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Response to ‘The truth about Columbus’

| Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Recently in a letter titled “The Truth about Columbus,” a Notre Dame graduate named Rebecca Devine attacked the Native American Student Association of Notre Dame (NASAND) for our Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration and community discussion. From the first line of her article, it is abundantly clear that she did not attend the event. Information about our mission is posted on our Facebook page for those interested.

Devine’s article made erroneous assumptions about our message — anyone interested in further conversation should disregard her explanations of our logic, message and integrity. That being said, she is more than welcome to participate in our events in the future and is explicitly invited to our Native Heritage Month discussions on native representation on our campus. In addition to implying that NASAND members are not people of intellectual integrity, she defends Columbus in a way that should raise the eyebrows of the well-informed public.

The following are quotes from Columbus’ log:

They would make fine servants … with 50 men we could subjugate them and make them do whatever we want.

“Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold.”

If those aren’t enough, here is a quote about what happened to those enslaved:

I captured a very beautiful Carib woman, whom the said Lord Admiral (Columbus) gave to me. When I had taken her to my cabin she was naked — as was their custom. I was filled with a desire to take my pleasure with her and attempted to satisfy my desire. She was unwilling, and so treated me with her nails that I wished I had never begun.

Leadership of the Knights of Columbus were contacted on multiple occasions and did not respond previous to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. We hope that in light of Devine’s accusatory article, they will join our conversation now. We were unaware of the council’s scholarships for minority students … but we do not want your money, we want your respect.

Our “attack” is not political (it’s not even just about Columbus!), but a call for human dignity and progress. The most open form of representation that natives get on Notre Dame’s campus is not through a faculty member, administrator or celebration — but through pictures of our people in chains. This needs to be addressed immediately.

Dom Acri

NASAND president

Oct. 24

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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