Monday, October 12, 2009

Cristoforo Colombo goes down

Caracas, October 13, 2004--Yesterday in Caracas, on what used to be celebrated in Venezuela as the day of the Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, a group of young men and women tore down the statue of the 15th Century explorer during this national holiday that was renamed the Day of Indigenous Resistance.

The statue was located in downtown Caracas atop a 30 foot high pedestal. Protestors used thick yellow climbing ropes to bring down the 100 year old statue of Columbus and dragged the remains through downtown Caracas and towards the Teresa Carreño theatre, where hundreds of indigenous people presented their cultural songs and dance to each other and other supporters commemorating October 12. The protestors intended to ask indigenous people to bring Columbus to trial after 512 years.
Related: Buffy Sainte-Marie on Democracy Now! today.

BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE: You can see it on YouTube. “My Country ’Tis of Thy People You’re Dying” was my—I wanted to give people Indian 101 in six minutes. It’s a long song. But Indian 101 has never been presented to the North American public, let alone anywhere else.

    [singing] My country ‘tis of thy people you’re dying.
    Now that the longhouses breed superstition
    You force us to send our toddlers away
    To your schools where they’re taught to despise their traditions.
    Forbid them their languages, then further say
    That American history really began
    When Columbus set sail out of Europe, and stress
    That the nation of leeches that conquered this land
    Are the biggest and bravest and boldest and best.
    And yet where in your history books is the tale
    Of the genocide basic to this country’s birth…
Native American people, we know about it, you know, the US, Canada, etc. But the public doesn’t know what really happened. They’re not aware of the genocide that happened in the Americas. They’re not aware of how these things can happen without their knowledge. And see, I think—I don’t know. I think that there’s a core of people in the Americas who are real good people who want to do the right thing, only they just don’t get the information that would help them to become knowledgeable enough to truly be of support and value to people who are trying to spotlight individual issues from here to here, yeah.

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