It was refreshing to see Cele Meyer’s response to the editorial “Columbus legacy not easy” (Sept. 23). As co-coordinator of the Interfaith Network, she obviously offers great insight and knowledge into the plight of the Native Americans.
However, I feel she was too kind in her letter. Also, when asking friends about the letter, I found that many did not read it, or had no interest in the issue. Maybe the latter is the result of the belief that all that was worthy of knowing about Native Americans was learned in grade school.
Ignorant beliefs such as this are the reason that now is the time to correct the history of a nation that has for too long seen its past only through rose-colored glasses.
The Star editorial dealt with the observance of the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ “discovery” of America. It stated that yes, the United States was formed via the lying to, stealing from, and outright murder of millions of Native Americans.
But, it went on to say that the U.S. government should celebrate the anniversary of these atrocities without regret or else risk “undermining the legitimacy of the nation.” Isn’t that convenient?
The author repeatedly praises the U.S. for its “benefits to humanity” while at the same time reminding us that “Native Americans are right to remind others of the terrible cost this had on their ancestors and their culture.” What about their future?
And why is it that Native Americans are the only ones who are “right” to remind us? Why do we as a nation continually refuse to deal with the horrors our ancestors brought to these people?
We’re always quick to point out the evils done by other nations to their people, such as Germany and the Soviet Union. But we avoid the issue when it comes to Native America.
In celebrating the beginning of 500 years of the exploitation of the Americans and its peoples (not to mention the start of the North American slave trade), we are again denying the incredibly shameful way that this country and others were “forged.”
I agree with Cele Meyer’s idea that Columbus Day 1992 not be treated as a national day of lament. Before we can lament we must first know why.
It’s time that America sober up to the reality of our history and start to see it for what it really is. And before we go around patting ourselves on the back for our benefits to humanity, let us finally think about the consequences of our crimes against it.