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Transforming Columbus Day 2005
By Ward Churchill
Sep 29, 2005, 10:33am

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This email comes from the transform Columbus Day mailing list. For more information about those activities go here.

One hundred years ago the City of Denver instituted the first Columbus Day holiday. It was then, and continues to be today, a celebration of the genocidal legacy of colonization upon which has allowed the United States to become the world's sole superpower.

October 12 also marks 512 years of indigenous resistance to the slaughter and mass incarceration of our peoples, the elimination of our cultures, and the expropriation of our lands and resources all of which mainstream America proclaims an "acceptable" price for the so-called progress which now threatens to make the planet uninhabitable.

The American Indian Movement of Colorado has been in the forefront of the effort to transform this holiday from a celebration of race-based hatred and destruction to an affirmation of the human rights of all peoples. We have helped form a multiethnic coalition of over eighty organizations which has mobilized tens of thousands to protest Columbus Day.

The City of Denver has resisted our attempts to create an alternative which respects all peoples. Instead, it has repeatedly and illegally arrested those who protest this celebration of genocide. Since 1992 three separate juries have acquitted all 11 of the protesters who have been brought to trial, and the City has had to drop the charges against 400 others.

Last year the City arrested over 240 people, including children and elders, who protested the expression of hate speech represented by the so-called parade. When the jury understood *why* we considered it necessary to do so, all seven of the defendants in the first trial were acquitted and the City was forced to drop the charges against all remaining defendants.

On January 25, 2005 we announced this victory at a press conference. Since
our protests began in 1992, the Denver area media and, in particular, the
*Rocky Mountain News* have been overtly hostile to our efforts to transform
Columbus Day. Thus, it is no accident that on January 26, the very day
after our press conference, the media began its barrage of attacks on me.

In February and March alone the *Rocky Mountain News *and the *Denver Post*ran roughly 400 articles featuring false and defamatory allegations against me. For the most part these did not address my supposedly controversial comments about the causes of 9/11, but were designed to systematically discredit my testimony at the Columbus Day trial. Predictably, these smear tactics are now being extended from me to all those who oppose the celebration of Columbus' legacy.

What the editors of the *Rocky Mountain News* and the political forces behind them do not understand is that we have been fighting this same pattern of lies for over 500 years. They have not and will not silence me, but that is not the point. The movement to Transform Columbus Day will
continue because our collective future, the well-being of all generations to come, is at sake.

******

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