Blog 2585 – 11.26.2022
Who Was The First To Discover America?
Was it Columbus in 1492 or the Vikings many years earlier? The answer is of course neither of the above. For years I have told people that the idea of European’s discovering America is a stupid as the image of someone walking into the middle of Times Square in New York City today, planting a flag, and claiming that they discovered New York. There were millions of people here when the first Europeans arrived, but as Pocahontas sings to John Smith in the movie, “You think the only people who are people are the people who think and act like you, but if you walk the footsteps of a stranger you’ll learn things you never knew you never knew.” The Europeans devastated the forests to create “growing space.” And proceeded to depopulated the place and claim it for their own.
The history of Western expansion is littered with the bones of those who stood in the way of “progress.” Some years ago a song came out that says, “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” I am not suggesting that we all become Luddites, Amish, or go Native American. But, I do think it is high time we gave voice to the lie that “might makes right” and admit that great wrongs have often been perpetrated and still are in the name of progress when greed was then and is still the true motive.
The victors they say write the history books but all the “spin” in the world cannot change the facts. The facts are shown on the above map. There were people occupying the Americas, north and south, when the Norsemen and when the Europeans arrived. Had they known what was coming they would have double bolted the door. The few that survived are mostly relegated to reservations, the best lands being occupied by the invaders. The encouraging word here is that they have had far greater influence on the conquerors than just their sports teams being named after them.
Still the myth persists that this nation was founded by folk seeking religion freedom when the truth is it was stollen from the rightful possessors by businessmen looking for gold, free land, and wishing to turn a profit no matter who it hurt, all so they could pave paradise, put up a parking lot, and celebrate Black Friday.
Seen any Pilgrims or Indigenous peoples sharing a Turkey dinner lately? In all likelihood they never did, but it makes a better cover story for what really happened. A beloved college professor who loved the native Hawaiian culture often shared in class the quote: “The white men came and said, ‘Look up, look up to Jesus’ and when we did they took our women, our houses, and our lands.” That’s the story of, that’s the glory of, not the greatest love story, but the story of one of the greatest land grabs in history from seas to shining sea and even many miles beyond.
Your friend and fellow traveler,