In February the hard left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center celebrated the decline of “nativist extremist” groups in America. They decried the “ugly nativism seen during the 2016 election campaign”.
But nativism appears to be “ugly” only when it represents the history of Europeans, or Westerners. No such allegations are made at the bizarre “Indigenous People’s Day” campaigners who wish to litigate celebrations of 1492, marked by America’s Columbus Day, annually, in the second week of October.
Such ‘Native American’ nativism is a relatively recent phenomenon, amongst non-“natives” at least. I use scare quotes as the natives mourned for were often just the most recent inhabitants of such areas. Many “natives” had in turn displaced other groups.
And what makes the native anyway? The Native Americans found their way to the continent from Asia, across the Behring Strait.
Despite all this, Indigenous People’s Day was first mooted in 1977. Since then, a small number of groups — usually in liberal towns or cities across America — have, in fits of confusion and hilarity, “culturally appropriated” from “natives” and proclaimed their fealty towards the “indigenous”.
One such group’s website — Orange Ink — offers advertisements for something called a “Sizzli” from a fast food chain called “Wawa”, flanking the anti-capitalist messages on this “revolutionary new media collective”.
(Wawa — by sheer chance — is a perfect melding of old world and new, started by a man called George Wood who imported British, presumably imperialist, cows while utilizing a Native American word for “goose” for his company name. The company’s logo is said goose. The chain will no doubt be asked to change its name soon, because just as left wing activists have been campaigning since the 70s for a repeal of Columbus Day, we’re now seeing even minorities with names such as “Robert Lee” discriminated against).
Perhaps this year will witness the greatest anti-Columbus Day activism since the movement’s inception. Not just the usual gaggles of dreadlocked, white trustafarians, I presume the events will be well-attended by ‘antifa’ or as I have come to call them, the alt-Left.
The left media is of course helping the cause along. In 2016 National Public Radio (NPR) featured a segment on Indigenous People’s Day, quoting Lakota Native American activist Bill Means, who claimed: “We discovered Columbus, lost on our shores, sick, destitute, and wrapped in rags. We nourished him to health, and the rest is history… He represents the mascot of American colonialism in the Western Hemisphere. And so it is time that we change a myth of history.”
Set aside for a moment this risible attempt at revisionism, and let us investigate the line “lost on our shores”.
“Our shores” — how very nativist. If Brexiteers in Britain are “Little Englanders” then perhaps Bill Means could accurately be described as a “Little Lakoter”.
While the political left will quickly default to the “we’re all from Africa” line with regards European pride or “nativism” — they do no such thing to the indigenous claims of those once referred to as ‘Indians’ in the new world. Scarcely will they ever accept the Jewish claim to the lands of Israel either.
Nevertheless, we can expect increasingly vocal crise to enshrine this one particular form of nativism. It is already happening under the guise of political correctness, and mainly undercover, without scrutiny.
As NPR notes, Vermont and the city of Phoenix now call the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples’ Day. So too does Seattle and Minneapolis. Denver observed it “temporarily” in 2015, while South Dakota and Alaska have also observed it. Hawaii and Oregon never even recognized Columbus Day.
The late Christopher Hitchens described this “anti-Columbus movement” as “risible” and “sinister”, describing it as an “ignorant celebration of stasis and backwardness, with an unpleasant tinge of self-hatred.”
Nevertheless, we are witnessing an increasing in pace of demanded recantations of what Columbus’s discovery on behalf of Europeans delivered the world.
Hitchens described, back in 1992, this “certain coincidence of ideas, technologies, population movements and politico-military victories” that transformed “part of the northern part of this continent into ‘America’ [and] inaugurated a nearly boundless epoch of opportunity and innovation.
Thusly, he noted, it “deserves to be celebrated with great vim and gusto, with or without the participation of those who wish they had never been born”, just like the ‘Transform Columbus Day’ activists who compare European settlement in the Americas with the Nazi genocide against the Jews, meanwhile sparing similar condemnations for the conquering armies of the Roman Empire, their compadres of Spanish and Portuguese lineage illegally crossing through the southern border of the United States, or indeed the mass migration of Muslims from South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa into modern day Europe.
Truly this is quite simply an anti-European cause, and reflects a suicidal, genocidal instinct perhaps never seen in the modern world before.
Raheem Kassam is the editor in chief of Breitbart London and the author of No Go Zones: How Sharia is Coming to a Neighborhood Near You