Article Responses, Articles/Information, Movements and Organizations

Columbus, a lost sociopath, and an American hero?

Christopher Columbus, courtesy of Wikipedia
Christopher Columbus, courtesy of Wikipedia

This month, Columbus day was celebrated in the US. This national holiday was officially declared in 1937, despite many protests on the contrary. The first unofficial celebration of the day in the US was in 1792, in New York to commemorate the 300 years of the American arrival. It originally was celebrated on the true date of Columbus’ arrival, October 12, however, in the early 1970s it was decided that it will be celebrated on the second Monday of the month.

For years many indigenous communities throughout North America have been in opposition of this day due to the conflicts and desecration caused by Columbus’ arrival. Not only has the death of millions been a factor but the fact that the association of “discovery” being attributed to Columbus is also nonfactual. By definition, discovery means finding, but how can you find something that is already inhabited by others?

Columbus began his search for a new western trade route via the sea to India for Europe. However, he unknowingly found himself in an unfamiliar land surrounded by curious residents. After some time he took it upon himself and his men to make this land and all its inhabitants the property of the Spanish Crown. In doing so he massacred millions or people and acreage for profit as well as power. It is with these facts that so many indigenous people over the years are fighting to have history be told in its true form and not with the misinformation being communicated to youth around the world.

While many others view Columbus as an explorer who represents a historical culture, some see Columbus Day as a great or much needed day off, why not make a day off for celebration mean something the way that a national holiday should. Most indigenous people look for recognition and respect, but with a holiday attributed to the slaughter, enslavement of peoples and the destroying of natural resources it makes that fight much harder.

A recent article done by Last Real Indians explaining the formal length that this indigenous fight goes as follows:

“The origins of the organizing efforts to abolish Columbus Day and rename it Indigenous Peoples’ Day was first documented back in 1977, when members of the International Indian Treaty Council, the American Indian Movement and other Indigenous activists from North, Central and South America presented the idea to the United Nations at the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas.”

Today many communities have changed the day’s attributions to Indigenous People’s Day, the major and most recent being the city of Seattle. However, more than thousands of other cities need to follow Seattle’s lead as of late in order to make this idea of respect more popular.

There have been many polls about support the abolishing of Columbus Day and creating a National Indigenous People’s Day, however, I would like to create my own with results from my readers. Place your vote below. If you wish to comment or add more to your answer, please do so below in the comment section.

Article Responses, Articles/Information

Onondaga’s violation of human rights case.

The past few years the Onondaga Nation has been very active in the media for their political and racial standings, such as the Washington Redskins controversy. Last week was on something different: the request for a review of land rights lawsuits. In the lawsuits, Supreme Court has been one of the majority leaders in the rejection and unconcerned actions towards the indigenous community on this subject.

After 10 years of appealing to the government to examine the merit process of the previous trials for the Onondaga people, they have had enough.

The Onondaga Nation filed a petition with the Organization of American State’s Intern-American Commission on Human Rights. The petition covers the issue that the U.S. government decided not to hear its lawsuit for the return of 2.5 million acres in northern New York, Pennsylvania and some parts of Canada.

The final return of the petition for the hearing in the land rights case was returned in October, which commenced the new petition against the US on the human rights violation. The petition is being used, according to the Washington Post and Onondaga Nation, as a means to clean the environment on the land in which the treaties were designated.

While the main voice within the petition is the Onondaga people the petition also speaks for the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, which includes the Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga and Seneca people.

The validity of the human rights violation is clearly fitting in this case for the Onondaga people. The action the U.S. government Supreme Court has taken is questionable in the motives of not allowing the lawsuit to go to trial.

In the first attempt at trial, the Oneida Nation was in the forefront, having the Supreme Court rule against them, stating that the nation took too long to file a claim against the treaties and land rights. If the court were to take into account the lack of resources and oppression on indigenous people their “timeliness” should be excused.

According to Indian Country Today Media Network, the court was quoted stating that if they were to return the land “it would be too disruptive” to those who are currently living in the area. One can also say that the court’s reasoning in this case is incredibly hypocritical on the U.S. Governments history of being “disruptive” of current occupants.

By taking into consideration the amount of time the Onondaga and Haudenosaunee Confederacy has dedicated for just a trial in the lower courts makes the Supreme Court look outrageous and dismissive of issues that are passionate among indigenous people.

The Onondaga Nation’s lawyer, Joe Heath, was quoted stating that the “[The Onondagas] are not going to stop talking about their land and to obtain a moral victory…”

In this day and age, most of the indigenous issues involve moral issues and the attempt to get governments to acknowledge their wrong doings, attribute credit to those who have impacted the land and people both gracefully and respectfully.

Generally, indigenous people, throughout history want to achieve equality and recognition as first people and current world citizens. In these 10 years the Supreme Court has been a disappointing example and role model for the American people’s beliefs and actions.


Native Woman Crush Wednesday: Kateri Tekakwitha

Kateri (Catherine) Tekakwitha
Kateri (Catherine) Tekakwitha

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha of the Mohawk tribe was born in the year 1656, near Auriesville, NY. When she was young girl many within the Mohawk nation had contracted small pox from settlers. Her mother was among those who’s outcome was fatal while Tekakwitha was left with scarring on her face.

When left orphaned she was taken in by her aunts and uncle. She later became baptized within the Catholic faith as Catherine Tekakwitha. Doing so had left many within her tribe to be bitter towards her. Tekakwitha then moved to a Christian colony in Canada where she focused her life tending to the ill and elderly as well as a life of prayer.

On April 17, 1680, Kateri Tekakwitha passed away and is now known as the Lily of the Mohawks and the Flower of the Algonquins. In 1943, the Catholic Church declared she was venerable, and in 1980 Tekakwitha was Beatified.

In 2012, she was inducted into sainthood and is the patron saint of the environment and ecology along with St. Francis of Assisi. Her saint day resides on July 14.

Tekakwitha is one of five Native Americans to be declared a saint in the Christian faith, the others being Episcopal St. Priest Paul Cuffee of the Shinnecock Indian Nation and St. Samson Occum of the Mohegan Nation, Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV of the Hawaiian Islands. March 4 is St. Paul Cuffee’s feast day, St. Samson Occum on July 14th and St. Emma and Kamehameha IV on Nov. 28th.

The following are two prayers to Saint Kateri Tekakwitha:

Blessed Kateri, you are revered as the mystic of the American wilderness.
Though orphaned at the age of four,
and left with a scarred face and
damaged eyesight from illness,
you were esteemed among the Mohawk tribe.
Whenyou asked to be baptized a Christian
you subjected yourself
to abuse by  your people
and were forced to run away.
You endured may trials but
still flowered in prayer and holiness,
dedicating yourself totally to Christ.
I ask you to be my spiritual guide
along my journey through life.
Through you intercession,
I pray that I may always be
loyal to my faith in all things.

Kateri, favored child,Flower of the Algonquins and Lily of the Mohawks,We come to seek your intercession in our present need.

We admire the virtures which adorned your soul: love of God and neighbor, humility, obedience, patience, purity and the spirit of sacrifice. Help us to imitate your example in our life. Through the goodness and mercy of God, Who has blessed you with so many graces which led you to the true faith and to a high degree of holiness, pray to God for us and help us.

Obtain for us a very fervent devotion to the Holy Eucharist so that we may love Holy Mass as you did and receive Holy Communion as often as we can. Teach us also to be devoted to our crucified Savior as you were, that we may cheerfully bear our daily crosses for love of Him Who suffered so much for love of us. Most of all we beg you to pray that we may avoid sin, lead a holy life and save our souls. Amen.

In thanksgiving to God for the graces bestowed upon Kateri: one Our Father, Hail Mary and three Glory Be’s. Kateri, Flower of the Algonquins and Lily of the Mohawks, pray for us.