October 03, 2006

Yeagley:  pro-Columbus, anti-Indian

Columbus Day feteParade organizers held a news conference Monday, at which a Comanche Indian who flew in from Oklahoma told the media that "Columbus was not responsible for the 500 years of history" that followed his sailing from Spain to the Caribbean. Some claim Columbus was responsible for the "genocide" of American Indians that followed.

"The dominant image of this parade is that American Indians are opposed to anything white or European. I don't consider Columbus to be a threat to American Indians. I consider (CU professor) Ward Churchill to be more threatening to American Indians," Yeagley said.
Comment:  Yeagley is wasting time on semantics. Columbus didn't knowingly instigate everything that happened in the next 500 years, but he started the ball rolling. In that sense Columbus is responsible for all the deaths that followed.

This is a standard legal concept, one that even Yeagley should be able to grasp. If you open the door to a criminal and let him commit a crime, you're guilty of aiding and abetting, even if you didn't harm anyone yourself.

But make no mistake about it:  Columbus did kill and enslave Indians himself. He's personally guilty of hundreds or thousands of legal or moral crimes.

Obviously Columbus isn't a threat to anyone today, since he's dead. But historical ignorance about him is a threat. Telling Americans that Indians were uncivilized until he raised them up and enlightened them is a threat.

I hope it's clear how this is a threat. If not, here's an example:

Right-wing groups want to shut down Indian casinos. Why? Because they question the concept of tribal sovereignty. Why? Because in their minds, Indians couldn't have had their own governments. Why? Because they were just a bunch of ignornant savages.

And why do right-wingers think this? Because they learned this version of history in their grade-school classes...and during Columbus Day parades.

Result:  Historical ignorance leads to the re-impoverishment of Indians. Without gaming revenues, more Indians suffer from crime, substance abuse, and suicide.

So beware of Uncle Tomahawk, Americans. Since Yeagley has argued against tribal sovereignty, he may be a bigger threat to Indians than either Columbus or Churchill.

For more on Yeagley, see The Anne Coulter of the Native World.


Rob said...

Not all right-wingers are opponents of Indians and gaming, but almost all opponents of Indians and gaming are right-wingers.

It certainly is fair to blame Columbus if he knew or could've foreseen the consequences of his actions. He initiated the transatlantic slave trade and the depopulation of the Caribbean. What did he reasonably expect: that the next Spaniards to come along would halt his depredations and restore the islands to their previous condition?

No, he had to expect that his depredations would continue. In fact, he wanted them to continue. His final goal in life was to have Spain restore the titles and property he thought were his due. As Wikipedia put it:

"In his later years, Columbus demanded that the Spanish Crown give him 10% of all profits made in the new lands, pursuant to earlier agreements. Because he had been relieved of his duties as governor, the crown did not feel bound by these contracts, and his demands were rejected. His family later sued for part of the profits from trade with America but ultimately lost some 50 years later."

And don't get me started with arguments such as "he was only a man of his times" or "we can't judge him by our 21st-century standards." I've already demolished these arguments in Those Evil European Invaders. Read 'em and weep.

Rob said...

I wouldn't mind if we taught schoolchildren that Columbus was no worse than anyone else of his time. Instead, we're still honoring him for his "discoveries." He's still a great man to many Americans, not an average one.

Look at the guy protesting the "Homeland Security" t-shirt. The poor Indians didn't have rifles or the wheel until Europeans brought them. The Myth of Western Superiority is still firmly rooted in his mind.

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that Mr. Yeagley has been fired from every teaching job he had because of his outspoken extreme right wing views. I also read that he has applied for Ward Churchill's old position at the University of Colorado.
My question is; how does this guy make a living? He always seems to be unemployed or looking for steady work. Anyone know?

Rob said...

I imagine Yeagley gets paid for some of his articles and speaking engagements. His biography says he "currently teaches for University of Oklahoma." He also may earn money as "a classically trained pianist, composer, and lyricist."

Anonymous said...

He has asked his yealeyites for financial contributions.

Its my belief that he solicites money from his women friends after making each one feel they are very special, with private phone conversations.

He also does this to the men! Note how many times he allows certain male to degrade certain people, especially the women. I believe these men are the biggest contributors, they are allowed free reign.

His followers are male chauvanists that have no regard for the female.

He knows nothing about being Native. I feel sorry for his Nation, if he ever tries to seek employment there, especailly the little children, since he says he has worked in social service. Lets just hope they have his reports such as these here!