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12 Oct, 2009 22:17

“Columbus – colonialist and imperialist”

After Christopher Columbus’s discovery of America “terrible things’ were done to the Native Americans and he doesn’t deserve a holiday, RT contributor Wayne Madsen said.

On October, 12 Americans mark the anniversary of the European discovery of the New World by the explorer Christopher Columbus.

However, some say the annual Columbus Day holiday is equal to celebrating the Holocaust, as his arrival on the continent in 1492 was followed by what they describe as the genocide of Native Americans.

“We don’t have a holiday in this nation for the Native Americans: we don’t celebrate their rich culture, their contributions to America but we have Columbus Day,” said Wayne Madsen, an investigative journalist and RT contributor.

“Columbus basically ushered forth in western hemisphere what the Native American museum in Washington describes as a holocaust across the lives of 65 million Native Americans and the systematic destruction of 500 native nations,” he said.

According to Madsen, many teachers in American public schools are now giving a balanced view of Columbus, saying he shouldn’t be put on a pedestal and turned into a fairy tale figure. “In fact he was a colonialist, he was an imperialist,” Madsen went on.

“After Columbus we saw terrible things done to Native Americans – from contaminating blankets with smallpox, skinning Indians alive,” he said. “So this is what we are celebrating when we celebrate Columbus.”

Racism against Native Americans still exists today, which can be seen in many spheres from sports – where teams pick racist names – to casinos on Native American reservations. “We see the Washington Redskins, for example, which is a totally racist appellation. The Cleveland Indians – a baseball team uses a caricature of a Native American with bucked teeth – a very racist symbol.”

In Venezuela, the journalist went on, the day of “discovery of America” – where in fact millions of people lived at that time – is called the “Day of Indigenous Resistance”.

“We should look more at how the Latin Americans treat this day,” Madsen said. He said he doesn’t think “Columbus deserves a holiday and many people agree with that”.