By Carol Berry
Burned were a Papal Bull approving the subjugation of Natives and the theft of their lands, as well as a copy of Johnson v. McIntosh, which in 1823 concocted a legal basis for the seizure of Indian lands.
It was street theater worthy of Denver’s earlier Columbus Day Parade protests, which have included the pouring of ceremonial blood in the streets, dolls representing infants killed by invading Spaniards, burnt tipis and other creative expressions of outrage.
The parade protest is almost a Denver tradition. Beginning in 1989 with about 50 dissenters, only three years later the number had swelled to more than 1,000 who, following the red banner of the American Indian Movement (AIM), shouted at parade participants for honoring Columbus, a man they called a mass murderer and slave trader.
By Patricia Calhoun
Many Occupy Denver members "did participate with us in our protest of the Columbus Hate Speech Parade," Morris reports, "and many of them came to the Four Winds American Indian Center to share a meal with us" on Saturday. And after an hour of discussion and debate, he says, the Occupy Denver General Assembly unanimously endorsed the Colorado AIM-initiated indigenous proposal.
In observing the "Occupy Together" expansion, we are reminded that the territories of our indigenous nations have been "under occupation" for decades, if not centuries. We remind the occupants of this encampment in Denver that they are on the territories of the Cheyenne, Arapaho and Ute peoples. In the U.S., indigenous nations were the first targets of corporate/government oppression. The landmark case of Johnson v. McIntosh (1823), which institutionalized the "doctrine of discovery" in U.S. law, and which justified the theft of 2 billion acres of indigenous territory, established a framework of corrupt political/legal/corporate collusion that continues throughout indigenous America, to the present.
If this movement is serious about confronting the foundational assumptions of the current U.S. system, then it must begin by addressing the original crimes of the U.S. colonizing system against indigenous nations. Without addressing justice for indigenous peoples, there can never be a genuine movement for justice and equality in the United States. Toward that end, we challenge Occupy Denver to take the lead, and to be the first "Occupy" city to integrate into its philosophy, a set of values that respects the rights of indigenous peoples, and that recognizes the importance of employing indigenous visions and models in restoring environmental, social, cultural, economic and political health to our homeland.
As usual, there were reports of several other Columbus protests around the country. Here's one of them--ironically, in Columbus, Ohio:
Columbus’ discovery mourned
Rename holiday Indigenous People’s Day, protesters say
By Quan Truong
“Why do we have statues of Christopher Columbus, which represents the worst of our culture and the worst of our people?” shouted Bob Fitrakis, a political-science professor at Columbus State Community College.
Fitrakis was one of about a dozen who spoke yesterday, when Columbus Day is observed, by the replica on the Scioto River. Most had some Native American lineage.
“We wanted a different perspective. ... We also wanted to expose the myths, the lies and the trauma this discovery has brought many people,” said Mark Stansbery, with the Community Organizing Center, a nonprofit that rallies for various human-services causes.
Stansbery called the boat behind him “a symbol of occupation, exploitation and slave trade.”
For more on Columbus, see Textbooks Neuter Columbus Critiques and Columbus the Pedophile.
Below: "Sky Roosevelt-Morris, 20, Shawnee/White Mountain Apache burning a Papal Bull and copy of Johnson v. McIntosh during the Columbus Day Parade protest in Denver on October 8." (Carol Berry)