The Denver plain clothes cop said “Congressman Tancredo, are you aware of all the threats on your life at this event?” I responded, “You mean more than usual?”
At that point he reached into a back pack he had placed on the ground and pulled out about a dozen .223 caliber shells that were taped together. He had my attention. Apparently the shells and been taped inside a trash can on the route of the parade that I was to be in and that was about to get underway.
It was a Columbus Day Parade and the American Indian Movement (AIM) had promised to disrupt it after their failed attempt to get the city of Denver to cancel the permit. Well, Russell Means, who was the head of AIM, and his cohorts did their best to stop the event and things did get violent – but the parade went on.
Toward the end we were halted because of the vandalism and street fighting that was a block ahead of us. While we stood there I noticed a girl of about 16 who was standing on the curb glaring at me. She had a bundle of rags in her arms. She stepped off the curb and started to approach me when several of the Denver cops who were marching with me, yelled and told her to stop and show what she was carrying in the bundle.
She slowly unwound the rags. She was holding a baby.
The “mother” never took her hate filled eyes off me. But she but took the baby’s hand, held it up, and manipulated its little fist in order to give me the finger. I’ll never forget the incident.
Well AIM was unsuccessful in stopping Columbus Day in 2004, but as is the nature of left wing fanatics, they never give up. Their ranks have been swollen by crackpot politicians and Obamanistas who hate America every bit as much as any die hard Trotskyite.
This week the Denver City Council unanimously adopted a resolution declaring October 12 “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” Thus, Denver joins a growing list of cities that not only want to give “indigenous people” – meaning Native American Indians – their own holiday, but insist on throwing out Columbus Day.
The replacement is designed to make a point. Goodbye, Columbus, hello White Guilt Day. If your ancestors didn’t own slaves, they probably shot a few Indians. Confess!
Make no mistake about what is happening here: the movement to replace Columbus Day is not really about the man Christopher Columbus. It is about denouncing and atoning for European “colonialism, imperialism and racism” — and eventually paying reparations for the alleged genocidal crimes against “indigenous peoples.”
Now, of course even the concept of exactly who is “indigenous” to any area is debatable. The people inhabiting North America when Columbus got here had originated in an area in southern Siberia known as Alti. Now if you think there is something worthy of adoration about those who were here to greet Columbus we could have the “People Who Got Here First Day.”
You would, of course have to explain the fact that in the over 120 centuries before Columbus got here, the “people who got here first” had not gotten around to inventing the wheel nor had they built any great cities, or developed a written language, or invented textiles or mastered the art of metallurgy.
You would need to explain that they were in a state of constant warfare, rape and pillage against each other, and slavery was common—as it was across the entire globe. It would also be hard to hold up the “people who got here first” as good stewards of the land and its resources. For the most part, they took what they could and moved on. Luckily the buffalo could reproduce faster than the Indians could drive them off cliffs.
Now believe it or not, I thoroughly enjoy the culture of the North American Indian tribes. I find the study of it to be fascinating. I can appreciate it without feeling guilty for its demise any more than I feel guilty about the demise of the hundreds of civilizations that, over millennia, have developed, prospered, and then failed – as our own is destined to do. It’s history’s most common phenomena and is not inherently good or evil. Those that clamor loudest for Columbus to be erased from the pages of American history do so far more because of their hatred for America than their love of the Indians.
Fortunately, to most of the country, Columbus Day is still a welcome holiday, but the PC virus is spreading. Ohio’s capital city of Columbus decided recently to abandon the holiday because of the protests. On the other hand, the cities of Columbia, South Carolina and Columbus, Georgia, have not yet succumbed, and the name of our nation’s capital, the District of Columbia, appears safe for the time being.
Anyone who doubts the deep anti-European, indeed implicitly anti-American inspiration for declaring “indigenous peoples” to be victims of racism and genocide should read the language of the official declarations passed by cities joining the crusade. The resolutions are not shy about identifying the “ancestral homelands” stolen from Native Americans by the avaricious invaders.
As the grandson of Italian immigrants, maybe I am biased, but I think Christopher Columbus, the man who is rightfully credited with bringing European civilization to the Western Hemisphere, deserves the national holiday enacted by Congress in 1934.
It is a leftist myth that European conquerors and settlers encountered only peaceful, virtuous tribes and subdued them murderously in the name of Christianity and Capitalism.
Columbus did not arrive in the Americas in 1492 planning to destroy indigenous communities, and he should not be held accountable for the subsequent actions of Spanish conquistadors in Peru and Mexico. Columbus was above all an explorer, and his historic achievements opened the Americas to trade and the eventual English settlements, settlements which grew into the most successful bastion of freedom and prosperity in human history, the United States of America.
True, the conquerors were not saints, but neither was Alexander the Great or Julius Caesar, and neither was Crazy Horse or Sitting Bull. We honor great achievers of history because we value the amazing journey of western civilization and its unparalleled achievements — our achievements.
When we disparage and slander our heroes, we are dishonoring our heritage. The American left slanders our Western heritage routinely and with religious fervor because their heroes have delivered fierce ideological indictments of western institutions and values. Native Americans who buy into that narrative are investing in a bankrupt venture.
If Native Americans want to honor their own heritage, well and good, let them do so. But if they do so by demeaning and dishonoring European heroes like Columbus, they are betraying a common heritage.
Columbus, si! Montezuma, no.