Posts Tagged ‘Colonialism’


(The following is a repost of a piece we ran a year ago.)

Chris Mato Nunpaby Chris Mato Nunpa, PhD
retired professor of History at Southwest Minnesota State University and author of the upcoming (January 2020) The Great Evil: Genocide, the Bible, and the Indigenous People of the United States

Back in October of 1947, I entered first grade at the Granite Falls Public Schools, Granite Falls, Minnesota, USA. This is when I first heard about a man named Christopher Columbus. As far as I can remember, I never heard my father or mother mention this person. When one of my teachers talked about Columbus, she taught us a poem which began, “In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” This is a line that I have remembered, now that I am 78 “winters” on. The teacher taught us that Columbus “discovered” America. The second thing I remember is a picture of Columbus on the shore with a cross. In my mind, I thought, “Columbus must be a Christian. So, he must be a good man.” The Christian missionaries had taught us Dakota children, in the late 1940s, that Christians are good people because they are serving God, and that the cross was good and sacred. The white man’s educational system did, and does, very efficient teaching, or indoctrination, or brainwashing, along with help from his religious theology system, and the missionaries.

Later, as I grew up and became educated, I discovered that the things which I heard and learned not only in first grade in 1947, but also in the other grades up to 1959 when I graduated from high school, were mostly lies. Columbus DID NOT DISCOVER America, and that there were approximately 16 million, if not more, Indigenous Peoples already here in the continental United States. Columbus may have been the first western-European to make it to the Americas and even there, there is some debate about that. The other thing I learned was that Columbus was a bad man, a very bad man – that he and his soldiers killed millions of our Native Peoples on the islands of the Caribbean Sea. Columbus was a Genocidaire, a perpetrator of Genocide. This Genocide of the Native Peoples began what I call “The Great Evil,” which I discuss at length in my book of the same name, The Great Evil (Wosice Tanka Kin): Genocide, the Bible, and the Indigenous Peoples of the United States, to be published in September 2019.

Let me provide an incident which illustrates the cruelty and brutality of Columbus and his soldiers. In the course of Columbus’ making of war, what the Spanish called “pacification” to describe their campaign of terror and killing against the Indigenous peoples of the Caribbean. Las Casas, a Catholic missionary, witnessed an event. And I quote:

Spaniards found pleasure in inventing all kinds of odd cruelties, the more cruel the better, with which to spill blood. They built a long gibbet, low enough for the toes to touch the ground and prevent strangling, and hanged thirteen natives at a time in honor of Christ our Saviour and the twelve Apostles.

Note that Las Casas mentions that the Spaniards hanged and killed thirteen Native Peoples at a time “in honor of Christ out Saviour and the twelve Apostles.” In the upcoming book, The Great Evil (for January 2020 release), I’ll provide many specific Bible verses that were quoted by the killers of Indigenous Peoples in hundreds upon hundreds of genocidal massacres in the first four centuries the invaders, stealers, killers, and destroyers were here — the 1500s, the 1600s, the 1700s, and the 1800s.

Here are a few of the genocidal actions that were perpetrated against the First Nations Peoples of the Caribbean: using “ferocious dogs that had been trained to kill and disembowel”; Columbus’ troops “went wild, stealing, killing, raping, and torturing natives”; “would test their swords and their manly strength” on captured Indigenous Peoples by “slicing off of heads or the cutting of bodies in half with one blow”; “cutting off of hands” of Native Peoples if they did not bring in their quota of gold; tearing “babes from their mother’s breast by their feet, and dashed their heads against the rocks” (see Psalms 137:9, KJV); the soldiers would “rip open the bellies, to cut and kill those lambs – men, women, children, and old folk”; etc. In twenty-one years, 8 million Indigenous Peoples “had been killed by violence, disease, and despair” (compare with the more than the 6 million Jews killed by Hitler and his Nazis in WWII. These examples and information can be found in David Stannard’s book American Holocaust (1992, pp. x, & 69-72).

Let me quote a few comments from Dr. Ward Churchill:

As a symbol, Christopher Columbus vastly transcends himself. He stands before the bar of history and humanity, culpable not only for his deeds on Española, but, in spirit at least, for the carnage and cultural obliteration which attended the conquest of Mexico and Peru during the 1500s. He stands as exemplar of the massacre of Pequots at Mystic in 1637 . . . His spirit informed the policies of John Evans and John Chivington as they set out to exterminate the Cheyennes in Colorado during 1864, and it rode with the 7th U.S. Cavalry to Wounded Knee in December of 1890 . . . .  (A Little Matter of Genocide p. 92)

The arrival of Columbus began the period of “The Great Evil,” or Wosice Tanka Kin (a Dakota phrase), which has lasted for the past 526 years. In that period, 16 million people have been murdered in the continental United States, and anywhere from 110 to 125 million slaughtered in the Americas primarily by U.S. Euro-Americans and western Euro-Americans. Stannard writes, “The destruction of the Indians of the Americas was, far and away, the most massive act of genocide in the history of the world (Stannard, American Holocaust, p. x).

Columbus was an evil man.


Thin Air cover(Thin Air, by Richard K. Morgan. Del Rey, 2018, 528 pp, $28.00)

by Zeke Teflon

It’s nice to have Richard K. Morgan (aka Richard Morgan in the UK, for god knows what reason) back writing sci-fi after what seems to have been a decade wasted writing fantasy, the Landpit for Heroes trilogy. Having been a huge fan of Morgan’s previous sci-fi novels (especially the Kovacs trilogy and Black Man) I read the first thick-as-a-brick book in the trilogy, The Steel Remains — notable for its lack of plot — and got through the first two pages of the second book, The Cold Commands, before deciding I couldn’t stand reading any more of it.

Thin Air is a return to form. The tone is reminiscent of both the Kovacs books and Black Man (Thirteen in the U.S.) in both grittiness and political subtext. It’s set on a very dystopian Mars a couple of centuries hence, and is a commentary on the results of colonialism in a neo-liberal context. (Various streets and buildings are dubbed Gingrich, Hayek, Reagan, Rand, etc.)

One of the opening quotes sets the tone:

Far from heroic and romantic heraldry that customarily is used to symbolize the European settlement of the Americas, the emblem most congruent with reality would be a pyramid of skulls. (Dean Stannard, American Holocaust)

For the purposes of this review, suffice it to say that the anti-hero of this brutal tale, Veil, a genetically modified former corporate mercenary, is every bit as emotionally numbed and damaged as former envoy Takeshi Kovacs in the Kovacs trilogy. (FYI, the first book in the Kovacs series, Altered Carbon, and its sequels, is much different and considerably better than the still-good Netflix series based on it.)

The plot is intricate; every single corporate, political and governmental entity is corrupt and treacherous; and the action is almost nonstop and graphically described. There’s a huge amount of violence in this book, all of it very well and stomach-churningly depicted, and a much smaller amount of graphic and accurately described sexual content — a very welcome departure from the customary sci-fi norm of cartoonish ultraviolence and prudish sexual avoidance.

Welcome back Richard K. Morgan.

Highly recommended.

(The only thing I’d add is that for those interested in the psychology of colonialism, the best sci-fi work is Mike Resnick’s A Hunger in the Soul, regarding a barely disguised East Africa. The two best works period are Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and his appallingly funny short story “An Outpost of Progress.” Barbara Kingsolver’s horrifying The Poisonwood Bible is also well worth a read.)

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Zeke Teflon is the author of Free Radicals: A Novel of Utopia and Dystopia (pdf sample here). He’s currently working on the sequel, a Spanish-English translation on Venezuelan anarchist history, a nonfiction book on the seamier sides of Christianity, two compilations, and an unrelated sci-fi novel.

Free Radicals, by Zeke Teflon front cover