October 11th, 2011
Several American Indian and Indigenous groups have raised the very valid question about why Columbus Day is a national holiday.
Columbus did not "discover" any part of the modern day United States. Furthermore, the Spanish colonization of the New World that he instigated was devastating, to say the least, to the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. He brought with him the international law of colonialism, the Doctrine of Discovery, and that legal principle has been used in all the countries of the New World to strip native peoples of their lands and rights.
Maybe the United States should stop commemorating Columbus Day as a federal holiday.
A friend just emailed me a joke card that says something like – Lets celebrate Columbus day by going into someone else's house and telling them we own it now. (I wonder how that would work??)
I have written a lot on the Doctrine of Discovery.
In August I completed an article that summarizes and compares the work I have done over the past eight years in examining how Discovery has been applied in nine different countries: "The International Law of Colonialism: A Comparative Analysis," 15 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. __ (2012) http://ssrn.com/abstract=1920009
Brazil, Indigenous Peoples, and the International Law of Discovery, 37 Brooklyn Journal of International Law __ (2011): http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=1768350 this article has been translated into Portuguese. The International Law of Discovery, Indigenous Peoples, and Chile, 89 Nebraska Law Review 819 (2011): http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=1667155 this article has been translated into Spanish. I started my work on this subject in a 2006 book in which I examined the Doctrine in the United States - http://www.amazon.com/Native-America-Discovered-Conquered-Jefferson/dp/0803215983 In 2010, I co-authored a book from Oxford University Press with Indigenous scholars from Australia, Canada, and New Z ealand about the Doctrine in our four countries. http://www.amazon.com/Discovering-Indigenous-Lands-Doctrine-Discovery/dp/0199579814