Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

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Response to Columbus Day Post.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | October 8, 2018

No. 1,569

Image: Smithsonian Magazine

Reprinted below is a response to my Columbus Day post, No. 1,568, which was sent to me via the contact box on this blog.  It succinctly states the gist of the contemporary argument against honoring Columbus, which many view as a complicity in genocide.

This argument holds Columbus as a symbol of what was to happen during several centuries to follow. There is a political agenda behind this which has little to do with Columbus himself.  C0lumbus’  conquest of a few indigenous people and the violent killing it entailed cannot be equated to the premeditated genocidal programs of Hitler or Stalin.  To follow this chain of logic would ultimately lead us to the absurdity of wholesale condemnation of almost everyone who led an army in conquest. We need to recognize that our ancestors lived in a vastly different world and frequently believed that their perceived enemy would quickly kill them, if given the opportunity.

I have omitted the name of the writer because I don’t know if he wants to be identified.  If he does, I’ll be glad to identify him.

“Hello Mr. Tuttle,
I read your post about Columbus Day and I think there’s been a fundamental misunderstanding. No one is saying that what Columbus did was not historically significant; we are saying it was an atrocity. The beginning of the “golden age” that you speak of was the genocide of the Native American people. You talk about being lucky to live in this age, but ignore the millions of indigenous people who were murdered and continue to suffer the consequences of colonization. The argument is not “we should stop celebrating Columbus day because it doesn’t matter”, but rather, “it is wrong to celebrate and glorify a genocidal warlord”. In the same way that it would be unthinkable to honor Hitler or Stalin with a day of celebration, it is inappropriate to honor Columbus, who perpetrated crimes just as violent as the former two, only against non-european victims. I truly hope you will consider the deeper nuances surrounding this issue, and the direct effects of Columbus’s actions which can still be felt in the forms of residential schools, indigenous child theft, forced sterilization, and so much more which I am sure you have the resources to familiarize yourself with. This is more than just the simple name of a childhood holiday; this is about celebrating and condoning the decimation of an entire race of people.
Thank you for your time.”



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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