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Christopher Columbus

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He was a forward-thinker, who challenged the prevailing view that the world was ... Undeniably, the situation of American Indians will not in fact cannot change ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Christopher Columbus


1
Columbus Day and Culture Wars
2
Christopher Columbus
Hero?
Villain?
3
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6
Battle of the Indians by Charles
BrowningPainting is a parody of early pastoral
paintings.
7
Columbus as Cultural Icon
8
Columbus Cultural Significance
  • Symbolic beyond his actual achievements or
    actions as an individual, the mythology
    surrounding him has significance to the American
    culture.
  • Polarizing Figure Columbus is largely viewed as
    either a figure of good or evil.

9
National Myth of Columbus
  • He was born of humble origins.
  • He was a forward-thinker, who challenged the
    prevailing view that the world was flat by
    heroically sailing west.
  • His discovery of the Americas brought European
    civilization and Christian faith to indigenous
    population.
  • Supports view of Americans as people who are
    innovative and industrious (can-do thinking),
    and the notion that God is behind Americas
    founding.

10
View of Columbus as Hero
  • Peaked during the period leading up to the
    Chicago Worlds Fair (also known as the Columbian
    Exposition) 1892.
  • Fair celebrated the 400th anniversary of
    Columbus arrival in the Americas.

11
Celebrating Columbus as Heroic Model
  • He set an example for us all by showing what
    monumental feats can be accomplished through
    perseverance and faith.
  • President George H. W. Bush, June 8, 1989.

12
Criticism of National Storyline
  • Criticism focuses on Columbus enslavement and
    oppression of Arawaks which many scholars refer
    to as genocide.
  • Critics charge that celebrating Columbus in a
    positive light masks ongoing oppression against
    Native Americans today.
  • Additionally, that such masking assists
    governments and citizens to avoid taking
    responsibility for their actions.

13
Quote by Ward Churchill, leader of AIM
  • More often, the sentiments expressed by the
    participants are, quite frankly, that the fate of
    Native America embodied in Columbus and the
    Columbian legacy is a matter to be openly and
    enthusiastically applauded as an unrivaled "boon
    to all mankind". Undeniably, the situation of
    American Indians will not in fact cannot
    change for the better so long as such attitudes
    are deemed socially acceptable by the mainstream
    populace. Hence, such celebrations as Columbus
    Day must be stopped.

14
American Indian Movement
15
Statement by the Transform Columbus Day Alliance
  • The Transform Columbus Day Alliance actively
    rejects the celebration
  • of Christopher Columbus and his legacy of
    domination, oppression, and
  • colonialism. 
  • By saying NO to Columbus we are saying YES to a
    new
  • future in the Americas. A future of mutual
    respect, collaboration and
  • equality. A future that respects
  • the rights of indigenous peoples
  • the natural environment
  • democratic economic justice over corporate
    globalization
  • gender equity over global patriarchy
  • free and equal speech over hate speech

16
Backlash
  • Responses to AIM and other social justice groups
    tend to
  • make the following types of claims
  • Americas were largely uninhabited area
  • Indigenous population were nomadichence they
    werent using the land
  • Disease not genocide was responsible for
    decimation of this population

17
What the Historical Evidence Supports
  • Little is known of Columbus origins, not even
    his ethnicity with any degree of certainty. He
    married into a noble family so it is unlikely
    he was poor.
  • Over 500 Indian nations existed at the time of
    Columbus arrival. These nations were varied both
    culturally and socially.
  • Columbus enslavement and subsequent war against
    the is documented by Bartolme de Las Casas who
    made copies of Columbus diary.
  • Both war and disease decimated indigenous peoples.

18
Bartolome de Las Casas
  • Began as an adventurer arriving in New World in
    1502
  • Became a plantation owner
  • Horrified at the killings and atrocities
    committed against Indians by Spanish soldiers
  • Freed his own slaves and became a priest
  • Fought for humane treatment of Indians
  • Helped Spain to enact laws against Indian slavery

19
PACE UniversityItalian American Student
Organization Celebrating Columbus Day
20
University of Michigan Student Organizations
protesting Columbus Day
21
Columbus Day as Entertainment and Shopping Event
22
Columbus Day Humor
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