On October 12, 2009, demonstrations were held in Southern California to protest Columbus Day and promote Indigenous People's Day. One was planned in San Juan Capistrano:
Another one took place in Santa Barbara at the foot of Stern's Wharf. (This location features the Dolphin Fountain, which was dedicated to the Chumash on July 15, 1985.)
In Santa Barbara, there was a strong presence, with head counts varying from 35 to 70 people. There was a fair amount of honking from motorists, and several curious pedestrians came to watch and listen, some expressed support.
One speaker, a small boy, reported telling his teacher that Columbus was a rapist and murderer. The teacher corrected him: “Columbus was just a slave trader.”
Columbus's atrocities were discussed, including his forcing indigenous children into prostitution. The killing and thievery that continues to this day was underscored as well.
Yet another speaker, Gray Wolf, said he gets told that “Native Americans need to forgive and forget.” However, as he pointed out, no one has asked for forgiveness, and no one deserves it.
“As a student in the public school district, I've noticed that my teachers have been leaving out gaps in their teachings,” said 12-year-old Starr GreenSky, Oglala Lakota. “For instance, my teachers have told me that a whole nation, filed by tribes, inhabited a continent. Well if that's true, which it is, then why are there only two-to-three Native American children at my school out of the hundreds?
“Or how did Hitler plan a mass-genocide if it was only one person? He stated himself that he mimicked the Native American holocaust to the Jews.” More information about this can be found in this Academy Award-winning documentary (part 3):
“. . . We have to remember and remind ourselves who our roots are,” said Rudy of the Brown Berets. “We have to remind ourselves that we are also infected. We cannot continue to think that we are safe from this infection. We need to decolonize our minds, our bodies—what we put inside our bodies. . .”
He later said: “Information is key, but the example is stronger. A book is great, but the actual breath and the energy that we release to our relatives and to the universe has more value than how many degrees you can get in this institution. Let us not be fooled. Educate, get educated, but educate yourself: learn the stories of our ancestors, teach the ways of the world. I have learned more from observing the beautiful Mother Earth than any teacher and any book.
“I do not downplay education, but I recognize and acknowledge that I am a ninth-grade drop-out--and I still know who I am. And I do not need confirmation from an institution, a set system, that is made to hail people like Columbus or Cortez.
“. . . Don't forget about the schools that cut our hair, that made us have disbelief in our ancestors and our ways. They confuse us in every aspect of life.
“This is beautiful right here because I see every shade, every shade of Mother Earth. . . .”
A Columbus piñata was prominently displayed on a hangman's noose. After the event, one child was rather eager to beat it, partly, at least, in the hope of getting candy. This author told him that nothing good was likely to come out of Columbus--rather, toxic sludge would probably spill out.
In the background is The Dolphin Fountain, which was dedicated to the Chumash people on July 15, 1985. The Chumash word for dolphin is A'lul'quoy, which means to go around, to protect, and to go in peace. The Dolphin Family was sculpted by James Bud Bottoms (http://www.dolphinfamily.com/).