The Half Hollow Hills Library in the Suffolk County Library system announced its intention to celebrate Columbus Day on October 7, 2019 with a children's activity called, "Columbus Day Discovery".
But Christopher Columbus is no hero. Historical facts show in the "Americas", Columbus, his crew, soldiers, and those that followed through his open door committed atrocity after atrocity against the Indigenous Arawak People including mass-murder, torture, dismemberment, burning women and children alive, rape, infanticide, slavery, and launched the genocide of Arawak in Hispanola and across the Caribbean. The primary driver of this ethnic cleansing was greed for gold. Even using conservative numbers, in just 50 years, Columbus and those that followed him were directly responsible for the deaths of 649,500 Indigenous Arawak – 93% of the original population. Often overlooked, the ethnic cleansing and colonialism begun by Columbus precipitated the African slave trade into the New World, forcing the need for additional slaves on Hispanola plantations to replace the brutalized Indigenous labor.
Our family has met with the Half Hollow Library at Chestnut Hill and asked them to withdraw plans for the Columbus Day children's activity, and honor Indigenous Day instead. We were met with interest, but also evasion. As of September 7, 2019, the Columbus Day activity is still listed on their calendar, and no corresponding Indigenous People's Day has been announced.
We believe it's time to undiscover the myth of Columbus and instead honor the rich, cultural lives and resilient survival of the Indigenous People of Paumanok (Long Island). Locally, this encourages renewal of respectful relationship with local Indigenous People like the Shinnecock and Unkechaug nations and allows for non-Natives to learn something of the rich Indigenous history and present day culture of the place they live now.
Let's send the myth of Columbus off into the sunset once and for all, and instead honor the rising of Paumanok's Indigenous peoples on Indigenous People's Day! Sign this petition to indicate your support of stopping the Columbus Day activities at Half Hollows Hill Library and honoring Indigenous People's Day instead.