AMERICA IS NOT GREAT
By Chili Yazzie, Dine'
Columbus in his report to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand wrote, “So tractable, so peaceable, are these people, that I swear to your Majesties there is not in the world a better nation. They love their neighbors as themselves, and their discourse is ever sweet and gentle, and accompanied with a smile; and though it is true that they are naked, yet their manners are decorous and praiseworthy.” He was describing the Arawak and Taino peoples of the Caribbean; this would have been generally descriptive of the Indigenous peoples of the western hemisphere.
He then proceeded to round up native peoples for the slave market in Spain. The preferred capture was of young girls, 10 to 13-year old for sex slaves. He came back again and again to earn the distinction of america’s first slave trader. As columbus expanded his cruel exploits, any resistance was quickly squashed, they chopped the legs and arms off of resisting natives and burned them alive. He set the precedence with these atrocities for his successors under all flags of imperialism.
The Pope issued papal bulls in 1455 declaring that all people of color are to be vanquished and all their possessions taken; in 1493 the Pope “gifted” all of the western hemisphere to Spain. These papal orders evolved into the Doctrine of Discovery which has been and remains the authorization and justification for the newcomers to get rich by any means, initiating the biggest land theft and greatest genocide in history. The Doctrine of Discovery is inhumane, immoral, and illegal, it is a brazen violation of human rights. Inexplicably it remains a principal of american law.
Personal wealth was an intent in the forming of america, the founding fathers (wealthy slave owning white men) designed a government that would benefit their one-percenter status. If the banner of freedom, justice, and prosperity for all had been true; women, working people, the poor and people of color would not have had to struggle and die for their rights before being amended to the constitution. Yet the injustices continue.
Violence is exponentially perpetrated upon the earth and peoples of good heart. The violence is exacted by those who rabidly brawl for more wealth and to have/retain power. The appeal for racial equity and justice is met with brute force. There is great imbalance in america. America is in danger of collapse as a “great civilization”, due to the provisos for greed and the white supremacy bias in its founding, intentional or naively not. This is the foundational wrong of america.
The Almighty Creator set humanity on this earth, all with a common set of instructions for life. The core principles being, to honor all creation and to have compassion. Columbus’ description of Caribbean Indigenous peoples corroborates that Indigenous peoples remained true to those instructions, indeed, even to this modern day. The one real hope for true greatness of america would be to honor and live the original instructions the Creator designed and intended for all humankind.
Shiprock, Navajo Nation, NM