As Italian Americans we can do better than Columbus
In his FLT In the columns of “Voice of D’Amocracy”, David D’Amico makes the mistake of being the last word on “the facts” of whatever he decides on. For example, in his most recent column (Times, October 25), he tries to understand the Indigenous Peoples Day proposal before the Geneva city council that would combine the celebrations of Italian-American culture on Columbus Day with the indigenous cultures.
D’Amico says, “Why shouldn’t we be allowed to celebrate the bravery of a pioneer whose determination to cross an ocean and find a new land…” Stop. Correction.
Fact: Columbus was looking for a new route to the East Indies. The lost sailor stumbled upon tropical islands and stumbled upon the closest thing to paradise a European would ever have achieved.
Opinion: He and those who followed were blinded by greed and religious fervor.
Fact: Until his death, Columbus believed he had reached the East Indies.
To celebrate being Italian, we can do better. In 1934, FDR threw us a bone. Instead, I would choose Dr. Maria Montessori, doctor and educator. Or Fiorello LaGuardia, mayor of New York from 1934 to 1945 who read the comedies on the radio during the Great Depression.
Yes, Mr. D’Amico, “terrible things happened (to the indigenous peoples) after the arrival of Columbus.” Columbus’s diary clearly states his intention to enslave the natives. The generational trauma continues to this day, with the dispossession of land and the discovery of graves of Indian children in boarding schools run by Christian churches.
Today we have the ability to access and analyze documents and records that only a generation ago were reserved for academics. We can all be better history students. Many of us want stories that give meaning to our lives and connect with the struggles and sacrifices of our ancestors.
Facts about Italian migration: Most Italian migrants went to Argentina in search of a better life. The United States ranks seventh among the choices for Italian economic refugees.
Facts: Thirteen states and over 100 municipalities do not celebrate Columbus Day. One of the reasons was the anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic sentiment among many Americans.
Mr. D’Amico must understand that no one has a monopoly on the truth. Some facts are fabricated. Many remain hidden and out of reach, to be revealed later.
I celebrate sharing the best that Italians have to offer our country. Did I hear pizza !? I celebrate days with all of those who make this land a better place to live and raise our children.
American first generation