“Only after the last tree has been cut down,
only after the last river has been poisoned,
only after the last fish has been caught,
only then will you find money cannot be eaten.”
~ Cree Prophecy
ABOUT NATIVE AMERICANS DAY:
Native Americans Day is a response to the claim that Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas, which is an odd notion for anyone to agree with — unless they think a populated continent doesn’t count as being discovered already. It is also a day to contemplate what indigenous people endured when Europeans invaded the Americas.
This commemorative day has officially replaced or challenged Columbus Day in in parts of the United States. South Dakota official replaced Columbus Day with Native Americans Day in 1989. Other states — California, Minnesota, Tennessee and Washington — proclaimed their own official observances that take place before and after Columbus Day.
No one can argue against Columbus having played a pivotal role in history. But that role also contributed to a playbook for robbery, lies and genocide, all of which were aimed at the indigenous people of the Americas — the people who protected the land and bounties of their hemisphere.
This Columbus Day, while you’re enjoying ten percent off a new toaster at K-mart, not having to drive your kid to school before the sun rises or — if you’re Republican — enjoying the fact that the Federal Government is shut down for the day, maybe you can take a second to remember a common theme among many American Indian philosophies: no one owns the earth. It’s a gift from nature to cherish and protect, not a landmass for Columbus or anybody else to conquer and destroy.
If you don’t want to remember that then, at the very least, remember to recycle the old toaster when you bring home the new one from K-mart.