Posts Tagged ‘Columbus

11
Aug
08

Indiana Jones’ Revenge: Stolen Taino Artifacts being sold from France; Conquering Garifuna Beaches; Undoing Columbus

Over at one of the other blogs for which I write occasionally, The CAC Review, you can read a story of how a dealer wrote to me (oddly enough in my capacity as the current, soon to be former, editor of Kacike) advertising various Taino artifacts for sale that were removed from the Dominican Republic, illegally. A collaborator and comrade indicated that this would be just a tiny fragment of what has been seized. Images of the stolen items are shown in that post. It is saddening to see foreign raiders continuing to plunder the Caribbean across the centuries, as if it were something lying in wait to be raped.

On that same blog, see another post for this week, which outlines other attempts at raiding the Caribbean, such as the mega tourist project planned for the Honduran Garifuna’s “wasted” beaches.

Clearly, not all Europeans take pleasure in conquest: a dozen Italian, pro-indigenous, organizations are undoing the “legacy” of Christopher Columbus from the very centre, with a campaign starting in Genoa itself, lobbying the Italian Parliament to make October 11 a day of remembrance of the genocide of indigenous peoples. That day is the day before “Columbus Day.” This should send one signal to some wayward Italo-American ethnic politicians who have invented “Columbus Day” as a statement of Italian pride: it is not, and please stop acting in our names.

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30
Apr
05

Cannibal Stories

The following statement was originally produced by CAC editor Pedro Ferbel-Azcarate:
The misidentification of cannibalism for ancestor worship, reported in Columbus’ 1493 log, can be seen today as a classic case of cultural misunderstanding.
Using multidisciplinary lines of evidence we can see that Columbus misunderstood the cultural practice of Native people in storing the bones of their ancestors in calabash gourdes in their homes. He mistakenly believed this was a practice of cannibalism. There is scant archaeological evidence of cannibalism in the Caribbean. We would expect to find butchering marks on long bones of human remains if there was a significant practice of cannibalism. The lack of such evidence makes archaeologists reject cannabalism as a common practice in the Caribbean.
It appears that the mythology of cannibalism was promoted by such early European explorers as Columbus as a means to portray the Indigenous people of the Caribbean as savages. This denigration of Native peoples led to the European justification to enslave them, take their lands, and create a racist system whereby people who were not of European origin were given alower social status.
The portrayal of Native Caribbean Americans as cannibals and savages in a new Disney movie aimed at children perpetuates negative stereotypes and a false understanding of colonial history. Disney Corp. should be ashamed by their intentions to put profit above the dignity of human communities. Disney should retract their portrayal of Indigenous Caribbeans as cannibals and savages and should offer a formal apology to Chief Charles Williams and the Carib people of Dominica, as well as to all Indigenous people of the Caribbean.
The real adventure story is about the survival of Indigenous Caribbean people to the present day, a story rarely told. After 500 years years of resistance, the Native Carib (Kalinago) and Taino have survived to the present day.



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