"Columbus Day"

Craven, Jim jcraven at SPAMclark.edu
Mon Oct 4 14:09:26 MDT 1999

To the Campus Community:

All day today KBOO Radio 90.7 FM will be broadcasting a "Columbus Day" or
anti-Columbus Day special to offer another perspective on Columbus and his

>From Columbus' Diary: "As soon as they [Indigenous Peoples encountered by
Columbus] that they are safe and have laid aside all fear, they are very
simple and honest and exceedingly liberal with all they have; none of them
refusing anything he [sic] may possess when he is asked for it, but, on the
contrary, inviting us to ask them. They exhibit great love toward all others
in preference to themselves. They also give objects of great value for
trifles, and content themselves with very little or nothing in return...I do
not find, as some of us had expected, any cannibals among them, but on the
contrary, men of great deference and kindness."

"...should your Majesties command it, all the inhabitants could be taken
away to Castille [Spain], or made slaves on the island. With 50 men we could
subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want."
("Rethinking Columbus: Teaching About the 500th Anniversary of Columbus'
Arrival in America"

And from Bartolome de Las Casas (1474-1566), a Dominican Catholic Priest who
was a contemporary of Columbus, an eye-witness who accompanied the Spanish
Conquistadores (to bless the troops in the name of the Church)
and the first and contemporary historian of the activities of Columbus and
his troops:

"[The Spaniards] made bets as to who would slit a man in two, or cut off his
head at one blow; or they opened up his bowels. They tore the babes from
their mother's breast by their feet and dashed their heads against the
rocks...They spitted the bodies of other babes, together with their mothers
and all who were before them, on their swords."
(Bartolome de las Casas, The Spanish Colonie, Brevisma relacion)
quoted in "Indians Are Us?: Culture and Genocide in Native North America" by
Ward Churchill, Common Courage Press, Monroe, ME, 1994, p. 32)

Finally, genocide and racism still continue today in Indian Country. The
letter below was sent to a list to be considered. No intent is made here to
bash any particular religion or Church, but suffice to say that any theology
being spread and evangelized should be subject to scrutiny and consideration
in terms of the content, implications and consequences of that which is
being evangelized. I have no reason to believe that what is presented below
is anything but a genuine expression of concern of this person. The ideas
and practices alluded to in this letter may be found and are found in many
other denominations and religions and in their historical practices.

Again, this is not an expression of bigotry or an attack against any
religious group per se and anyone who sees it as such, might want to
consider how the doctines and practices discussed below feel for Indian
People and what consequences flow from those doctines and practices.

Jim Craven

-----Original Message-----
From: Craven, Jim [mailto:jcraven at clark.edu]
Sent: Thursday, September 09, 1999 7:57 AM
Subject: FW: Mormons and Indians


I am new to the list. I joined in hopes that maybe I could help right
some of the wrongs that I have done.

I officially left the Mormon Church aka LDS Church (officially known as
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) six years ago after
having been most faithful in that organization my entire 47 year life span.
I am just glad that I finally woke up before it was too late. I fulfilled a
two year mission to Guatemala and El Salvador in the early 1970's where I
taught the local indigenous people that they were descended from the jews of
Jerusalem around 600 B.C. when a prophet there was commanded by God to
sail to the Americas and populate that hemisphere. I also taught them that
after those people arrived a few of them turned against Jehovah and that God
cursed them with a dark skin, but that if their descendants
repented in the last days, their skin would become white and delight some.

This story is the foundation for the Book of Mormon, which mormons call
scripture. I later became a professional social worker and spent about 3
years of my time on and off helping run a Native American Placement
program within the LDS Church that took children from 8 to 18 years of age
from off of the reservations in the South West of the United States and
placed them in LDS homes in Utah for education and church training.

I deeply regret being so naive, misinformed and stupid for having bought
into this heinous behavior, but at the time I felt I was doing God's work.
I remember feeling sickened and nauseated while watching the movie, "The
Emerald Forest" which depicts catholic fathers decimating an indigenous
tribe with all their bull shit.

The mormons still preach this racist doctrine and place thousands of
copies of the Book of Mormon each year. Unfortunately, the mormon are
growing very rapidly in Mexico, Central and South America among the native
people there. If you do not know this, I am posting here to warn you that
this insidious practice continues and is gaining momentum.

I currently can not stomach being associated with or involved with any
organized religions.

  Steven   aka Cricket

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