Tag Archives: treaties

Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress by Howard Zinn

An amazing part of history that many of us learn too late, but then, it’s never too late, is it?

Thanks to Howard Zinn for revealing this information, and to Dandelion Salad  for giving permission to re-blog it.

Note: the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Confederacy) and the United States signed the Canandaigua Treaty on November 11, 1794.

Dandelion Salad

by Howard Zinn
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
October 12, 2009

An excerpt from A People’s History of the United States.

Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island’s beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log:

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US Supreme Court declines Onondaga Nation’s request

200 years seems like a short time to me: 4 generations, or nearly 4 of my lifetimes. My grandmother’s grandfather was born 200 years ago, on land in Pennsylvania that his ancestors moved onto without permission from the people who had been using it for centuries.

William Procious, my grandmother's grandfather

 William Procious
My grandmother’s grandfather

October 15, 2013, the US Supreme Court declined to hear the Onondaga Nation’s request for us to honor the treaties that my European ancestors made with them 200 years ago. They said that the Onondagas waited too long before filing the petition, yet it was only just recently that US law allowed the Onondagas  to bring their case to court!

I don’t see what harm would come from granting the Onondaga Nation the request. They are simply asking for us to live in harmony, side-by-side, as my ancestors promised to do when they arrived. In the petition to the courts, they asked us to clean up the land and water that we destroyed, and that we all rely on for our livelihood. The court replied that this would be too disrupting.

I feel indebted to the original settlers of this land, for the abundance that I have. I owe it to them to use this land respectfully. I don’t think  that honoring the treaties is asking too much. I honor them as I care for the land and water around my part of the globe.

You can read the original treaties

April 7, 2014: See the update on this issue