INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S DAY 2017

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If you travel in the West 59th Street section of Manhattan, you have to move quickly. And remember to look up every few seconds.  It’s not just the unsafe construction cranes.  Christopher Columbus – the man, the myth, the statue, and the traffic circle – is starting to wobble, its conceptual and PR foundation is shaky.  The hero worship afforded this man will soon come to an end.  The statue will be relocated, not destroyed, and Columbus’ true historical impact will be studied in the public schools.  Finally.

The recent, unwanted “Columbus Day” spotlight is in part a result of efforts to remove statues honoring white supremacists from public spaces.  Robert E. Lee, “Stonewall” Jackson, and Bedford Forrest are among the targets deserving reinterpretation. And, of course, these recent developments are the harvest from long years of organizing and educating by the aboriginal people themselves.

Indigenous People’s Day 2017 will be commemorated THIS MONDAY, October 9th. Its highlight will be a sunrise ceremony on Randall’s Island.  The weekend of events will take place amid heavy political, and moral pressure to end the celebration of the Christopher Columbus Day myth.  Sadly, the main defenders of the false narrative are “progressive” politicians Governor Mario Cuomo and Mayor Bill De Blasio.

The Randall Island ceremony is organized by the Redhawk Arts Council, a collective of indigenous artists and cultural workers.  This year’s program has been expanded from one to two days.  The Sunday program will run from 11 AM until 5 PM.  There will be cultural performances, food and crafts vendors.  A camp area will allow overnight stays if you preregister and bring your tent or tipi.  The program is free to the public, details or overnight registration can be had at (https://redhawkcouncil.org/).

Monday’s program will begin at daybreak, so an arrival at around 6:30 AM is required.  The venue is the Harlem River field at Icahn Stadium.   The weather forecast is for warm and clear skies, a perfect backdrop for a majestic sunrise gathering.  Everyone is welcome to participate, but the indigenous people should and will take the lead role in exposing, explaining and sharing their culture.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE SAY “GOODBYE COLUMBUS”

This year’s Monday ceremony will repeat the sharing of the water ceremony, where clean, purifying water is symbolically mixed with the waters of New York harbor.  In last year’s ceremony, an indigenous elder from Hawaii hand carried water from the summit of an island mountain range.

The melted snow symbolized the importance of pure water, a message that every Flint Michigan resident has learned in recent years, and that the residents of Puerto Rico are understanding as we speak.  The elders say that you don’t miss water until your well is dry.

The public schools will be closed on Monday, although the motive for the closing is to perpetuate the false “Columbus is a hero” narrative.  This creates a perfect opportunity for the type of experiential education the bureaucracy ignores. Parents, you need to expose their children to the cultural traditions of other communities.  Pack a picnic brunch, carry a lawn chair or your yoga mat, catch the early Randall’s bus at 125th and Lexington, and teach your children what the Department of Mis-Education will not or cannot.

BED STUY SAYS, STOP THE COLUMBUS WHITEWASH

Central Brooklyn activists will continue their efforts to force change at the NYC Department of Education.  Their message is simple; TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS’ CRIMES.

For generations, the New York City school system has knowingly deceived its students, both Black and white. It has excused and/or rationalized Columbus’ participation in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the illegal conquest of the Caribbean, and the genocide of indigenous nations.  This has to end, but will not end until a broad community movement makes it happen.
The Brooklyn branch of the Coalition for Public Education (CPE) will hold its 4th annual teach-in on the “Columbus Day” deception.  Their community dinner will take place at the event center,  257 Nostrand Avenue (near Lafayette.)  This free education event (donations can and should be made) will begin promptly at 6PM, with a healthy dinner service.  This will be followed by a screening of the 1992 documentary, INCIDENT AT OGLALA,  which describes the imprisonment of Leonard Peltier, one of America’s longest held political prisoners.  The evening will end with a discussion of strategies to change the Department of Education, reform the teaching process, and to improve our children’s life chances.
 The coalition is a multi-racial, multi-cultural group of parents, teachers, and community activists who are working to improve the public schools.  Coalition member organization Paul Robeson Freedom School is the host.  Co-sponsors include the Sons of Faith and the Struggle Committee.  For more information call 347 618-8675.
The Columbus effort seeks to change the public school system’s approach to colonialism, racism, and white supremacy.  The Columbus holiday and parades discount the humanity of the red and Black people who were victimized by his actions.  It’s very important for activist parents to consider needed changes in the curriculum of the public schools.  Monday’s program questions the standard approach to the study of Columbus, conquest, and colonialism.  Raising hard questions – about the curriculum, the budget, hiring, etc. – is our responsibility to our children and our communities.
According to coalition director Rodney  Deas, “The Columbus diaries represent the appropriate primary source for any discussion of his legacy.  They document why he should be viewed as an advance scout for European colonialism and racism.  We celebrate the mythical hero with the Columbus Day, holiday, Columbus Circle, Columbus Avenue, and the Republic of Columbia – all for a guy that thinks he went to India.”

 

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