Goodbye, Columbus Day? Palo Alto debates holiday's complex legacy | September 9, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - September 9, 2022

Goodbye, Columbus Day? Palo Alto debates holiday's complex legacy

As city prepares to mark Indigenous Peoples' Day on Oct. 11, council contemplates also keeping holiday's original meaning

by Gennady Sheyner

They wanted to celebrate holidays, not debate them.

But as Palo Alto leaders prepare to adopt policies to formally recognize Juneteenth, Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta Day and to commemorate days of remembrance for the Holocaust and Armenian genocide, they are running into a thorny question: What should they call the second Monday in October?

That question prompted some head-scratching in March among members of the City Council, who ultimately opted to punt it to the city's Human Relations Commission. Last month, the commission similarly split over the question and agreed to resume the discussion this month.

Just about everyone at City Hall agrees that the day that was once universally known as Columbus Day should recognize indigenous people and be officially referred to as Indigenous Peoples' Day. The question that council members and commissioners are sparring over is whether the old name should stay or go.

Council member Tom DuBois is firmly in the former camp. DuBois, a descendant from Italian immigrants, recalled the discrimination that early Italian immigrants suffered in the United States. Perhaps the most gruesome examples of this took place in March 1891, when 11 Italian Americans were pulled out of jail and lynched in New Orleans.

DuBois suggested retaining Columbus Day while also recognizing Indigenous Peoples' Day on the same day.

"I think we should recognize that Columbus Day is really an American holiday," DuBois said. "It's really an Italian Immigrant Day. Italian immigrants clamor to be recognized and for some of these past wrongs to be righted."

Such an approach is not unprecedented. Last October, U.S. President Joe Biden became the first to officially recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day with a proclamation. He also, however, released a separate proclamation commemorating Columbus Day and praising the "millions of Italian Americans continue to enrich our country's traditions and culture and make lasting contributions to our nation."

The proclamation also cites, however, the "painful history of wrongs and atrocities that many European explorers inflicted on tribal nations and indigenous communities."

"It is a measure of our greatness as a nation that we do not seek to bury these shameful episodes of our past — that we face them honestly, we bring them to light, and we do all we can to address them," the federal proclamation states.

Not everyone believes that the Italian explorer should be honored on the same day as America's original residents, many of whom were subjugated or killed after Columbus' discovery. Council member Greer Stone, who teaches history, noted that the city is about to start commemorating remembrance days for the Holocaust and the American genocide. Keeping Columbus Day wouldn't be inclusive, he argued, so much as hypocritical.

"It was after Columbus arrived in 1492, 90% of he indigenous population in the Americas — that's 55 million people — were killed through either violent means, through murder, or through disease that was intentionally spread by Columbus and subsequent explorers," Stone said at the March meeting. "I think those two ideas are very conflicting. It appears hypocritical to have them in the same motion."

The council ultimately asked the Human Relations Commission to consider the question, which it did at its Aug. 11 meeting. Commissioner Adriana Eberle pointed to the Palo Alto Unified School District, which only recognizes Indigenous Peoples' Day and suggested that the city do the same.

"It doesn't feel right to me to recommend Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples' Day," Eberle said at the Aug. 11 meeting. "Given the history of this country, it's overdue to recognize Indigenous People's day."

The other two commissioners present, Michelle Kraus and Daryl Savage, favored the Biden approach of recognizing both holidays, though all three members agreed to discuss the issue again at their Sept. 8 meeting, where they also planned to consider the best ways to mark the holidays proposed by the council. (The meeting occurred Thursday, after the Weekly's press deadline.)

In the meantime, city staff is recommending keeping both Indigenous Peoples' Day and Columbus Day, a proposal that the council is scheduled to adopt on the "consent calendar" at its Sept. 12 meeting unless council members pull it off consent for discussion.

The council and the commission are still trying to figure out what exactly will occur on the new holidays. The commission is putting together a list of options for commemorating these days, which includes opportunities for public services, ceremonies to bring awareness to social issues and celebrate achievements and official commemorations of certain days or months to mark significant events or recognize individuals and affinity groups.

Mayor Pat Burt and Vice Mayor Lydia Kou, who earlier this year co-authored a memo urging the city to recognize more holidays, suggested that doing so would help promote racial equity and support the city's educational efforts. Kou emphasized the importance of officially marking Juneteenth, which takes place on June 19 and which celebrates the emancipation of Black people from slavery, and of Indigenous Peoples' Day.

"The Ohlone people's story is one of survival rather than victimhood," Kou said. "And we're all guests on ancestral, aboriginal Ohlone land. We should celebrate it and acknowledge those who were here before."

Burt recommended another alternative: adding Indigenous People's Day and rebranding Columbus Day to Italian Heritage Day to address DuBois' concerns.

The council also agreed that the city should recognize May as the Asian American/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month and that it should celebrate Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta Day, a May 31 holiday that would pay homage to two leaders of United Farm Workers and their efforts to promote economic justice and civil rights.

Burt strongly supported having the city do more to celebrate Chavez and Huerta, noting that Huerta visited Palo Alto a decade ago to speak at City Hall plaza.

"I think this really gives us an opportunity to have ongoing education and celebration and respect for the contribution of the diverse groups that have built our democracy and who have challenged and continued to challenge us to live up to our ideals," Burt said.

Email Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner at [email protected]

Comments

Posted by Harrison Peters
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 9, 2022 at 7:29 am

Harrison Peters is a registered user.

"Mayor Pat Burt and Vice Mayor Lydia Kou, who earlier this year co-authored a memo urging the city to recognize more holidays, "

^ As in more paid holidays for city employees?

How about consolidating all of these borderline acknowledgements into one paid holiday called 'Discovery Day' to promote further community awareness and recognition of all these cultural and historical undertakings?

Now get back to work and stop over-trivializing the PC universe.


Posted by Citizen
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 9, 2022 at 10:39 am

Citizen is a registered user.

Keep Columbus Day.

Columbus and crew intentionally killed indigenous people via passing disease? Can Greer Stone provide a few citations to back up that assertion?


Posted by Stepheny
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 9, 2022 at 10:52 am

Stepheny is a registered user.

Let's honor America's history. You lost the land, lost the battles. This happens. Revisionist history is not the truth. At one time or another, each of us has found ourselves in a minority role where we have dealt with inequality and loss. This should be a time to remember and teach what took place centuries ago, not a time to re-write it.


Posted by merry
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Sep 9, 2022 at 10:56 am

merry is a registered user.

History is history. Leave it alone.
All this tinkering just stirs the pot.


Posted by Robert
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 9, 2022 at 12:01 pm

Robert is a registered user.

Power outages, rampant crime and rising cost and this is what is priority for council?

It's all a diversion and keep Columbus day to honor the Italian heritage and create another paid holiday the unions will lap it up!


Posted by Bob Cat
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Sep 9, 2022 at 1:14 pm

Bob Cat is a registered user.

Wow, so far the comments are beyond disappointing.

We are on indigenous lands. A horrific genocide occurred here where 90% of a native population was brutally wiped out and then forced to submit to barbaric colonial ways. Then on top of that, THEIR entire history was burned, wiped, erased and forgotten... but people still think we should honor the colonizers and forget the Indigenous. The small population that was left of the natives was then forced to live in "boarding schools" across America to help further destroy and erase their cultures, traditions and languages. Stop gaslighting the Indigenous peoples and stop continue to steal their humanity. Decolonization of this land is LONG overdue and at this point, we better ask ourselves which side of history do we want to be on?

The truth about what happened in the Americas is coming out and people are recognizing the horrific background of what built the US. Renaming a day to honor the original peoples of this land should not be a debate.


Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 9, 2022 at 1:27 pm

Green Gables is a registered user.

In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue and he landed in the United States. That is history. the American Indian got the worst of it, and look what happened when the Spaniards landed in Mexico; that is also history. We cannot do anything about history. It is Columbus Day. Let it alone.


Posted by jones
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 9, 2022 at 2:26 pm

jones is a registered user.

I wish that our City Council would do what it was elected to do and is in its purview. Local government should focus on infrastructure, local crime and safety, libraries, and utilities.
This discussion wastes Council time and effort.
Instead the Council should be focused on our electric grid and how it will function once all the electric stoves, electric heaters and electric cars are plugged in. Focus on our libraries and keeping them open more hours. Do something about the inefficiencies at City Hall. Do something about the pension fiasco. And please, stop virtue signaling to the public.


Posted by Bob Cat
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Sep 9, 2022 at 2:56 pm

Bob Cat is a registered user.

@green gables - Oh and what about the history of what happened to the natives here? Seems like you only want to hear one side of the story and erase all the rest. Attempting to further gaslight and silence the Indigenous peoples is contributing to their genocide. All of you saying there are BETTER things to spend time on than the actual natives on this land should be ashamed of yourselves! You don't want to face the truth and prefer to write your own narrative. Not anymore. Colonization and white supremacy has no place on this land.


Posted by Citizen
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 9, 2022 at 3:48 pm

Citizen is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by TimR
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 9, 2022 at 4:30 pm

TimR is a registered user.

Green Gables, if there's any hope of a rational discussion on this, you need to actually study facts. I shouldn't have to point this out, but Columbus never set foot on what became the United States. Ponce de Leon was the first European to do that. And while we're on the topic, the first slaves were brought to what became the US by the Spanish, to what is the oldest city in America, St. Augustine (another one so many people get wrong/don't like to admit). But facts matter.


Posted by Paly02
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 9, 2022 at 4:42 pm

Paly02 is a registered user.

For all the folks worried that city council will focus on this instead of other things - that is why they delegated this item to the HRC, which discussed it both last night and last month at length. We are very lucky to have so many strong boards and commissions to help us achieve a wide number of things.


Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 9, 2022 at 5:27 pm

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It shouldn’t be on the level of the city. It should be on state level.
City business should be Council’s focus, with, of course necessary/occasional contacts, alliances with nearby cities, the county, the state.
We are becoming an extreme bureaucracy.


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 9, 2022 at 5:28 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

The question has to be asked as to what iota of difference will it make?

People will perhaps get a day off work or school. They will go to the beach, go shopping, not able to get into a government building, a post office or perhaps a bank. There will be no mail delivery. Caltrain may run on Sunday service. This is what people do on most holidays.

Otherwise, it is just a bit of virtue signaling.


Posted by MidtownMom
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 9, 2022 at 5:36 pm

MidtownMom is a registered user.

The hypocrisy of celebrating Indigenous People’s Day with Columbus Day is shocking and I say this as an Italian-America millennial. I am the first generation in my family who does not celebrate this day nor will expose my daughter to it.
Thank you Bob Cat for advocating for the indigenous people who long occupied this country before it was colonized. I hate to say it but schools do not come close to teaching the brutality and atrocities Columbus committed so let’s be honest with ourselves and uplift the oppressed. I don’t see a wistful celebration of Hitler being imposed on Holocaust Remembrance Day. Get with it, folks.


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Sep 9, 2022 at 5:44 pm

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I agree this should be handled at the state level, not city. City business is the focus for Council members. IMO, leave Columbus Day as is and create a holiday for Native Americans.

What difference does it make? It would make a difference to Native Americans. Honoring heritage is important. You don't have to be woke (I'm not) to understand this.


Posted by Paly02
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 9, 2022 at 6:13 pm

Paly02 is a registered user.

Just FYI the state does not give employees Columbus Day off, while the City of Palo Alto currently does. So, if we were to "let the state handle holidays" then city employees would have one fewer day off. If that is the route you think is best, I suggest emailing City Council about it (you can also copy the HRC but the item has been passed back to council now).


Posted by Jason Castelano
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 10, 2022 at 7:38 am

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History is written by the victors, not the losers. Try to keep that in mind.

Columbus Day is celebrated in New York's Little Italy with great pride as Cristobal Colon was a courageous mariner who persuaded Queen Isabella of Spain to sponsor his seafaring quest for a new route to the Indies.

Columbus established new Caribbean colonies in the name of the Spanish crown and also introduced Catholicism to the natives.

For these accomplishments Columbus has been remembered and admired for centuries.

To chastise the accomplishments of Christopher Columbus by removing this noteworthy holiday would be akin to denigrating the Pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock.

And no one wants to eliminate Thanksgiving Day.


Posted by JR
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 10, 2022 at 8:02 am

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Neo-Trumpists and other semi-fascist groups would love to cancel Columbus Day so that the shameful history can be covered up. Do not let them get their way. Columbus Day must stay so that the truth about the settlement of America will not be forgotten.


Posted by Harriet Rhodes
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 10, 2022 at 8:26 am

Harriet Rhodes is a registered user.

It is a shame that some naysayers are condemning the accomplishments of Christopher Columbus and his quest to discover The New World.

Columbus endured many hardships during his voyage including the loss of two accompanying ships, the Nina and Pinta.

Exploring and claiming new lands for Spain was no different than other western European countries colonizing the continent of Africa.


Posted by We are on Ohlone land
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 10, 2022 at 2:10 pm

We are on Ohlone land is a registered user.

The Palo Alto School District hasn’t been celebrating Columbus Day since the 1990s (in my personal experience of attendance), we called the day Indigenous People's Day. Why start celebrating Columbus Day now?

Why are we even debating, we need to move towards decolonizing. Columbus has his important place in history but it's not exactly one of honor. End white supremacy.


Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 10, 2022 at 3:41 pm

Me 2 is a registered user.

Indigenous?

Let's check what the definition of "indigenous" is: "originating or occurring naturally in a particular place; native"

The people originated from groups that came from Asia through a land bridge over the Bering Strait or by boat.

They didn't sprout from the ground spontaneously.

They are about as indigenous as my kids who were born here.


Posted by SteveDabrowski
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 10, 2022 at 4:47 pm

SteveDabrowski is a registered user.

@Me 2: Of course they sprouted, not from the ground, but rather from the imaginations of legions of pc and cancel culture adherents who know them to be pure and good, treating the earth and their fellow beings with only kindness and respect.
It is only the Europeans and Americans who invaded this garden of Eden environment that brought the desecration and havoc. Now Indigenous Peoples Day will rectify this wrong and put end to sayings like those of General Sherman's "the only good Indian is a d..d Indian".

As for Paly02, the reason the CC gave it to the HRC is so they wouldn't have to take the blame!


Posted by John
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 10, 2022 at 7:44 pm

John is a registered user.

As if the natives weren’t already eagerly genociding each other for food, women and land long before a European arrived. One tribe appealed to Columbus for aid against a cannibalistic rival. Same dynamic that let Cortes (and 50,000 Indian allies) conquer the Aztecs. And stop pretending men in 1492 understood germ theory.
You lump blood enemies together as one “indigenous people” only to attempt to effectively criticize White westerners. The history of the entire world is competition and conquest. Western Europeans happened to be best at it.


Posted by Lyle Chandler
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 12, 2022 at 8:14 am

Lyle Chandler is a registered user.

"General Sherman's "the only good Indian is a d..d Indian".

^ His sentiments towards Indians aside, General Sherman also promised '40 acres and a mule' to all newly freed African American slaves and was far too astute and intelligent to consider running for the presidency because he disdained American politics.

Sherman was a brilliant general, academically trained at West Point on how to defeat an enemy whether it be the Confederacy or Native American raiding parties harassing westward settlers.

As far as indegenous peoples, most got left behind the 8-ball because they were still living in the past...far removed from the visions of the Renaissance and the innovations of the Industrial Revolution.

This occured all over the world in backwards places like Africa, Latin America, the East Indies, Middle East and Pacific Ocean.

It was the purest form of western-inspired Manefest Destiny that only Japan was able to avoid because it embraced westernization and modern technology.

The other countries and continents got left by the wayside because of ignorance.


Posted by Robyn Harris
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 12, 2022 at 11:05 am

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@We are on Ohlone land...

The Native Americans strived to live in harmony with their natural environment.

They were not into 'ownership' of the land because as most intelligent people have realized...one cannot own anything Earthly or material.

As for ending 'white supremacy', it will gradually dissolve on its own as we become a more homogenous society.


Posted by Millennial
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 12, 2022 at 11:39 am

Millennial is a registered user.

I'm sorry to have to break this to the woke folk, but I think most people really just care whether they're getting a paid holiday or not. Although well intentioned, the efforts of the small (but LOUD) % of the population that has time to tinker with holidays and re-write history are really just creating division among people. Facts are ignored, misrepresented, and misinterpreted all the time. Stop focusing on being "right" at the expense of being divisive. Step out of your ivory tower, leave Columbus Day alone, and focus on creating peace and unity after these last 2 years of upheaval!


Posted by Arnold Jensen USN (ret.)
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 12, 2022 at 1:35 pm

Arnold Jensen USN (ret.) is a registered user.

Guglielmo Marconi (the discoverer of radio waves and the inventor of the first wireless telegraph system) is more noteworthy than Christopher Columbus.

If not for Marconi, everyday life in the modern world would be entirely different...no AM/FM/shortwave radio transmissions or recivers, no television, no cellphones, no internet routers etc.

In other words, local and global communications would be severely limited (outside of using pigeons or delivering messages/mail by ships).

A Marconi Day should pacify both the 'woke' faction and proud Italian Americans.

Columbus had his day in the sun.


Posted by Paolo Codiga
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 12, 2022 at 2:41 pm

Paolo Codiga is a registered user.

Forget about Columbus...change Columbus Day to Marco Polo Day.

Marco Polo traveled to China as a trader and brought back dried noodles, the predecessor of Italian pasta.

This endeavor was far more significant than what Columbus did.


Posted by SteveDabrowski
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 12, 2022 at 4:16 pm

SteveDabrowski is a registered user.

@Lyle Chandler: Actually I don't know if it was Sherman that said that, but it sounded good. Fully agree Sherman and Grant were real fighters and they were most responsible for the North's battlefield successes (not counting the North's industrial advantage). Cast that against Mead at Gettysburg where he might well have put an end to the conflict had he pursued Lee and captured the Army of Northern Virginia in 1963. But he didn't and the war went on for two more years.

Sherman and Grant were Patton's of their time but I'm afraid we now have more Mead's in charge as we watch the Ukrainians on a run of success which we will squander as we hold back weapons because we fear how Putin might push back. Biden just kept bleating about WWIII when, had we moved then, the war would have goner better at the start, and these same players are surly taking council of their fears as we speak.

Anyway this is far afield of the subject of Columbus [email protected]: I couldn't agree more!!


Posted by Trisha Taylor
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2022 at 8:21 am

Trisha Taylor is a registered user.

Most of these acknowledgements are best left to USPS commemorative stamps rather than as paid holidays for a chosen few.


Posted by Estelle Davis
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2022 at 3:17 pm

Estelle Davis is a registered user.

Gracious...I went to OSU and hopefully the progressives will not try to change the name of the city where it is located (Columbus, Ohio).

BTW...the OSU acronym will always be recognized and stand for Ohio State University...not Oregon State University in Corvallis.

Go Buckeyes!


Posted by Marilyn Johnson
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 13, 2022 at 6:43 pm

Marilyn Johnson is a registered user.

Columbus' oceanic expedition was no different that of Captain Cook, Sir Francis Drake, Magellan, Balboa and others.

They were all looking for new places to colonize.

No different than NASA and the PRC both vying for an exploratory Mars landing.


Posted by Carolyn Weiss
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 14, 2022 at 7:05 am

Carolyn Weiss is a registered user.

"Colonization and white supremacy has no place on this land."

Colonization/capturing lands and promoting ethnic/tribal supremacy are not limited to white European people alone...nearly every culture and ethnicity on every continent has pursued this endeavor in one way or another for better or for worse.

And while human bondage has been curtailed to a certain extent, most people cannot or will not accept the fact that countless animals remain slaves to humankind as food sources, laboratory test animals, circus/aquatic performers, and pets.

Some animals were indigenous while others were either imported and/or bred to satisfy the needs of their captors and owners.

Columbus should not be condemned as he was merely reflecting basic human characteristics such as curiosity, experimentation/exploration, subjugation of weaker people, and an ongoing effort to control one's environment.


Posted by Ken Massey
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 14, 2022 at 11:23 am

Ken Massey is a registered user.

"As if the natives weren’t already eagerly genociding each other for food, women and land long before a European arrived."

"The history of the entire world is competition and conquest. Western Europeans happened to be best at it."

^ 'Civilized' regardless of one's ethnicity is an oxymoron.

Humans are savages by nature and only the weapons have changed.


Posted by Marisol Huerta
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 14, 2022 at 11:45 am

Marisol Huerta is a registered user.

It is human nature to exploit and dominate over others, most notably in matters involving money.

Why change now?




Posted by Bob Cat
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Sep 14, 2022 at 8:35 pm

Bob Cat is a registered user.

For all of you voicing your support for colonization and European supremacy, there's a certain white-hooded organization that would love your support. They share the exact same sentiments and see nothing wrong with the genocide of "colored" savages that needed to be civilized.

You are still on unceded Indigenous lands, regardless of how you try to spin the truth. The further attempt on silencing and dehumanizing is only going to give strength to fight harder for decolonization.

Sadly, all of you came from a different country or your family migrated from somewhere else. How come you can be "proud" of your heritage/ancestry, yet criticize and shame the natives that are proud of THEIR homeland and heritage. Here in the "Americas". Why do you think you should be allowed that freedom/pride and they should not?


Posted by Gabriel Estrella
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2022 at 6:35 am

Gabriel Estrella is a registered user.

"Stop gaslighting the Indigenous peoples and stop continue to steal their humanity. Decolonization of this land is LONG overdue and at this point, we better ask ourselves which side of history do we want to be on?"

^ Outside of reporting the actual dates of occurance, the writing of history is purely a subjective matter and to take sides on events long gone is pure folly.

We cannot go back in time and change things.

Maps become obsolete because new boundaries and territories are always being revised based on human intervention.

To decolonize would require not only a return of former lands but also a return to the native cultures and practices of those lands, again pure folly.

The only former indigenous land where white/American tourists enjoy participating in its cultural traditions is Hawaii (e.g. attending luaus, surfing etc.).

One will not see this in Alaska, Arizona or any other former indigenous territories.

And the same applies to underdeveloped countries in Africa, SE Asia, and most of Latin America. Few white people would want to go there and practice the native indigenous cultures as tourist/guests. Just ask any local travel agent.

Times change and people change with it.
If not, we would still be wearing loin cloths and our primary occupations would be as hunter-gatherers.


Posted by Eugene Bosch
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 15, 2022 at 8:30 am

Eugene Bosch is a registered user.

@Bob Cat

If the Americas and other previously undeveloped global regions had remained uncolonized, much of the world would remain a vast land of untapped natural resources similar to pre-colonial Africa where mankind is said to have originated.

The procurement of various natural resources are critical to technological advancement and while there is always a downside (e.g. global warming and pollution), to live like primitive indigenous people would be an abhorrent and inconvenient lifestyle with no running water, no air conditioning, no central heating, no food refrigeration, no radio/tv/internet/cellphones, no forms of modern transportation (i.e. cars, trains, airplanes) etc.

I cannot think of anyone who would want to live under those harsh conditions today which might explain so many people from underdeveloped countries aspire to live in the western world.

The white Europeans and Americans were not as spiritually tied to the land and their technological innovations would never have been visualized or created by indigenous hunter-gatherers.

Columbus was just doing what other explorers were doing at the time...seeking new lands to conquer and people to subjugate.

No different than what transpired centuries earlier by ancient civilizations.

There is no such thing as right or wrong as everything is subject to individual interpretation(s).


Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 15, 2022 at 9:38 am

Me 2 is a registered user.

That's the funniest, most self-delusional post I've ever seen.

"For all of you voicing your support for colonization and European supremacy, there's a certain white-hooded organization that would love your support. They share the exact same sentiments and see nothing wrong with the genocide of "colored" savages that needed to be civilized."

The so-called (and incorrectly named) "indigenous" folks colonized these lands from Asia. That's a fact. Who speaks for the mollusks that were massacred by these folks with their carcasses piled up in mounds around this land?

"You are still on unceded Indigenous lands, regardless of how you try to spin the truth. The further attempt on silencing and dehumanizing is only going to give strength to fight harder for decolonization. "

Unceded? What planet are you from? If you want to "decolonize," you need to get the Ohlone out of here too.

The use of "indigenous" is classic positioning. They aren't any more indigenous than we are.

"Sadly, all of you came from a different country or your family migrated from somewhere else. How come you can be "proud" of your heritage/ancestry, yet criticize and shame the natives that are proud of THEIR homeland and heritage. Here in the "Americas". Why do you think you should be allowed that freedom/pride and they should not?"

Natives? Their DNA clearly show they came from Asia.


Posted by Dennis Pickford
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2022 at 10:56 am

Dennis Pickford is a registered user.

@Bob Cat

The African tribes were known to capture and subjugate members of other African tribes and the Mezo-American Aztecs were no different.

The white Europeans and American colonists simply improved upon an ages-old practice and fortunately slavery has been abolished in the United States.

Meanwhile the indigenous Native Americans have been granted sovereign lands and casinos.


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2022 at 11:25 am

Bystander is a registered user.

Since the beginning of time, civilizations have moved and expanded. Even now, there are moves to travel back to the moon and also to Mars. As people move they share their culture and also take from the culture of the peoples already there. The mix of the old and the new is what the American melting pot has always been about.

Tobacco, potatoes, tomatoes, corn were all unknown in Europe until the early explorers took them back to the old country. New animals and crops were brought here and traded with the local peoples as well as the technologies of the time. Of course there were unintended consequences such as diseases shared between both communities as so little about disease transmission and treatments were known. Even now, indigenous communities in places like Brazil are kept away from modern life since the diseases would probably wipe out the native tribes. But it is believed that these natives are well aware that they are not alone and are happy to be left alone to live their lives the ways they always have.

It is interesting to think that if Europeans had not settled here then the native Americans would be living their idyllic lifestyles but the reality is that probably they would have been discovered by the Asian continent and become more like them.

Civilisations and societies change. They always have done and they always will. Celebrating the past means understanding history and judging it by the morals of the time, not the present. By continuing to label us all with outdated terminology, we are taking from the melting pot ideal America has always valued.


Posted by Johannes Becker
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 15, 2022 at 12:33 pm

Johannes Becker is a registered user.

@Bob Cat
The indigenous peoples also benefitted from various western cultural innovations including rifles, distilled alcohol, pickup trucks, gambling casinos, and reservations.


Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 15, 2022 at 12:51 pm

Me 2 is a registered user.

Seems like the use of indigenous means you've just been here longer.

Maybe the Residentialists can start claiming this term.

"Indigenous Palo Altans"


Posted by Bob Cat
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Sep 15, 2022 at 1:56 pm

Bob Cat is a registered user.

@Me 2 - did you just compare the slaughter and genocide of millions of Native Americans to mollusks? Clearly you don't want to be taken seriously. Your entire comment makes no sense and is full of fallacies. You seem so triggered, you can't actually write a logical or persuasive argument.

"Their DNA clearly came from Asia" - there is actually no definitive proof that Native Americans all emerged from Asia. Google is not hard to use and plus when you actually open up your mind to learn, you'll find that we have just began to scratch the surface on the timelines of the first peoples of this land. The Bering Strait was formed roughly 20,000 to 35,000 years ago. YET, in New Mexico there is now conclusive evidence that the Indigenous were living here between 36,000 to 39,000 years ago.

Web Link

Also, to the other ridiculous commenters - Advanced civilizations have existed for thousands of years. Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, ancient Egypt/Rome/China, Chaco Canyon, the Roman Empire, the Mayan civilization (still one of the most sophisticated civilization known to man). We learned from THEM. Not the opposite.

A lot of you are wearing your ignorance and racism way too proudly. The facts are there people, genocide is not ok. Erasure of people is not ok. Justifying all of this is (Say it with me loudly) NOT. OK.

I wish all of you naysayers a day of self-reflection, accountability, and transformation since you're stuck in the past. After all, it's forward progress you all want, isn't it? How can we move forward if we're holding on outdated, colonial ways? Imagine if Germany & Austria celebrated Hitler Day. There's a very good reason why they don't. Maybe you racists should stop publicly supporting genocide, it's not a good look.


Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 15, 2022 at 3:51 pm

Me 2 is a registered user.

You're right. I'm just mocking you @Bob Cat, because your self-serious, half-researched stance is not defensible. I can drive a truck through your gaps in logic.

"Their DNA clearly came from Asia" - there is actually no definitive proof that Native Americans all emerged from Asia."

Actually that's not true. The so-called "native Americans" today clearly have Asian genetic lineage. Sure, there were probably pre-Clovis populations, but they have not been genetically linked to existing populations and likely died out...

...or maybe were killed off by the COLONIZATION by existing native American populations.

Blow your mind yet?

Also, just because Google found something to confirm your viewpoint doesn't make it necessarily true.

Meanwhile, I'm still stuck on calling Residentialists "Indigenous Palo Altans."

Hilarious.


Posted by Corinne Jackson
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 15, 2022 at 4:11 pm

Corinne Jackson is a registered user.

Five states (California, Nevada, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and South Dakota) commemorate Native American Day on different days in September/October.

Every state in the mainland U.S. has a history of indigenous peoples (i.e. Native American Indians) and Alaska is home to the Inuits (formerly called Eskimos).

The only exception would be the state of Hawaii where Native American Indians and their descendents never lived or visited until considerably later (i.e. vacation, military service etc.).

In terms of instilling and promoting cultural pride, Native American Indian Day should be held on June 25th, the date of The Battle of Little Big Horn in 1874.

I'm not sure what day Native Hawaiians would consider appropriate for commemorating their ancestry.


Posted by Kendall Wong
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 15, 2022 at 4:17 pm

Kendall Wong is a registered user.

My uncle once mentioned growing up in the south Central Valley with kids whose ancestors and relatives were often referred to as 'Fresno Indians' by the locals.

Did they also cross the Bering Strait or did they migrate from elsewhere?


Posted by Dolores Campo
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 16, 2022 at 7:36 am

Dolores Campo is a registered user.

"I'm not sure what day Native Hawaiians would consider appropriate for commemorating their ancestry."

^ The Hawaiians celebrate King Kamehameha Day in June.

"...ancestors and relatives were often referred to as 'Fresno Indians' by the locals."

"Did they also cross the Bering Strait or did they migrate from elsewhere?"

^ 'Fresno Indian' is a slang for the Armenians who immigrated to the United States and settled in Fresno.


Posted by Seth Lukather
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 16, 2022 at 8:57 am

Seth Lukather is a registered user.

"Advanced civilizations have existed for thousands of years."

Every society throughout mankind has considered itself 'advanced' based on its existing perception of the universe.
Even the ones carrying spears and living in the jungles or on some remote island out in the Pacific consider themselves advanced to a certain extent but in reality they are not.

Tribal spirituality and the relentless belief in visions, ghosts, or multi-deities does not equate to being technologically advanced nor does any society governed by a authoritarian theocracy...with the possible exception of Iran.

This might explain why the majority of scientifically ignorant societies eventually got subjugated and/or colonized by Western European countries embracing the 'advancements' of the Renaissance and Industrial Revolution.


Posted by staying home
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 16, 2022 at 10:40 am

staying home is a registered user.

Isn't it considered common knowledge that Columbus wasn't the first to traverse the Atlantic and run into North America? And even if he was the first, does it count as "discovering" when the land is already populated? If we really want to celebrate his voyage, should we include Ferdinand, Isabella, and his Spanish crew (who were likely convicts sailing to receive amnesty).

For those arguing to maintain it, how do you celebrate it? Special decorations, parties, re-enactments? A special meal? If its to celebrate our Italian heritage, what do you do for Italian heritage month? I suspect you are only upset due to the "wokeness" of updating our status quo traditions to more closely reflect factual history and not an idealized version. Get over it, you'll still have the day off for holiday you ignore.

Personally, I'd like to recommend we change the holiday to celebrate confirmation of a round earth, as that is another misconception about his voyage.


Posted by Eugenio Miranda Ph.D.
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 16, 2022 at 11:34 am

Eugenio Miranda Ph.D. is a registered user.

Despite any alleged ethnocentricities and exploitations, Cristobal Colon put the Americas on the map.

Prior to his landing, these lands were inhabited by primitive native cultures that would have been conquered by some other country had Columbus not claimed the territory for the Spanish crown.

Queen Isabella sought a return for the investment she incurred and Columbus delivered as his discovery led to the future colonization of Latin America.

Why doesn't anyone condemn Portugal colonizing Brazil?


Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 16, 2022 at 11:39 am

Green Gables is a registered user.

It was Custer who was at Little Big Horn, and General Sheridan (NOT Sherman who fought in the Civil War) said that "a good Indian was a dead Indian"


Posted by Julian Morales
a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2022 at 12:35 pm

Julian Morales is a registered user.

When I was being transported from the Elmwood Correctional Facility to Criminal Court in Palo Alto, I noticed that the adjacent streets were named after Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan.

This tells me that many Palo Altans hold these individuals in high esteem regardless of their military actions or attitudes towards Native American Indians.

So what is the big deal?

In Richmond, VA all of the statues commemorating southern Civil War generals have been taken down along a the statue of Theodore Roosevelt being assisted by an Indian at the Museum of Natural History in New York.


Posted by TimR
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 16, 2022 at 3:28 pm

TimR is a registered user.

@Dennis Pickford,
"The white Europeans and American colonists simply improved upon an ages-old practice..."

No, not really. Arabs and Berbers set up the African slave trade and ran the Trans-Sahara route for hundreds of years before the first European showed up to shop at one of their slave markets. Europeans merely added ocean crossings. And for the record, chattel slavery still exists in Mauritania. Sure, it's against the law (to satisfy the UN), but it's not enforced.


Posted by Helen Barker
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 16, 2022 at 5:06 pm

Helen Barker is a registered user.

It's a shame that various indescretions of the past are always being brought up by malcontents who simply cannot let things go.

It is time to move on, hopefully learning valuable lessons from these oversights while working together towards creating a better world.

We cannot change what happened centuries ago and the politically correct environment we reside in today did not exist then. The mindsets were different back then and the New World was just waiting to be explored, conquered, and exploited.

Most of us have benefited from these expansionist efforts and energies in one way or another...for that I am grateful.


Posted by toransu
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 19, 2022 at 11:43 am

toransu is a registered user.

It's always cute how the people in power want us to "let the past go!". Sis just say what you really want: all of the benefits of the atrocities your ancestors committed and none of the consequences. As usual, Palo Alto continues to be a disgrace.

As an actual Italian, yeet Columbus Day into the sun. There are so many better examples to use to represent the Italian people.


Posted by Priscilla Stephens
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 19, 2022 at 12:02 pm

Priscilla Stephens is a registered user.

Throughout the history of mankind, crimes against humanity have been committed and the practice continues into the present.

There are far too many apologies and remunerations to offer so let's just try to move on, never forgetting but at the same time, not bearing any unnecessary guilt for what our forefathers may have done in the past.

It is time to dispense with the fingerprinting as no one is without sin.


Posted by Jeremy Young
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 19, 2022 at 3:03 pm

Jeremy Young is a registered user.

> It is time to dispense with the fingerprinting [sic] as no one is without sin.

^ Assuming you meant 'fingerpointing'.
Blame games are counterproductive from the standpoint that they cannot alter history.

That old Santayana adage, "Those who forget the past are doomed to relive it" makes no sense because most people remember but the same events repeat themselves.

Short memories.


Posted by Ken Carlson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 21, 2022 at 8:46 am

Ken Carlson is a registered user.

"Most of us have benefited from these expansionist efforts and energies in one way or another...for that I am grateful."

Concurring even if it meant the displacement of others who could not keep up with the changes.

It is called evolution.

Many African nations are now free from European colonialization but how far have they developed since then?

You cannot have a true democracy if most of the voters are illiterate.


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