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Native Americans Speak Out On What Christopher Columbus Means To Them

OCTOBER 10, 2016  —  By Sarah Gzemski  
Sarah Gzemski

Sarah Gzemski

Animal and pizza lover with an Internet addiction. Nerd to the max. Currently residing in Arizona, the land of beautiful winters.

Every Columbus Day, we are reminded of Christopher Columbus's "discovery" of America.

While more and more cities are instead recognizing Indigenous Peoples' Day, the nationwide recognition of Columbus Day can bring up many complicated feelings for Native Americans. Although many people have accepted that we've been fed a false narrative about the genocidal explorer and his crew, plenty of people fail to recognize the horrific impact these non-native men had on thousands of people in their native land.

When the storied sailor failed to reach India and landed on islands that are now part of the Bahamas instead, he viewed native people as savages and exploited them accordingly. The legacy left behind by these explorers included but was not limited to the mass rape of women and young girls, slavery, mutilation, and the intentional spread of smallpox.

Native Americans interviewed by WatchCut noted that part of the problem with how we perceive Columbus is what we're taught about him in school.

Even the name "Indians" is rooted in falsity.

Others who were interviewed focused on the negative effects Columbus had on indigenous populations after arriving in North America.

He claimed to have discovered America, but how could he discover something that already belonged to entire populations of people with rich, deeply rooted histories?

These powerful interviews shed light on the harm done to their communities since the arrival of Columbus in 1492 and how that damage still impacts their lives today. Watch the full video below.


To learn more about Columbus and his true legacy, check this out.

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