mount St. Helens. The name, from local Native American lore, means “haunted place” or “valley of the demons.”
I had no idea that I have Cherokee blood until I was 33 and I begin to learn more about Native Americans now and then. I had no idea about Wounded Knee incident in South Dakota where one of the courses I signed up for requiring us to read one of many books called “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” written by Dee Brown really bury my heart. Hint: Did you know that there was a Deaf Native American in that book by the name of Black Coyote who “started” it all? Then after that, I started to read more Native Americans books–from political to cultural to history to hate crimes and so. The picture you see above I bought in DC—I have more books stored inside a box in the great Pacific Northwest.
As for hate crimes, it does happen—there is plenty of virulent hatred and bigotry toward Native Americans in this country—and feel that they only suffer from the challenges of poverty and neglect as well limited access to opportunities and it is not true. They are survivors of hateful assaults on given day now and then. I think diversity is racist in America. Why do I think it is racist? Because it presumes that the color of Native American or the surname of a Native American defining his or her thinking, that somehow he or she will bring something different to the intellectual table just because he/she looks Native American or his/her name looks Native American.
One of books, which had influenced me greatly written by Barbara Perry, called Silent Victims: Hate Crimes Against Native Americans, where Perry writes in page 25, “There is an important distinction between the two terms. The former, genocide, refers to the explicit and frequently brutal physical violence perpetrated against Native Americans in an effort to eliminate them as a people. There are those who would oppose the use of such strong terminology.”–Is true enough in this country with Perry writes another one in same page, “The second term, ethnocide, refers to the much more subtle efforts to deculturate Native Americans, sometimes through physical violence but more often through the social violence implied in efforts to “resocialize” or “civilize” Natives.”
Now I understand hate crimes more.
When I visited Harper’s Ferry, there were two rivers there—Princess Shenandoah and Potomac Warrior why the rivers were named. Princess Shenandoah and Potomac Warrior were forbidden to get married by their tribes. They both cried a lot and made the rivers to meet. That is where the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers meet. The Native American folklore. One of my favorite stories from a book I hold in my possession The Storytelling Stone: Traditional Native American Myths and Tales edited and with an introduction by Susan Feldman about ‘Bat.’
“Once there was a war between beasts and birds. Bat was on birds’ side. In the first battle, the birds were badly beaten. As soon as Bat saw that the battle was going against them, he crept away, hid under a log, and stayed there till the fight was over. When the animals were going home, Bat slipped in among them. After they had gone some distance, they saw him and asked one another: “How is this? Bat is one of the men who fought against us?”
Bat heard them, and he said, “Oh, no! I am one of you; I don’t belong to the bird people. Did you ever see one of those people who had double teeth? Go and look in their mouths and see if they have. If you find one bird with double teeth, you can say that I belong to the bird people. But I don’t; I am one of your own people.” They didn’t say anything more; they let Bat stay with them. Soon after, there are another battle; in that battle birds won.
As Bat’s side was getting beaten, he slipped away and hid under a log. When the battle was over and the birds were going home, Bat went in among them. When they noticed him, they said: “You are our enemy; we saw you fighting against us.” “Oh, no.” said Bat, “I am one of you; I don’t belong to those beasts. Did you ever see one of those people who had wings?” They didn’t say anything more; they let him stay with them. So Bat went back and forth as long as the war lasted. At the end of the war, birds and beasts held a council to see what to do with him. At last they said to Bat: “Hereafter, you will fly around alone at night, and will never have any friends, either among those that fly, or those that walk.”
If you visit DC for some reason, please visit the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian—it would blow your body and mind away. Appreciate Indigenous Peoples Day! I wrote this blog post last year (October 2014) to get better idea why I am against the idea of celebrating Columbus Day. The link below:
For additional links about Deaf Community: A Hidden Dimension of Racism Among Sports. Plenty of Deaf vloggers wearing Redskins to belittle Native Americans. One of them is a teacher.
Copyright © 2015 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only including this copyright message.
Good morning, folks!
Since today is Columbus Day and we both know that it is a central holiday in the American folklore celebrating the conquest and plunder of the Native American people. Christopher Columbus is America’s first RACIST.
Genocide. Colonialism. Exploitation. I would rather celebrate indigenous resistance. I would rather to shed a different light to honor the Native people that have been survivors of colonialism and genocide. It was founded with the institution of slavery as part of the governmental apparatus along with the provision made for it in the U.S. Constitution.
Also, I must honor those people who fought bravely against the theft of their lands and displacement from their homes by the United States government. Today’s struggle for justice cannot be waged without remembering the true history of our nations conquest over the Native American people.
Their lives has been become part of contemporary indictment of the social condition of poverty faced by these Native American men, women, and children, and the repercussions that affect and break down the social roles of the family. We see disaffected youth, drinking, hunger, alcoholism, poverty, and children left to fend for themselves.
I was thrilled to read an article last week that in state of Washington, the council in Seattle has decided to remove Columbus Day and celebrate Indigenous People’s Day. That was a huge deal! Thank you! I was very happy to see that happening! In fact, I support Indigenous People’ Day very much for few reasons.
For a good reason, Columbus Day is a racist because it presumes that the color of Native American or the surname of Native American defines their thinking, that somehow they will bring something different to the intellectual table just because they look Native American or their last name sounds Native American.
Also, there was a recent article written by David M. Perry called What to tell your kid about Christopher Columbus with the link below for the readers to click and read. I remember reading about Columbus way back in grade school and I never felt right about this guy and I followed my guts all the way today. My teachers were the assholes that taught me bullshit history when I was in classrooms that were supposed to be safe haven. White people are always good…. yeah, right!
Christopher Columbus was the one who infected America to be the king of Racism in the world. Why not National Association of the Deaf (NAD) celebrates Indigenous People’s Day today? Since NAD is the “nation’s premier civil rights organization of, by, and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America” quoted on the website.
Copyright © Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.