Christopher Columbus: Our Original Invader from Mars

4 thoughts on “Christopher Columbus: Our Original Invader from Mars”

  1. During the pope’s visit, and the Junipero Serra canonization spectacle, I read this Cutcha Risling Baldy article about disease among native people that addresses some of the common myths about Native genocide in the America, including that they lacked immunity to EuroPEON germs. Her article was specifically about California, but the same could apply to the effect Columbus’s invasion had on the Taino:

    “Jack Forbes, who was a Professor of Native American Studies at UC Davis, wrote in his book Native Americans of California and Nevada that what people discount when they start talking about “Indians died of diseases” is that Native people had been living in organized cultures and societies for thousands upon thousands of years. They had lived through epidemics before and their oral stories support this. They had developed medicine, surgery, psychology, and many other practices meant to keep them healthy. They had ways of addressing things like the flu, or small pox or other diseases that for some reason when we learn about them in history class become unstoppable epidemics.

    “Because that’s the implication right? It’s just that Native peoples immune systems were so weak and the super strong Europeans who had the antibodies they needed, they could survive. But Native peoples who were so (primitive? different? weak?) just couldn’t handle the super duper European disease.

    “Jack Forbes’ point, is that they could have. They already had in a number of ways. But when you are talking about genocide you are talking about the disruption of everything, you are talking about the end of the world. And maybe some Indians would have died of the “the flu” but had the government or the State of California stepped up and said “no genociding!” and provided resources, or even just protection… does a majority of a population die of disease? Or does the population continue what it has already been doing for thousands upon thousands of years— living.”—Cutcha Risling Baldy, from “In which we establish that there was a genocide against Native Americans, yes there was, it was genocide, yes or this is why I teach Native Studies part 3 million” []

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