Native American protesters have been demonstrating against Columbus Day in Seattle for several years. Protest organizers say that Columbus should not be credited with discovering the western hemisphere at a time when it was already inhabited.

Discovering the myth and meaning of Columbus Day

Christopher Columbus is widely understood to have discovered the “New World” here in the Americas. But it was certainly not new to the millions who had long lived in this hemisphere. Indeed, their fatal discovery was that their world, as they knew it, was about to end.

Columbus initiated a period of tremendous suffering and genocide for Native people. Yet, despite his well-documented crimes against humanity, he is revered by many as a hero and a symbol of ethnic pride.

Columbus-Day2How and why do Americans celebrate Columbus Day, and what can we do to honor instead those who tragically welcomed him to their lands? Come discover “The Myths of Discovery: Re-Thinking the Meaning of Columbus Day” on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 6 to 8 PM, at Arch Street UMC, 55 N. Broad St., Philadelphia PA. A light supper and child care will be provided. RSVP to the Facebook event page. For more information, contact davidkrueger01@gmail.com or 267-259-4995.

Have portrayals of Columbus changed over time? Why do so many believe that American history only begins when Europeans arrive? This forum will facilitate a thoughtful discussion on the meaning of the Columbus story and other American discovery myths.

IndigenousPEoplesDayIn order to live as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, we must seek justice and truth in the stories we tell about the past. The event will also provide an opportunity to sign a petition to call for Philadelphia civic leaders to consider the official recognition of Indigenous People’s Day. All are invited to attend. Several scholars and community leaders will serve as panelists, including:

  • Rev. Dr. John Norwood – leader in the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation and Co-Chair of the Task Force on Federal Acknowledgment of the National Congress of American Indians
  • Rev. David M. Krueger, PhD – deacon, historian, and author of Myths of the Rune Stone Viking Martyrs and the Birthplace of America

Also, be sure to read Bishop Peggy Johnson’s new Bishop’s Blog essay, “Being true ‘Christ-bearers’ in search of peace” about the tragic genocide that followed Columbus’ “discovery” of the “New World” and the fallacy of honoring him when we should instead honor the world’s indigenous people.

Information provided by the Rev. David M. Krueger, CONAM