by Jackie Alan Giuliano, Ph.D.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Happy North America Continent Invasion Day - Columbus Day to some who want the lie to continue

The Myth of the Arrival of Columbus
"The Europeans were able to conquer America not
because of their military genius, or their religious
motivation, or their ambition, or their greed. They
conquered it by waging unpremeditated biological
-- Howard Simpson

"Considering that virtually none of the standard fare
surrounding Thanksgiving contains an ounce of
authenticity, historical accuracy, or cross-cultural
perception, why is it so apparently ingrained? Is it
necessary to the American psyche to perpetually
exploit and debase its victims in order to justify
its history?"
-- Michael Dorris

"European explorers and invaders discovered an
inhabited land. Had it been pristine wilderness then, it
would possibly be so still, for neither the technology nor
the social organization of Europe in the 16th and 17th
centuries had the capacity to maintain, of its own
resources, outpost colonies thousands of miles from
-- Francis Jennings

Children are taught that today marks the celebration of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. Unfortunately, everything they learn about that story is pretty much totally fabricated. 

There were as many as 100 million Native Americans living in North and South America in 1492. The entire population of Europe at the time was 70 million. If colonists had not been able to take over lands that the Indians had already cleared and cultivated, and if the Indian population had not been devastated by diseases brought by the European invaders, there might not have been any colonization at all.

By 1880, the Indian population was 250,000, a drop of 98 percent.

The story of Columbus is worse than you can imagine. The website detailing the book "The People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn gives a documented account of the Columbus story that is chilling. Check out that site and you will never look at Columbus the same way again.

Columbus was searching for gold, spices, and slaves. He thought he found Asia, but just by an enormous stroke of luck, he stumbled upon North America. He was so clueless that he still thought he had found Asia.

The slaughter of the indigenous peoples of North and South America continued after 1492 as Europeans came in significant numbers to the newly found Americas.

When people began moving, the microbes that they evolved with moved along with them. Before the arrival of Europeans, the inhabitants of North and South America were remarkably healthy. But along with the Europeans came their illnesses and their livestock and the native inhabitants were now exposed to the many diseases that can be passed back and forth between those animals and humans - anthrax, tuberculosis, cholera, streptococcus, ringworm and various poxes.

The British and French had fished in Southern New England for some time before the Pilgrims landed in 1620. It is likely that they came in contact with the Indians at that time. The native inhabitants had no resistance to the diseases brought by the Europeans and within three years, a plague wiped out between 90 and 96 percent of the inhabitants of coastal New England! This death rate was unknown in all previous human experience. For comparison, the Black Plague in the 1300s killed about 30 percent of Europe’s population.

This piece of history is usually omitted from most textbooks, yet these plagues, which ravaged the Indian population for the next 15 years, set the tone for the relationship of the European settlers with the indigenous people of America.

The English settlers inferred from the plague that God was on their side in taking over the land. John Winthrop, governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1634, wrote that the plague was "miraculous." He said "God hath thereby cleared out title to this place..." Is it any wonder that our political leaders of today ask for God’s blessing and protection as they go to war to kill?

Between 1520 and 1918, there were 93 epidemics among Native Americans.

The affect that these plagues had on the native populations reached into their psyches as well. They felt that God had abandoned them. Some survivors of the Cherokee lost all confidence in their gods and priests and destroyed the sacred objects of the tribe. Indian healers could do nothing and their religion provided no cause. But the Whites usually survived and their religion seemed to save them. Many Indians turned to alcohol, Christianity or simply committed suicide. So it was a psychologically and physically devastated people that for the first 50 years of European occupation presented no real opposition to the invaders.

Pilgrims as they are shown in America today (Graphic courtesy Valerie)

It is quite likely that the Pilgrims knew well of these plagues. In fact, pretty much everyone knew about them. Ziner, in the book “Squanto,” wrote that before the Mayflower sailed, King James of England gave thanks to “Almighty God in his great goodness and bounty towards us” for sending “this wonderful plague among the savages.”

Few Americans know that the Pilgrims numbered only about 35 of the 102 settlers aboard the Mayflower, which was headed for the new Virginia colony. It is believed by some historians that it is possible that the Pilgrims bribed the Mayflower captain to drop them off in Massachusetts. Some say they may have even hijacked the ship. In any case, the non-Pilgrim majority, who had joined the ship because of the economic opportunity afforded by the Virginia tobacco plantations, were quite upset at being taken someplace else.

Historians, in their search for a story that told the mythical beginnings of American culture, probably chose to omit facts about the Pilgrims story rather than tell the tale of Virginia. In Virginia, the British took the Native Americans prisoner and forced them to show the colonists how to farm. James W. Loewen, in his revealing book “Lies My Teacher Told Me,” says, “in 1623, the British indulged in the first use of chemical warfare in the colonies when negotiating a treaty with the tribes near the Potomac River, headed by Chiskiack. The British offered a toast ‘symbolizing eternal friendship,’ whereupon the chief, his family, advisers, and two hundred followers dropped dead of poison.”

The Pilgrims choose their site at Plymouth because it had beautifully cleared fields, recently planted corn, and excellent water supplies. The Pilgrims did not start from scratch in the wildness, but used a common practice of the European invaders of appropriating Indian cornfields for their initial settlements. This is why so many of the names of East Coast towns end in “field.”

The Indians who created and lived in this new Plymouth were mostly dead from the plagues, so they provided little opposition.

The Pilgrims robbed graves, stole what they could find in abandoned Indian homes, and filled their larder with the harvest of a dying culture’s labors.

The reasons for the lies about the origins of Thanksgiving go deep into culture, psyche, and religion and is covered in depth in Loewen’s book. But one thing is for sure: the true history of Thanksgiving reveals some very embarrassing facts, to say the least.

The most remarkable part of the story may be that the Pilgrims did not even introduce the tradition of Thanksgiving in America. It wasn’t until 1863 that President Lincoln proclaimed it a national holiday. The fabricated story of the Pilgrims was not even included in the holiday until the 1890’s. The term “Pilgrim” was not even used until the 1870’s.

This environmental and social devastation wrought by the European invaders of North America continues today. Oil company explorers, miners and loggers continue to introduce disease to the isolated cultures of Brazil and Venezuela, where one fourth of their population was killed in 1991.

The myth of Columbus and Thanksgiving have created a false sense of self in Americans that has done great damage throughout the world. It has resulted in children being planted with the seeds of racial hatred and white superiority. It is an insult to us all, especially since most Americans are ignorant of the truth, even though the facts about the grave robbing, Indian enslavement and murder, and the plagues, were common knowledge among the settlers of New England. Part of my heritage is Italian and I cringe every time I hear a representative of the Italian-American community defending Columbus as a symbol of national pride. He is a symbol of barbarism, cruelty, and a shining example of the human capacity for bigotry and racism.

Loewen gives us excellent reasons why we should seek out the truth of American history. If the conflicts of the true story were revealed, he says, then “students might discover that the knowledge they gain has implications for their lives today. Correctly taught, the issues of the era of the first Thanksgiving could help Americans grow more thoughtful and more tolerant, rather than more ethnocentric.”

We can redefine the discovery of the Americas and Thanksgiving for ourselves and our family. We can make them days when we not only give thanks for the bounty we have received, but a day when we acknowledge the injustices that have been and are being perpetrated on so many people and animals in the world. We could choose a way for our families to acknowledge history to help lessen the suffering of some creature somewhere in the world, animal or human.

We must remember these tragedies as we shape the new millennium. With genetically engineered bacteria, crops and animals being engineered every day, with the threat of Ebola looming, are we risking a biological devastation like the Indians experienced?

We must examine how we are using this stolen gift of a nation. As life support systems crumble and species become extinct every day, can we really say we have learned anything in the last 500 years?

Happy North American Continent Invasion Day.


1.Read "Lies My Teacher Told Me," by James W. Loewen to learn about moresurprises in American history. Buy a few copies and give them toelementary school teachers in your community. If you have children,make sure your child’s teacher has one. Visit a website devoted to thisbook at:

2.Read the Indian Country Newspaper at:

3.Read about the Indigenous Peoples Earth Science Project at


5.Read about the largest forced relocation in the U.S. since theinternment of Japanese American citizens in World War II at

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