Celebrating Indigenous Survival & Resistance, Not Columbus

Today is a federal holiday here in the United States — Columbus Day. Many of you probably share my disdain for the continued celebration of a man who helped kick off the colonization of the Americas and the genocide of indigenous peoples over 500 years ago, just as Guru Nanak was laying the groundwork for Sikhi to be born in Punjab. Gloating about his relentless pillaging, Columbus once stated, “I ought to be judged as a captain who for such a long time up to this day has borne arms without laying them aside for an hour.”

We Sikhs are truth-seekers and freedom fighters. Let’s stand with indigenous people throughout the Americas today, mourning those millions whose lives were taken by Columbus and the European colonizers who came after, and celebrating the spirit of resistance and quest for sovereignty which persist today throughout Turtle Island.

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9 Responses to “Celebrating Indigenous Survival & Resistance, Not Columbus”

  1. Sahar says:

    Oh, fo God's sake,how can yoube so anti-Columbus but also not endorse an anti-muslim view of S. Asian history? Consistency, please!

    • Sanehval says:

      I like this. If white on brown/black/yellow violence is to be universally condemned, how can we think through brown on brown/black/yellow violence? I'm not talking the simple Prasad "oh goodness how can we as south asians be complicit with anti-black racism once we ascend?". Rather how can we be critical of and commemorate the violence of, for example, Mughal colonialism in the Punjab?

    • brooklynwala says:

      Anti-colonial does not mean being against an entire community/identity/religion. I am against conquest and oppression. Aspects of the Mughal empire were most certainly guilty of this, which I deplore. Our Gurus were clear then, and I am clear now, that the enemy was never Muslims or Islam — the enemy was tyranny and oppression. I don't celebrate Aurangzeb nor the British Raj, just as I don't celebrate Columbus.

      • Silvio Dante says:

        And when the "tyranny and oppression" is motivated/justified by the religious beliefs of the colonizer? (As it was in the example you cite of Aurangzeb). What then, Brooklynwala?

        It appears you bury your head in the sand. Unlike our Gurus.

        • brooklynwala says:

          are you kidding me? colonization of the entire western hemisphere and the genocide of native americans throughout the americas was justified by christianity. religion has long been used as justification of oppression, and that's not specific to one religion. i don't take issue to critiquing this role that religion often plays in perpetuating various forms of oppression and inequality — what i take issue with is singling out islam for this reason. again, our gurus were extremely clear that islam or muslims were NEVER the enemy. tyranny was the enemy. just as it is today.

          • Silvio Dante says:

            Do you read what you write before you click submit?

            "what I take issue with is singling out islam…" Yet in the second sentence of your post you single out Christianity. As someone who claims to believe in equality how do you justify such obvious discrimination?

            Then you go on to repeat yourself – a telling sign that your argument is weak. I have already addressed your point. You can ignore it, but then don't claim to be a "truth-seeker" when you are in fact an apologist for empire.

            Niall Ferguson in a turban basically…

      • Sanehval says:

        Not that you should have the answer, but I'm curious then, of what an anti-Mughalcolonialist politics would look like.

  2. Blighty Singh says:

    I find the way you think very refreshing Brooklynwala. It seems a very European way of thinking in comparison with what the normal American way. It is often stated by academics in the United Kingdom that Americans do not possess the capability to understand alternative thoughts and viewpoints, or at least are not as open to understand, because, unlike Europeans, they have, throughout their day, very little street interaction with a wide variety or rainbow of people with different views. The average American lives in a distant suburb full of people just like him. When he passes people that are different it is either in his car or in the mall. There is no great street interaction. To that effect, New York is unique in that continent. Very very similar to London etc. So many different people of varying social strata having genuine close proximity street interaction, making them far more open to alternative viewpoints.
    Sorry…..I know this post has nothing to do with the topic….but I just wanna point out Brooklynwala, that I think you're New York through and through. It has shaped you. I like it.

    • brooklynwala says:

      Thank you, I appreciate it. Yes, NYC has definitely shaped me, no doubt. I was in London recently and couldn't help but notice the parallels. That being said, I did grow up in much more suburban environments in the south and southwest United States, which also shaped me — shaped me mostly to despise the suburbs.

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