(The Progressive) -- For the past 80 years, since Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937, we have celebrated an explorer who engaged in enslavement, outright theft and the genocide of this hemisphere's indigenous peoples.
In 1492, the Spanish sailor Christopher Columbus embarked on what he believed would be a pathway to riches in India. Landing on the shores of the Americas, Columbus did not think twice about what he believed were an inferior people who should be held as slaves, guides, even as dog food for their ongoing exploits. Consider these words from Columbus himself: “These people are very unskilled in arms . . . with 50 men they could all be subjected and made to do all that one wished.”
Doing as he wished, Columbus and his crew brought disease, stole precious resources and ultimately wiped out many indigenous island tribes, all in the name of claiming this side of the globe as the “new world.”
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