Welcome to my World

Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Columbus Day or not?

I have not been a huge fan of this particular 'holiday' for ages. I am not even sure why we feel a need to celebrate how a crafty  Italian adventurer conned the queen of Spain into bankrolling him to cruise around looking for fame and fortune and maybe the east side of Asia.  He certainly did not "discover" America and had no clue where he was when his small fleet made landfall. 'Nuff said!

There is little doubt that the Irish monk, St. Brendan the Navigator, had been across the Atlantic. After all, Ireland is lot closer than Spain if you follow a route similar to and opposite of that which Charles Lindbergh flew close to ninety years ago.  It is likely that some seafarers from Wales also made the journey and certainly a number of Vikings traveled from Scandinavia to Iceland, Greenland and the maritime regions of what is now Canada.  In short, there are many legends and artifacts to attest to the fact of various journeys from Europe to the "New World" substantially earlier than 1492.
So if we are going to celebrate a Discoverer's Day it could as well be January 30, May 11, September 17 or the second fifth Friday in any particular month and year. We have no way to know who was really 'first' and when that landfall was made. And it really doesn't matter.

As for indigenous people, I actually have a  lot of sympathy for them because since substantial numbers of Europeans began to arrive, most of the tribes have caught a lot of hell and been mistreated, lied to and abused in many ways. However, I do get my back up a little bit at the term "Native American" since I am as native as anyone else, having been born here and being able to trace my ancestors, at least the bulk of them, back for a good three centuries on this overall piece of real estate.

A few anthropologists might still argue a bit but it is fairly well accepted that the ancestors of the modern tribes in North America did come out of the northern quadrant of Asia and worked their way down from what is now Alaska into north, central and even south America. So why are they "more native" than the Caucasians who sailed across the Atlantic?  It's just a matter of a millennia or so. As far as we know, they did not displace any preexisting residents, at least no human ones, but I don't think we are a hundred percent sure of this.

It is a fact that the beings who became modern humans probably originated and dispersed out of Africa, maybe even while the land mass of the newish planet Earth was closer to being a single continent than it is now. I mean, who was there to observe? And as various groups, bands and tribes migrated and dispersed, some went into new and unoccupied land and others may have overrun, absorbed, or eradicated previous dwellers. I do not say that is right or good or anything else, but it is a fact.

So, who is "native" of any place is highly questionable and subject to a great deal of debate. Yes, today's "Indians" (incorrectly termed this since that scam artist Italian thought he had reached the East Indies, a term used in ancient times and somewhat more recently as well  for the southeastern area of the Asian continent where wonderful spices and great wealth was believed to exist) were here when most of the ancestors of modern U. S. citizens arrived. We probably took possession without much due process. Not the first time and likely not the last. When we eventually go out into the greater universe it will probably happen again. Humans are greedy, rapacious and despite a thin veneer of civilization still mostly observe that might makes right. Most of us are pretty shitty folks!

In short, I am fine with an Indigenous Peoples Day--let's have one world-wide and sponsored by the United Nations and do it up in good style. There are lots of indigenous groups on every continent.  I am not fine with Columbus Day, but if we were to declare a Discoverer's Day, perhaps we could both placate and piss off a lot of folks.  Being of Irish and Welsh descent in good part, I'd be happy to recognize their adventuring efforts and according to what I've seen on TV, Vikings were big, bold sexy guys, so let's recognize them too! Forget Columbus; what the heck did he do?

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