Sunday, October 11, 2015

THE CROW'S NEST: Bird's Eye View of History

Indigenous Day, 1492: Premature birth of an early navigation contraption.

Columbus Vulture: "I said INDIA, Crow!!! What the hell is that contraption you got up there?"
Crow: "GPS." 

Columbus Day, 2015 

Wiley “Kayak” Crow: In front of the class implementing his lesson plan The Idiot's Guide to Stealing History.

"Class. What did Columbus NOT discover?"

Student Chick: "That he was an idiot?"

Wiley “Kayak” Crow: "What DID Columbus discover?"

Student Chick #2: "His ability as a conman?"


Columbus Day: The Dilemma

As a source of famous myths, Christopher Columbus is right up there with Santa Clause. His existence as a heroic figure is proof that some humans will believe anything.

The irony of Columbus Day is that it started in the Caribbean with excellent storytellers, the Taino. Six million Amerindians who populated the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and a part of Florida. Their powers of mythological storytelling was so convincing that Columbus and his Spanish entourage, arriving on October in 1492, believed every sign language gesture of the Taino Epic about the mythical travels of their first shaman, the hero named Guahayona (Gwa-ha-yo-nah). Upon Columbus' arrival in the Lucayan Taino's Bahamas, the Taino sat him down and tried to entertain his gold and women hungry entourage with persistent myths. And the gullible Spanish left, believing in the Guahayona epic, later died in the hundreds trying to find these islands of the "Celestial Paradise". The myth itself was later recorded by Father Ramon Pane on the large island of Kiskeya (Hispaniola). But in 1492, not yet knowing the Taino language except mostly through Amerindian signing, Columbus came away with the understanding of a source of endless gold, women and men ripe for enslavement. So goes the Federal Government's and Christian hero (St. Christopher) and his controversial holy-day.

Needed Revision

Christopher Columbus' fame should be revised. At best, he was a conman. Notice how he presented his scam to the king and queen of Spain. Ferdinand did not buy the route to India pitch; Isabella, like the rest of Europe did. The scramble was on following the Taino Amerindian myth of an Island of Women (Matanino) and a twin Island of Gold (14k Guanin). To the Spanish, the bait was so seductive that other life-taking myths ensued.

1. La California was a story by "Spanish writer Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo who first introduced an Amazon queen in his popular novel entitled Las sergas de Esplandián (The Adventures of Esplandián), written around 1500" –(Wikipedia). This became the popular novel about a Black queen, Califia, with her Amazons residing on an Island of Gold. This published tale was believed by Hernan Cortez, who named the California Mountain, which he thought was Califia's abode. For Cortez, the only thing missing from Califia's abode, were the protective Griffins that should have been flying over that tall La California "island".
2. Las Siete Ciudades de Cibola was the Seven Cities of Gold. It was believed to be just a skip and a jump from California into the Zuni territory in New Mexico.
3. El Dorado was supposedly in Columbia, South America. The Amazon River was named for the above Matanino/Guanin Taino myth, since women warriors had shot up their boat;.
4. The Fountain of Eternal Youth was an early Viagra wish that followed Puerto Rican Taino guidance to their trading place on the North American mainland, Bimini, a.k.a. La Florida.

The Persistent Myth

Columbus Day is a divisive federal holiday. Not recognized by many, it stands as a reminder that it officially emanates from the Nation's Capital, the District of Columbia which actually means the "Jurisdiction of Columbus". The holy-day honors a man of questionable slave-holding character, a poor administrator and an Italian mercenary. One suspects that the federal government only prolongs the misinformation about him to satisfy Italian immigrants at the expense of Native Americans. It is equivalent to a federal F-U to Amerindian Day.

Columbus Day is celebrated in the wrong hemisphere. Should he be celebrated in the Americas? In Europe, maybe, but definitely not in the Americas! Amerindians are still here and celebrating a man responsible for their holocaust is, to say the least, cruel and unusual punishment. He was a windfall for Spain and the other countries that successfully followed them into the Antilles and benefited from its exploitation. Natural resources-poor Europe became and stayed filthy rich over Amerindian corpses. It is not as if Spain did not immediately know it’s devastating effect on the indigenous Caribbean populations. Spanish cleric, Frey Bartolome de las Casas fought for the "Indios", but suggested the replacement of their dead and dwindling numbers with enslaved Africans. One evil replacing another. De las Casas' idea became so popular that it continued up until after the American Civil War and after Brazil's final emancipation of enslaved Africans.

Columbus Day is a slap in the face of Native Americans and Amerindians who probably compose the majority DNA in our hemisphere. Federal workers don't mind the day off while some retailers have a sales bonanza. The day is aptly suited to entrepreneurs and is in keeping with Columbus' goals, how to make a buck no matter what the cost to workers. In Columbus’ case, he was responsible for igniting the Amerindian enslavement and the pilfering of their goods. Ever the gold digger, he settled for a form of slavery that triggered genocide. Yet he is given a haloed position and a bonus day on North American soil. He was definitely not the first to "discover America" as school children are taught. According to historical data, he was at least 12th in the line of notable groups of people thousands of years ahead of him. Whether myth or fact, evidence shows that most of the at least 12 earlier arrivals were Asians, some were Africans and Middle-easterners and two were Europeans.

We know that Columbus headed one of a series of humans that arrived in the Americas. In the Americas, he could not have discovered anyone in the true meaning of the word "discovery". Yet, he is credited by many as a demigod whose feats rival the Biblical Creation of one half of the planet. In the imagination of some thinkers after 1492, our hemisphere, like Venus, the "New World" was born fully formed on a specific day of October that year. As a holdover from the era of idiotic "supremacy", this ancient part of the planet is still being called "new". What was Columbus actually responsible for?

1. He was the first to suggest the European form of slavery in the Americas.
2. He spearheaded the near eradication of the six million strong Taino people of the Northern Caribbean and their Island Carib cousins in the Eastern Caribbean
3. He brought deadly epidemics on the populations of the Americas.
4. Founding myths are taught to each successive generation as "history".

Yet he is honored by the Federal Government with a holiday, statues, place names like Washington, the District of Columbia, the capital of an entire country to which he never came. Granted, he sailed to the American territory of Puerto Rico and stopped there, but never on the mainland with places that carry his hallowed name. Maybe after the granting of overdue statehood, Washington, DC will get a name change.