Monday, 06 February 2023

Opinion

Dear Clearlake City Planning Staff


Thank you for allowing me to review and comment on the Draft EIR prepared for the Provinsalia Project located at the end of Dam Road.


As I am a Registered Professional Archaeologist with 37 years of expertise in the field of Cultural Resource Land Use Planning, I will restrict my comments to only the Cultural Resource Section of the EIR (4.9).


The Cultural Resource Data Section


The EIR contains a very well researched and well written background of local archaeology, history, and the legal framework for determining site significance. Unfortunately, that is all that the cultural resource section contains. Page 4.9-5 of the EIR states "Archaeological and Historical investigations ... did not encompass the entire project area, but did identify three previously recorded prehistoric sites ..."


"Also, archaeological investigations did not update the existing records for these three sites, verify their boundaries, or identify their current conditions." In fact, the archaeological study performed for the Draft EIR was no more than a background records search conducted by Roop and Evans (2005) with no field inspection.


This flies in the face of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements. CEQA states that a lead agency must make two determinations regarding historical or archaeological resources:

  1. “Whether a project will impact a resource that falls within the definition of “historical resource”, and

  2. “Whether any such impact will cause a substantial adverse change to the significance of the resource .” (Remy et. al. 1999:181) (CEQA Sec. 21084.1)


In order for the Item #1 determination to be completed, it is necessary to find out if there are any “historical resources” at a proposed project location (e.g. within the path of proposed construction). This information cannot be obtained by simply reviewing the existing records of historical resources housed at a state or local agency. An archaeological field inspection must be conducted on all discretionary projects in order to discover if any historical resources are present. Such inspections are often called “Phase I archaeological inspections.” Why is a “Phase I” inspection required on all discretionary projects? Because CEQA specifies that a land use planner, can’t make the decision to require an EIR, issue a Negative Declaration, or Categorical Exemption unless they have identified

and evaluated the significance of any archaeological resources within the project area.


CEQA Sec. 21083.2 stipulates that only impacts to “unique” archaeological resources need be addressed during the environmental review and project planning process. This statement assumes that before the decision is made to issue a Negative Declaration, Categorical Exemption, or require an EIR; archaeological and historical resources on the property must have already been identified and evaluated for significance.


Problem with Cultural Resource Data Section


There was no comprehensive archaeological inspection of the entire project area to identify historic and prehistoric archaeological sites. No work was done to determine the significance of the resources within the project area as required by CEQA (Sec. 21084.1). This EIR cannot be considered complete until ALL cultural resources have been identified within the project area AND each has been evaluated for significance.


Impact Statement and Mitigation Section


At least three prehistoric sites have already been identified within the project boundaries (Draft EIR pg. 4.9-11). Unfortunately, there is no discussion about the specific impacts that will occur to these known resources, nor what impacts will occur to resources that may not have been identified yet. The reason for an EIR is to list the exact impacts that will occur to resources and list the proposed alternatives required to mitigate those impacts.


CEQA specifically states that significant resources MUST be mitigated either by avoidance (protection as open space, deeded into a conservation easement, etc.), or by recovering the data that the sites contain before they are disturbed (CEQA sec. 21083.2 (b1), (b2), (b3), (b4), 15126.4c). These are the MITIGATION alternatives that should be listed in the EIR. Unfortunately, the fact that all significant archaeological sites haven't been identified makes it impossible to review those sites vis-à-vis the proposed grading plan to determine what impacts will occur. If the proposed impacts are not known, it is impossible to list meaningful mitigation alternatives to address those impacts.


Problem with Cultural Resource Mitigation Measures


Mitigation Measures MM 4.9.1a and 4.9.1b only require that a formal inspection of the project area be conducted by an archaeologist to record sites and determine if impacts will occur. These are the planning steps that should have taken place before the preparation of the Draft EIR. The Draft EIR should discuss the specifics of site preservation or data recovery mitigation plans. There is no discussion of specific impacts that will occur to sites, nor specific mitigation alternatives relating to those sites that will be damaged by grading or other impacts as is required to be discussed in an EIR.


MM 4.9.1a states "Potential Impacts ... shall be determined. " MM 4.9.1b states "Archaeological investigations (survey and testing) shall be conducted to verify the boundaries and identify current condition of (the three previously recorded) sites ... Sites shall be avoided ... If the sites cannot be avoided, then (various laws) shall be followed to address adverse effects and impacts to the sites." (Draft EIR pg. 4.9-11-12)


The laws listed in MM 4.9.1b are the same laws that require that all resources be identified and their significance determined BEFORE an EIR is prepared. These laws require that the EIR be specific concerning impacts and mitigation alternatives concerning cultural resources.


To compound the problem, these inadequate "mitigation measures" are to be implemented "as a condition of project approval." Therefore, the city will not know what cultural resources exist within the project area, nor what impacts will occur to those resources until after the project has been approved. By then it is too late for the city to have any say about what mitigation plans shall be carried out to lessen impacts to Cultural Resources. This goes completely against the spirit and legislative intent of the California Environmental Quality Act.


Once the archaeological inspection is completed, and significant sites identified, how does the city then require preservation or data recovery mitigation? Will the city be requiring another EIR in the future to deal with just archaeological impacts? What will be the forum at-which the public gets to review and comment on those impact mitigation alternatives?


Mitigation Measure 4.9.1c is even more horrendous. It indicates that an archaeological monitoring plan should be designed to monitor construction near the three recorded sites "to safeguard the integrity of the sites" (Draft EIR pg. 4.9-12). CEQA clearly states that if a significant site cannot be preserved in place, a data recovery plan shall be carried out to recover the "scientifically consequential information from or about the resource" prior to the start of construction (CEQA sec. 15126.4c). Monitoring construction through an archaeological site does not suffice as "mitigation" under CEQA and would leave the City of Clearlake open to a law suit as has been discovered by the City of Morro Bay (see bottom of web page www.tcsn.net/sloarchaeology/political.html).


Conclusion


The Draft EIR as currently written is not in compliance with CEQA requirements.


1) It does not identify all cultural resources that exist within the project area.

2) Because all resources are not known, it is impossible to determine the significance of all cultural resources as required by CEQA (sec. 21083.2 and sec. 21084.1).

3) Specific direct or indirect impacts to specific resources are not listed or known as is required by CEQA (sec 15126.2 subd (a)).

4) Because the existing resources are still unknown and the specific impacts are unknown, the EIR was unable to list meaningful mitigation alternatives that would address or lessen those impacts as required by CEQA (sec. 15126.4 (3)).


***Specific Work Needed to Bring the EIR into Compliance with CEQA Requirements***


The final EIR must include the results of a complete archaeological field inspection of the project area as required by CEQA (sec. 21083.2). The final EIR must detail the significance of those resources. The final EIR must review all significant cultural resources along with proposed project designs to determine what specific impacts will occur. Then, and only then, can meaningful mitigation measures be developed to address those impacts. The final EIR must include those proposed mitigation measures.


Where possible, project designs should be altered to include significant cultural resources in open space or conservation easements as suggested by CEQA (sec. 15126.4 (3 a, b)). Any historic or prehistoric sites that must be disturbed during the project construction process will need to be mitigated according to CEQA (sec. 15126.4c).


Thank you again for your time and consideration. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding these comments.


John Parker, Ph.D, is a registered professional archaeologist who has worked extensively in Lake County. He lives in Cayucos.


{mos_sb_discuss:4}

Holy cow! Secular Democrats are finding God. They say they are, anyway. Campaigning Hillary Clinton, shouts, “God bless you,” to cheering crowds all over Iowa. Her voice sounds like fingernails scratching on a chalk board but she does say the words. Another Democrat, Barack Obama, recently asked a church in South Carolina to make him an instrument of God and create “a Kingdom right here on Earth.” Here, on the West Coast, Republican leaders fell right out of their chairs when Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the house, said she prays for President Bush every day. Apparently, God is no longer a stranger to Democrats. What’s behind the sudden conversion?


Political observers say the “conversion” isn’t a conversion. If they’re sincere, it really must be called a revival, say those who know the history of the Democratic Party. God was in the party from its very beginning (1792, when Thomas Jefferson and James Madison opposed the Federalists). They quoted the Bible in their speeches. God’s name often appeared in their letters, and sometimes even in laws. Party loyalists religiously demonstrated their faith, until fairly recently. It was only in the 1970s when faith in the Democrat Party began to fade. Until this year, it had all but disappeared.


In the 1970s Democrats began to openly support abortion clinics and homosexual marriages. That was also the time they made a strong move towards secularism and shifted a good deal further left on economic issues. Believing Democrats realized their party’s radical new politics had serious conflicts with God and the Bible. They were forced to choose between God and the party. They kept God and became Independents or switched to the Republican Party. Political scientists joke about huge traffic jams in the Bible-Belt-South caused by Democrats lined up at registrars’ offices trying to get out of the Democratic Party. Seculars were left in control. Geographically, the party moved north and west.


Secular Democrats believed God was dead or never existed and led the way to make Darwin’s theory a “scientific fact” throughout the entire country. There was a stampede to get prayer out of public schools and the Ten Commandments out of public buildings. Public school teachers were fired for suggesting intelligent design. Corporal punishment is a Bible remedy for unruly kids so Democrats campaigned, successfully in some states, to ban it. Until now, Democrats are embarrassed to mention God in their campaigns. Times are a changing, or are they?


Believing Republicans are happy to welcome Democrats back into the world of faith but will wait to see if they’re pretending. They know about such things as “fruits of repentance.” They recall former head Democrat, Bill Clinton, had trouble with the meaning of the word “is.” Conservative Christians suspect Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama may be having trouble with the meaning of the words, “God” and “Bible.” They know “God” doesn’t mean adultery, immoral homosexual marriages and the atrocities committed at sadistic abortion clinics. They also know “Bible” doesn’t mean evilution and unruly kids.


What’s more, they’ll ask recovering Democrats if God wants prayer out of public schools and the Ten Commandments out of public eyesight. God doesn’t mean Godless and church doesn’t mean secular. Bible readers will wait to see the “fruits of repentance” before they attend any election-year Democrat revival meetings with Clinton, Obama or Pelosi.


Believing Republicans are not only suspicious of election year Democrat devotion but, sorry to say, they’re beginning to be wary of their own party leaders. Somewhat comforted when President Bush kept God in his politics, they’re extremely disturbed to see Rudy Giuliani and John McCain go lukewarm on abortion and homosexual sins. They’re repulsed when they see GOP candidates promoting the same depraved ideas that caused them to leave the Democratic Party. Early Republican debates show purposeless, empty and soulless candidates, halfway converted to the secularism movement. They’re afraid this election year may show an entire country has fallen off its foundation of faith. Former Bible-Belt southern Democrats, who are now Bush Republicans, won’t know where to go next if there isn‘t a revival somewhere. A number, of course, will keep God and the Bible and may stay home on election day.


Bush Republicans know, houses that don’t have good foundations get washed away in the rain. Voting believers have already shown they won’t stay in political parties built on secular sand. They’ll wait to see if any Republican is serious about traditional American faith. They’re not totally against returning to the Democratic Party if it’s serious about renewal. They know they can’t pack up their Bibles and look for another Mayflower. There’s no place for the Mayflower to go. They may be left, like Christians in the Roman Empire; without a party, sighing, crying and vexing their souls, over the great evil men do.


One good thing about believing is believers have hope one day a Faithful Governor will come to power; one who keeps political promises. They hope that day will be soon. God is in His politics. His political party might be called the “Creationist Party” and will certainly be built on a good foundation of faith.


Darrell Watkins lives in Kelseyville.


{mos_sb_discuss:4}

Occasionally, an issue comes before Congress that is so clearly aligned with American values that Members across the political spectrum come together to support a solution. Giving uninsured children access to health care is one of those issues. And the strong bipartisan House and Senate votes for the reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program were examples of how Congress is trying to cut through politics to improve the lives of American families.


The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP, known in California as Healthy Families) has a history steeped in bipartisanship. A Democratic president and a Republican Congress created the program, which today covers about 6.6 million American children – 800,000 of whom live in California. They are members of families that make no more than 250 percent over the poverty line – too much to participate in Medicaid and too little to afford private insurance.


This reauthorization guarantees that all of the kids currently enrolled in SCHIP will continue to receive coverage – and gives states the tools and the resources they need to find and enroll almost four million additional eligible children. California alone has identified 200,000 kids that would be immediately eligible for enrollment, if only it had the adequate resources.


This bill provides those resources. It gives states incentives for ensuring that only the neediest children are enrolled. And it is completely paid for. It has the support of 43 governors – including our own – in addition to the support of an unusual cadre of bedfellows: private insurance companies, organized labor, the pharmaceutical industry, and hundreds of leading health and children’s advocacy organizations.


Unfortunately, there is one person in Washington who can turn even this issue into a political football. This week, President Bush vetoed Congress’ reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. On the heels of his request for an additional $190 billion for the war in Iraq, he has told Congress to spend no more than $5 billion on children’s health care. If the president gets his way, SCHIP won’t be reauthorized – it will be downsized. This means 20 percent of the children currently enrolled – over 1.4 million kids – will be kicked out of the program.


These are real children who live in our communities. Today, in Lake County, nearly 1,700 kids are enrolled in Healthy Families. They get primary and preventive care – which means that they are less likely to end up in the emergency room. And if they do end up in the ER – they have insurance. Our parents and grandparents used to tell us to be “penny wise rather than a pound foolish.” Investing $35 billion in the SCHIP program today is an infinitely less costly proposition than providing no health care to uninsured children – because, one way or the other, as a nation, we will pay for it later.


Naysayers, with the president as their loudest voice, have concocted a variety of myths about the SCHIP reauthorization. I have long preferred facts to myths, so let me set the record straight: This bill does not increase entitlement spending, because SCHIP is not an entitlement program – it is a capped block grant. This bill doesn’t allow states to cover the children of “rich” parents, nor does it allow them to cover illegal immigrants or parents or childless adults. This bill opens the door to quality health care for 10 million of America’s children. And arguments to the contrary are dead wrong.


The president and his followers can say whatever they like about this reauthorization. But as Republican Senator Charles Grassley, a staunch supporter of this legislation, said on the Senate floor last week, “You can’t call a cow a chicken and have it be true.”


The truth is, the president’s veto of the SCHIP reauthorization is politicking of the worst kind. It directly contradicts the priorities and the will of the American people, who overwhelmingly support Congress’ efforts to extend this program. And it is a shameful move from the president of the richest country in the world – home to more than 9.4 million uninsured children.


In the near future, I will join a majority of my colleagues in casting my vote to override this veto – and we will continue doing so until we prevail. America understands, even if the president doesn’t, that reauthorizing SCHIP in order to expand health care for our children is a fight we cannot afford to lose.


Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena) represents Lake County in the US House of Representatives.


{mos_sb_discuss:4}


 

We are all aware from newspaper accounts and from firsthand information acquired in the courtroom that Renato Hughes was charged, in December 2005, with the murder of childhood friends Christian Foster and Rashad Williams. We also are aware that Mr. Hughes was not the shooter.
 
Those of us who have access to the online local newspaper are equally aware of the recent report of the Shannon Edmonds and Lori Tyler suicide attempts in August, 2007. In that report Lori Tyler alleged that Shannon Edmonds forced her to take pills, along with him, to end their lives.
 
We believe that the timing of the suicide attempts coincide with the impending Hughes trial set to begin on Nov. 6. At a motion hearing in Lakeport Oct. 11, the prosecutor and an assistant attorney general defended their position against having the prosecutor and his department recused from further prosecution of Mr. Hughes. They saw no relevance in the Edmonds/Tyler suicide attempts and Mr. Hughes' ability to receive a fair trial.
 
However, we pose the below questions for consideration:
 
(1) Has Edmonds once again escaped prosecutorial wrath, in light of the recent allegations against him by his common law wife, Lori Tyler, that he forced her to take pills to end her life, and that he physically abuses her from time to time, because her allegations were not specific enough to cause Edmonds' arrest?
 
(2) Does Edmonds' recent suicide attempts cast doubt on his recitation of the events that lead up to the shooting deaths of Foster and Williams on December 7, 2005?
 
(3)  Does Edmonds' recent suicide attempts cast doubt on his credibility as a witness for the prosecution in the Hughes matter?
 
(4)  When did the law change to make it okay to shoot two fleeing alleged robbers in the back, multiple times, and kill them?
 
(5)  If Edmonds is called as a witness for the prosecution, does he intend to plead the Fifth Amendment against self incrimination? According to the decision by Judge McKinstry, on Oct. 11, Edmonds will not be allowed to take the Fifth.
 
(6)  Will the truth about the actual amount of marijuana taken from the Edmonds residence be brought to light during the Hughes trial?
 
(7)  Was the shooting deaths of Foster and Williams, on Edmonds' part, truly an act of self defense?
 
(8) Does Lori Tyler's allegations that Shannon Edmonds forced her to take pills in an effort to commit suicide, and allegations of physical abuse show that Edmonds has a propensity towards violence? and,
 
(9) Has the prosecutor offered Edmonds immunity from prosecution in the Hughes matter?
 
We, the Lake County Branch, NAACP expect the fair dispensation of justice in the Hughes matter, by the judicial system. We believe that Shannon Edmonds should have been charged and arrested based on the recent allegations of Lori Tyler, and that Edmonds should also have been charged in connection with the Hughes matter.
 
Aqeela El-Amin Bakheit is president of the Lake County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

{mos_sb_discuss:4}

We could start our discussion examining controversial topics: global warming, political tyranny, religious fanaticism, etc., but there are more pressing issues at hand. The current industrial civilization considers itself an elegant experiment in progress and stability. In reality, it is a lunatic who defecates in its bed and demands the obedience of its subjects in a headlong rush toward global suicide.


Let's begin with water.


Much of the world is already experiencing a crisis obtaining potable water. Human beings are essentially animalized water. If we pour water into ourselves it immediately becomes us. It moves, it thinks, and it forgets that it is water.


98.25 percent of the world's water is saline. Of the remaining 1.75 percent, 80 percent is frozen. That means that less than one-third of 1 percent of all the drinking water in the world is available to all the life that needs fresh water to survive. No new water is being produced. Supplies are finite. Currently, human toxins and practices have poisoned a significant amount of that available water. In the U.S., 50 percent of our drinking water is from underground aquifers that are being pumped dry or poisoned from waste seepage. Those aquifers took 100,000 years to create. They cannot be replaced.


Technocrats insist that science will find a way to desalinate the oceans for our use, meanwhile local governments can't afford to fill the potholes in our streets, let alone balance the federal, state and local budgets. It's estimated that by 2015 many countries will face severe water shortages and in 50 years whole countries may be completely depopulated by the total absence of drinkable water.


How about soil?


It has taken about 100,000 years to build the world's topsoil. Due to the giant shift in agriculture and population growth over the last 5,000 years, 50 percent of the world's topsoil is gone. In 20 years, 30 percent more will have blown away. That's 80 percent of the world's arable soil, gone forever. There have been positive discoveries that could redevelop soils, but not even the slightest interest in actually paying for it.


North and South America have been devastated. Six billion tons of soil is lost per year in the U.S. A Soviet scientist once recommended that the Soviets stop the arms race because he estimated that in 100 years the U.S. could no longer grow enough food to survive. In Asia, 20 billion tons are now being lost annually. Millions of children starve to death annually in reach of this great and modern industrial civilization. Third world countries are encouraged to grow cash crops, harvest resources, or develop industrially so as to pay back their international debts rather than grow food to feed their peoples. In the face of deforestation, development, progress and lack of necessities (like water), 10,000 distinct and irreplaceable species are lost every year. The loss is permanent.


What could be a better indicator of the sanity of a civilization than its desire and commitment to protect the very resources essential to its survival?


Still not convinced?


Let's talk DNA.


The architectural elegance of DNA, the genetic material of the planet, is evidence of the vulnerable quality of creation. All of the DNA molecules of all the humans who have ever lived would fit into one teardrop. That is, 80 billion molecules in a teardrop. Everything that will happen to the future of human beings on this planet depends on the quality and protection of that teardrop.


War on Terror? Here is the real Terror!


There are 264 million tons of hazardous waste spread liberally around the U.S. each year in the form of 70,000 (mostly untested) chemicals and their by-products. To these, add 1,000 more untested chemicals each year.


DNA contains the information and intelligence at the root of an organism. It is known that chemicals can enter the body, and go straight to the cells, attaching themselves and disrupting, modifying, mutating or destroying that information and intelligence. This is damage that cannot be altered and will be part of the human species forever. Some defects can be carried, only to show up in later generations.


Serious birth defects in humans alone have doubled in the last 25 years. The worst effects are not expected to appear for another 10 to 20 years. We will spend billions to fight a war on terror yet to come, and only pennies to fight the daily poisoning of our children and the chemical threat to the DNA of our species. Sanity?


Population growth is the next issue.


Africa has 550 million people, many who lack food and water, as well as basic necessities. In one hundred years it will have 2.5 billion. What then? In hunter/gatherer societies, the ratio was three people per square mile. If we manage to protect our water and regrow our soils what can the land sustain? Endless population growth is not an acceptable formula. Which governments are committed to determining these ratios and demanding compliance?


Economic systems developed around an endless compulsion for growth are obsolete and must be abandoned immediately for systems which demand society be outfitted with artifacts that last centuries not days or months. Systems that judge their success by gross national product must be outlawed and replaced with systems that operate on renewable resources, recycle nonrenewables at 100 percent and produce no more waste than a local region can dispose of naturally.


The U.S., in order to survive, must cut production and use of resources at a minimum of 50 percent. Third world debt must be forgiven outright or traded for the establishment of wilderness systems. The present economic structures are based on a process that begins with the depletion of finite resources, proceeds to the manufacturing of disposable products which immediately begin to depreciate in value and quality, ending with their disposal as non-renewable wastes which are beyond the natural capacity of the earth to dissipate. Sanity? Common sense?


Each instant, one million new faces appear on the earth representing many species and forms. The vanity and arrogance of human beings in creating and expanding the role of potentially deadly toxins and weapons points not to a healthy society, culture, or civilization but to a scorched psyche that has become resistant and maladaptive, even sinister. Primary human bonds, which connect families and provide roles that incorporate citizens of all ages into familial relationships, have been replaced with the secondary commercial bonds of consumerism.


The new revelations of quantum science and universe cosmologies demand that those who believe in technology commit to a new understanding of the Universe as one entity inter-connected, inter-reliant and inter-related in every way. To separate humanity from this cosmology will result in a continued insanity that will bring about nothing less than the suicide of our species.


Scholars have long lamented the destruction of the library at Alexandria at the hands of barbarians who burned the manuscripts to heat their bath water because they were unable to grasp the beauty they cast into the flame.


Those who discount these warnings have only to examine themselves in a mirror to see the faces of those same barbarians.


James BlueWolf is a artist and author. He lives in Nice.


{mos_sb_discuss:4}

 

It's almost that hated day when some Americans celebrate the myth of Columbus discovering an already populated continent.


In 1492, the big island of Hispaniola was one of the most densely populated areas of the known world. Unfortunately, the three million people on the island were native, non-European and pagans to boot! Within 49 years they had been reduced by their new Christian neighbors to 200. That's half of Hitler's body count. So today, we're going to recount the heroic history of Christopher Columbus and here we go!


It is 1492. The Taino Indians saved Columbus and his men from starvation and Columbus wrote in his journals, "I saw that they were very friendly to us ... They are all of a good size and stature, and handsomely formed, their eyes were large and very beautiful ... Weapons they have none, nor are acquainted with them. They are good to be Ordered about, to be made to Work, Plant, and do whatever is wanted, to build towns and be taught to go Clothed and accept our Customs. The air is as soft as April in Seville. Our Lord in his goodness guide me that I may find this gold.”


It is 1493. In January, 39 men are left behind to guard the fort at La Navidad in the "New World" while a triumphant Columbus sails back to Spain with parrots, gold, Indians. In November, Columbus returns, this time with a fleet of 17 ships and 1,500 men, as well as horses, dogs, armor and cannons. The 39 men who had been left to guard the fort are found dead ... the official Chronicler of the Indies, Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo, writes that the "natives could not endure the excesses, for the Spaniards took their women and used them as they wished and committed other violences and offenses ... " Sounds a bit like Andrew Kelsey, doesn't it?


The honeymoon of the "discovery" is over.


It is 1494. Columbus and company gather green wood to place under the feet of the same Tainos that saved him. The conquistadors string them up in groups of 13, representing Jesus and the 12 apostles. The burning is slow, methodical, torturous. "The weather is like April in Andalusia," Columbus notes in his journal ...


Columbus “discovers” the island now called Jamaica. Terrified Indians flee from soldiers and their crossbows. Dogs pursue the Indians. In the Old World they are trained to hunt wild game. In the "New World" they learn to savor human flesh. Columbus writes, "... So many vultures flocked there to scavenge on the bodies that they darkened the sky."


It is 1496. After only four years, half the native population of Hispaniola is dead. In 1498 Columbus wrote, "From here one might send, in the name of the Holy Trinity, as many as 4,000 slaves to be sold." The "New World," once the mother of countless peaceful and happy native peoples has been literally transformed into the Christian hell. Eleven years after Columbus pronounced the Indians as beautiful, loving, pliant and without knowledge of weapons or violence … he now described them as unfriendly, cruel, and hostile savage savages. I wonder why.


In 1542, Bartolome De Las Casas, champion of native peoples in the Americas, wrote: “The Indies were discovered in the year one thousand four hundred and ninety-two. In the following year a great many Spaniards went there with the intention of settling the land. And all the land so far discovered is a beehive of people ... there came some Spaniards who immediately behaved like ravening wild beasts that had been starved for many days. And Spaniards have behaved in no other way during the past forty years, down to the present time, for they are still acting like ravening beasts, killing, terrorizing, afflicting, torturing, and destroying the native peoples … Their reason for killing and destroying such an infinite number of souls is that the Christians have an ultimate aim, which is to acquire gold, and to swell themselves with riches in a very brief time and thus rise to a high estate disproportionate to their merits. It should be kept in mind that their insatiable greed and ambition, the greatest ever seen in the world, is the cause of their villainies."


When Taino Indians saved Christopher Columbus from certain death on Oct. 12, 1492, what occurred next was neither beautiful nor heroic. His diaries indicated he was greeted with the most generous hospitality he had ever known, yet he immediately began the encomienda system tying Indian slaves to their stolen lands, and was personally responsible for their slaughter.


Despite his murderous nature, his discovery came to symbolize certain civilized truths. Manifest Destiny justified theft. Assimilation or genocide was a reasonable choice for pagans. A successful violent campaign to destroy nations validated the superiority of European values and institutions.


You can not "discover" a hemisphere inhabited by 100 million people, yet Columbus Day, which this year falls on Oct. 8, perpetuates the myth that the "New World" was a wilderness with a few savages awaiting the blessings of civilization. Hardly mentioned is the fact that the Western Hemisphere was a virtual paradise of ecology and health, that Indians provided the model for U.S. constitutional government, that native agricultural advances currently provide 60 percent of the world's daily diet, and hundreds of medical and medicinal techniques are still used.


Today, in North and South America, Native people remain at the bottom of every socioeconomic indicator, are under continuing physical and economic attack, and are afforded the least access to political or legal redress. Despite this we refuse to ride off into a romantic sunset.


Europeans in the New World have always been afflicted with a long-term memory dysfunction. Now that we know what kind of man Columbus really was, let’s take these myths of the past and update them to reflect the truth. Rename Columbus Day to celebrate something we can all be proud of.


Officially proclaimed in 1971, this divisive holiday should be replaced by a celebration that is more reflective of the rich heritage of the Americas. How about Bartolome De Las Casas Day?


Until then, Indians of North America (including Mexica and descendant Africans), should be reminded that the wicked heart of Manifest Destiny still beats around the world. Natives still die daily at the hands of those, who in their quest for personal power and wealth, keep greed the one true lasting Institution of Progress.


Happy No-One-Discovered-Us Day!


James BlueWolf is a artist and author. He lives in Nice.


{mos_sb_discuss:4}

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