Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

June 19, 2020

'Christopher Columbus, Slave Trader' by Paiute Steve Melendez, American Indian Genocide Museum

Christopher Columbus, Slave Trader

Handless Columbus statue in Houston.

By Steve Melendez, Pyramid Lake Paiute
President, American Indian Genocide Museum

Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison won the Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Christopher Columbus entitled, Admiral of the Ocean Sea. In a shorter, more easily read book, Christopher Columbus, Mariner which was published in 1942, he wrote, “The cruel policy initiated by Columbus and pursued by his successors resulted in complete genocide.” Some interesting items of his extensive research were published in 1963 under the title of Journals and Other Documents on the Life of Christopher Columbus.

Here is found the letter of Michele de Cuneo dated 28 October 1495. What I find odd is that Christopher Columbus’ slave-trading seems to be absent from the public narrative. Morison explains who Michele de Cuneo was, writing, “Michele de Cuneo belonged to a noble family of Savona, on the Ligurian Littoral a few miles west of Genoa. His father, Corrado de Cuneo, in 1474 had sold to Domenico Colombo, father of the Admiral, a country house near Savona; and it is probable that he and Christopher were boyhood friends.” He sailed with Columbus on the second voyage to the new world. In Cuneo’s letter, he describes how Columbus loaded 550 natives onto four ships bound for enslavement in Spain and refers to Columbus as the “Lord Admiral”. He wrote:

“When our caravels in which I wished to go home had to leave for Spain, we gathered together in our settlement 1600 people male and female of those Indians, of whom, among the best males and females, we embarked on our caravels on 17 February 1495, 550 souls. Of the rest who were left the announcement went around that whoever wanted them could take as many as he pleased; and this was done. And when everybody had been supplied there were some 400 of them left to whom permission was granted to go wherever they wanted. Among them were many women who had infants at the breast. They, in order the better to escape us, since they were afraid we would turn to catch them again, left their infants anywhere on the ground and started to flee like desperate people; and some fled so far that they were removed from our settlement of Isabela 7 or 8 days beyond mountains and across huge rivers; wherefore from now on scarcely any will be had. Among these people who were taken was one of their kings with two chiefs, who it was decided should be killed with arrows on the following day, so they were tied up; but knew so well how to gnaw one another’s ropes with their teeth, that they were freed from their bonds and escaped.

Of this capture and embarkation of people aboard the caravels news reached King Guacanagari near our settlement. He sent an ambassador to King Caonabo who was his superior, to inform him of that thing, and who ordered him to go in person and learn the reason the Lord Admiral had ordered it done. But that King Guacanagari, doubtful for his own person, did not go to him but sent two of his most wise and eloquent men to the Lord Admiral to learn about the matter. However, the Lord Admiral sent to tell him that he himself should come, since he could better explain everything to him”

Later in the letter he tells how “about 200 of those Indians died” on the voyage to Spain and how, “We cast them into the sea.” Columbus should not be glorified with statues not only because of the genocide
and enslavement of the people he pretended to be friends with but because of the racist colonial law he represents. Codified into law by the 1823 Supreme Court Decision, Johnson v. M’Intosh, this law remained hidden from view and known only to U.S. Government lawyers until it was printed in a now out-of-print law dictionary in 1990. This was done only to commemorate the 500-year anniversary of his landing in the new world. It has rigged the system so that the Indians would always lose in the white man’s court of law. It reads:

Discovery, international law, As the foundation for a claim of national ownership or sovereignty, discovery is the finding of a country, continent, or island previously unknown, or previously known
only to its uncivilized inhabitants.

How does this systemic disfranchisement work? In the case of the Western Shoshone, when they tried to get their Treaty of Ruby Valley of 1863 honored in the U.S. court system, the government lawyers dragged their suit through the courts for three decades then said, we can’t do anything for you but here, take this little bit of settlement money, you are not selling the land. The government lawyers could do this with a straight face because the white man’s secret law says that the Indians lost ownership of their land when Columbus discovered it. This is called the Doctrine of Discovery. But don’t bother trying to find it in any dictionary today because Black’s Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition is out-of-print.

Steve Melendez

President, American Indian Genocide Museum

June 2020


more-than-worlds said...
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more-than-worlds said...

Reposting! Cristo for Come rob us=(cristofer columbus) Th 13 granmothers council ,went to th vatican to get a renunciation & true reconciliation from th “doctrine of dis-covery” ,,( nazi) pupe benidict:replied th indigenous ppl should be grateful for th gospel,, he is hidding in th vatican now throwndown from knowing th centurys of abuse & molestations / some abused children have called for judgement on th rottencorruptions/,, I rememder Hopi Elder Thomas Banyanyaca speak of the worst of all damaging things: “They will be trying to go to th stars,, the things they send into the sky above our mother planet ( satillites ) cause th worst harm to our life”
W.Shoshone Newe Segobia spiritual lider Grampa Corbin Harney : “Lets take care of what we got,, we got one water, one air, one mother earth”. ImportantVideo> 5gsummit. Start at 17:00 min,, then skip to start at 31:10 min Arthur Firstenburg elon musk is atempting to launch 34,000 Satillites into the IONOSPHERE in the next 3-4 months! : each satillite intended to emitt 1 million watts to points on our mother planet/ extremely dangerous! Quite possibly causing mass extenction / th selfdestructive vainity for corpirategreed 5g has Zero safety & testing for dangers ect/ there are lots of milatary studies from dangers of 2G coldwar era/// today>,, guineapiggery of corpirates & gov. purposefully neglecting any accountability very dangerous,harm to all life!, possibly permanently harm our planets’ IONOSPHERE/ vides below are truth that parts of aisia & africa successfullypreventing & healing vyrusescv9tine. / pHARMicuticals cannot compare to prayers & healing plants! Plz share: Always give thanks in ceremonys n prayers>: atremsia annua & afra and quinine/ cinchona bitter herbs cool and protect th body/ also food source zinc : pumpkin seeds,aicai and blueberrys,raw greens, asperagas, ect build bodys cells strength protect from vyruses