To the editor:

I remember warmly high school track meets with Leslie Maslak. I am always happy to know that her love of kin and country is part of the fabric of this community. 

Just as I’d compete on the team with her to make the Cody team stronger, I’m answering her call to research and stand up for honest history. Eye-witness evidence from Dominican Priest Bartolomé de las Casas is covered Nov. 5, 2012, in the Jesuit Review from the journals of las Casas who was under Columbus’s command. Armored Spaniards pacified villages by initiating massacres; they enslaved their captives and punished any who rebelled by cutting off their hands; thousands of Taino died from overwork in the mines and plantations. 

He saw soldiers drawing their swords “to rip open the bellies” of men, women, children and old folk, “all of whom were seated, off guard and frightened,” so that “within two credos, not a man of all of them there remained alive.” In 1514 he gave up land and slaves given to him, and refused absolution for Christians who would not do the same, becoming a prophetic defender of Indigenous people. 

Of course Columbus was a remarkable adventurer. He is as complicated as you and I. He traveled authorized by the Papal Bulls of 1452 and 1455 “to invade, search out, capture, vanquish and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies ...[in lands they encounter] and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery.” 

Historical resources from Catholic records abide. If the decimated Indigenous people are of interest to you, there’s a good student history paper from Western Ore-gon University here: chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/viewer.html? 

The history happened. How our memory shapes current and future relations with Indigenous neighbors matters.

(s) Mary KelLer


(5) comments

Jim Guelde

During the waning months of the Japanese empire, 150 American prisoners at Palawan POW camp in the Philippines were herded into bunkers, doused with barrels of gasoline and burned alive. The folks who topple statues of Cruel Christopher Columbus drive their Japanese automobiles to the protest. Go figger.

Charles Johnson

And it's not hypocritical at all that you wrote that comment using a computer manufactured in China.....

Jim Guelde

As a matter of fact, Chuck… I used a computer made right here in Cody. Any other distractions you want to try?

Tom Conners

The old story about Columbus discovering America is tired. The real discovery belongs to the Vikings who were on this continent long before Columbus was even born...yet these tales keep getting pushed.

Mary Keller

If someone is already living someplace for 12,000 plus years, can it be discovered? I can imagine giving the Vikings credit for their seamanship, but not discovery.

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