The story of indigenous people is often forgotten or ignored piece of history. The State of Arizona should recognize its indigenous population by celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day in lieu of Columbus Day. The lack of representation and information about native people has perpetuated damaging myths and stereotypes. Native Americans rank at or near the bottom of most socio-economic indicators — such as educational attainment, domestic violence, and poverty — and are often portrayed in popular entertainment, the news media, educational curriculum and other influential sources as 'noble savages’ of times past. Research shows that a more powerful, more accurate, and more inspiring narrative about the contemporary native experience — one of innovation, creativity, resilience, and community — s being overlooked and obscured by a negative one.

I would like to commend the town of Pinetop-Lakeside for establishing Indigneous People’s Day rather than Columbus Day; it is a step in unifying our two diverse communities. We must acknowledge the pain and suffering reflected in the stories of Native Americans. The past we share is marked by too many broken promises, violence, and deprivation. It is a history that we must recognize as we seek to build a brighter future … side by side and with cooperation and mutual respect for one another. By knowing the story of indigenous people we understand ourselves and others better. It binds us together and reaffirms that we all are Americans. If this holiday is adopted during the next legislative session it will help us recognize our mistakes and shake us from familiar narratives and make us uncomfortable, but it is precisely because of that discomfort that we learn and grow and harness our collective power to make this nation more perfect. That is the story Indigenous Peoples’ Day will tell; one of suffering and delight, one of fear but also one of hope. It is in our embrace of truth that we become stronger people.

Dylan O. Baca

Blue Ridge High School

(2) comments


Good letter. We need to teach the true story of the genocidal maniac that Columbus was in our schools. If everyone knew the real history about the death and destruction he caused we would not have department stores and car dealerships celebrating sales in his name I can assure you.

che guevara

Cristofaro Colombo / Cristobal Colon , aka the Anglicized Christopher Columbus , remains an enigmatic man to whom much credit is nonetheless deserved despite the popular and prevailing tide of political correctness . " Una Gente en Dios " ( A People in God ) are the words used by Colombo to describe the people he encountered in the New World , with his expression having been corrupted into the word Indios ( in Spanish ) , which was then again Anglicized into Indians . While there was indeed a long period of " death and destruction " following in the wake of his discovery , it is important to note that this was largely the work of the an excessive and brutish population of peasants from the Iberian peninsula ( Conquistadores ) seeking to better their lives by way of plunder which was assisted by the zealotry and persistent psychosis of the Catholic Church , which also brought about such barbarity as the Inquisition . Additionally , the Spanish Kingdoms which just recently emerged from almost 800 years of war against the Islamic occupation of their homeland ( the last stronghold of Granada fell in 1492 - what a coincidence ) were impoverished after having endured centuries of excessive taxation , subjugation and cruelty . This has always been the fertile ground from which genocides and invasions are sown . The British Empire sprouted from this same soil , as did the multitude of Chinese kingdoms , the Arab and Moorish Empires shortly after having adopted the Islamic religion and subsequently crossing the Straits of Gibraltar in 711 AD , and the American Empire as evidenced by the quagmire in the Middle East today and it's history of bringing death and destruction around the globe ever since WWII .

In fact , if you take a good hard look at all empires and powerful nations you will find the same pattern regardless of race , nationality or creed . All just part of man's simple way of life . Moreover , the native peoples themselves were brutal to one another long before the arrival of the Europeans . In the Caribbean for example , where Colombo landed , the cannibalistic Caribe Indians had long - subjugated the other more docile tribes and brutalized their fellow natives . The Caribe also went as far as to caponize young boys from the other tribes in order to make them more delectable to dine upon , much like is done to livestock today . When the Spanish arrived they represented a protective force from the Caribe . The conquest of Mexico by Cortez and his 500 or so soldiers was only possible because numerous subjugated tribes within the Aztec Empire allied with the Spanish to help overthrow their Aztec oppressors . Much the same happened with Pizzaro in his reliance upon other oppressed natives to help conquer the Inca Empire in the Andes . Our own southwestern United States also experienced this phenomenon as Zunis assisted the army in subjugating the Navajo under such psychopaths as Kit Carson , the White Mountain Apache Scouts assisted the army in subjugating the more aggressive Apache bands , and so on and so forth . So then , my suggestion to you young man , is to delve much deeper into history and cultivate a broader understanding of human nature and dynamics , rather than simply allowing yourself to fall prey to the prevalent chitter - chatter of political correctness , as all tribes of humanity are guilty of the same crimes .

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