1. kestrel says

    I honor these peoples. I so wish that the original Europeans could have appreciated and embraced their various cultures. We would be so much richer now than we are now, and I am not talking about money.

  2. Knabb says

    @2 rayceeya
    Look up a list of holidays. Now consider the one on that list that falls today not worth celebrating, because we don’t celebrate genocidal scum here.

  3. cbv says

    Am I the only one irritated that ‘America’ to most people only refers to the US and not two fracking continents?

  4. whheydt says

    Well…if you go by the traditional dating (instead of moving the observation to the previous Monday), then the closest related holiday would be Leif Erikson Day…which is actually tomorrow. Unlike that other holiday that actually falls on Friday, and what is being commemorated today should be next Monday.

  5. wzrd1 says

    @2, I think he was referring to cuneiform.

    @5, that’s long been a pet peeve of mine. Indeed, two North American nations citizens refer to the US as America as well. I suspect it’s an attempt at avoiding guilt by geographical association.

  6. Kaintukee Bob says

    @5: You mean Northest US and Tacoland?

    Also, in a serious response, while all three countries are on the continent of North America, only the United States of America (as opposed to the United Mexican States and Canada) uses the word ‘America’ within its name. Technically, referring to the USA as the ‘United States’ could be confused with the United Mexican States. Also, in European countries the entirety of the ‘New World’ was mainly called ‘America’ after Amerigo Vespucci, as a general term. This remained as a facet of the culture of the New World through the formation of the various countries. Given the rather violent revolution the US had and the name it eventually took for itself, it carried on that appellation.

    Canada and Mexico, upon claiming their independence, were already used to referring to the new USA as ‘America’, and thus it stuck.

  7. Roj Blake says

    Well, sorry PZ, but I am going to use the “C” word. Caine. I miss her immensely, and one of the reasons I do is the way she opened my eyes to the lived reality of American Indigenes. Her fierce writing on the topic, especially during the vicious assaults at Standing Rock DAP protests, was inspirational.

    As to the title ” America”, I use it for the USA as it is the only nation on either continent to have that word in its name. Of course, calling itself The United States of America implies that the other 17 countries / territories are disunited and always squabbling. Better suits the former than the latter, me thinks.

  8. brett says

    Good. Italian-Americans can find a different historical figure to venerate, one who wasn’t notoriously brutal and crank-ish even in his own time.

  9. chrislawson says


    Spot on. There are many, many other Italians worthy of admiration, including many Italian-Americans. I feel the same way about the Confederate apologists who want to venerate despicable figures like Jefferson Davis because they “respect their heritage” — to which I wonder, why not venerate Harriet Tubman or Rosa Parks or Booker T. Washington? Why is it that the only heritage you wish to respect is the heritage of slavery, lynchings, and treason?

  10. Walter Solomon says

    Italian-Americans can find a different historical figure to venerate, one who wasn’t notoriously brutal and crank-ish even in his own time.

    Amerigo Vespucci, Chef Boyardee, Super Mario, Tony Soprano or Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino would all be better.

  11. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Rock Blake,

    When the colonies declared their independence, they were each sovereign states (i.e., nations), “united” initially to persecute the war, and afterwards in a loose confederation, somewhat akin to the EU. It wasn’t until the Constitution was ratified that they really became a single nation, but the old name stuck even though the individual states lost most of the powers associated with statehood. So really the problematic part of the name is “States”.

  12. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    As for what to call the country and the people, I’d prefer “USA” and “Yankee” if it weren’t for the fact that the former is used as a jingoistic chant and the latter was coopted by that godawful team from the Bronx.

  13. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Um, my @14 was of course addressed to Roj Blake. Apologies from my autocorrect.

  14. archangelospumoni says

    I am lucky enough to have moved up to NW Washington State from Tejas in the ’60s and mostly through Trout Unlimited (I belong to a salmon chapter) and my EXCESSIVE angling have gotten to know a number of tribal folks. “First Nations” is a good name and almost without exception, they have better biologists and working biology programs, better long term interests in nearly all fisheries issues, better outlook on climate change (e.g. reality), better actions on water quality and general watershed health, better ideas on timber harvest practices, superior goals re public waterways, PLUS the cultural aspect of fisheries and the environment they hold compared to us non tribal sports anglers/citizens. In general, superior to roughly 100% of non-tribal outlook(s).

    We have more than our share of haters who see a gillnet somewhere and automatically hate all the tribes but that’s about 2% of the total.
    At a recent Washington State Fair in Monroe right before the Presidential election, a local TU salmon chapter “borrows” some excess hatchery salmon stock for this big display tank (how to get the public interested) and I swear to Allah that this happened: I volunteer at the TU display tank thing at the fair and this fat guy came up and actually asked if these salmon (adult Chinooks ranging up to about 25#) had been raised on POWER BAIT. (??!!?) I started to explain the salmon life cycle, then I noticed his “Hillary for Prison” button, then stopped.

    Sometimes the universe cannot be made any more clear.

  15. brett says

    @11 ChrisLawson

    If for some reason it has to be a Confederate general, tell them to honor Longstreet. There are no monuments in the South for him, because he accepted that the Confederacy lost, allied with the Republicans during Reconstruction in Louisiana, refused to publicly give credence to the lie about the conflict being about “states’ rights”, and led a militia/mixed force against a violent white supremacist “redeemer” organization. He was also publicly critical of Lee after the war.

    @13 Walter Soloman

    Fiorello La Guardia would be a good one. One of the great New Deal mayors and congressfolk, you can thank him in part for some good pro-labor legislation, a lot of infrastructure and housing construction in NYC, and at least trying to crack down on organized crime and the corrupt Tammany Hall machine.

  16. says

    As a sign of just how hard this stuff is to change:

    California formally adopted Indigenous Peoples’ Day three years ago.

    If you tried to go to any California courthouse today, you’d find a “Closed for Columbus Day” sign. And on the courts’ websites.

    @14 What a Maroon:
    “State” meant something different during the Enlightenment than it means now. If you really want to see that in action, try to figure out either the Union (no, not the northern states of the US in the mid-nineteenth-century Second War of American Secession, but the Union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), and then go read Grotius and his ilk… Indeed, calling subdivisions of the nation-state “states” caused immense confusion in Europe after the Articles of Confederation were adopted, let alone the Constitution — both the Netherlands and Denmark, for example, thought Franklin was Pennsylvania‘s ambassador to France for the first few months he was over there.

    My nominee for “replacement Italian immigrant” is Enrico Fermi.

  17. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Jaws @19,

    “State” meant something different during the Enlightenment than it means now.

    Right, and I think a large part of the change in meaning is because of the accidents of the history of the US. Virginia and Pennsylvania and all the rest really did consider themselves states in the Enlightenment sense, even under the Articles of Confederation (and they all had an effective veto under the Articles). The Constitution was in a sense a coup, not just against the Congress but even more so against the state governments–it took away many of the powers associated with states (most especially, the power to conduct war and control trade), but still referred to those 13 entities as states (perhaps so as not to shock their systems too much), when in reality what we call states are more like provinces.

  18. some bastard on the internet says

    So, I have to talk about the ‘C-word’, because Prager “U” recently made a new ad showing some douche (his name escapes me, but frankly, fuck ‘im) going around a college campus asking students what they thought of Columbus. Naturally, because they’re educated, the students quite thoroughly reamed him for quite legitimate reasons. The douche then proceeds to ask the students if this country should be given back to the Indigenous People, to which most of the students say, “Sure!” And then it just… ends.

    If anyone isn’t familiar with Prager “U”, then they might’ve thought that they were actually making a case for at least removing Columbus Day from our list of Official Holidays.

    They aren’t.

    What they’re trying to imply is that if we were really willing to return the country to the Indigenous People, we wouldn’t be trying to let refugees and illegal immigrants live here (because those groups are so comparable to that asshole).

    I won’t link to the video on their YouTube page, because fuck Prager “U.”

  19. Athaic says

    @ Roj Blake #9

    Caine. I miss her immensely, and one of the reasons I do is the way she opened my eyes to the lived reality of American Indigenes. Her fierce writing on the topic, especially during the vicious assaults at Standing Rock DAP protests, was inspirational.

    So do I, for the same reasons, and the many other topics she addressed.

  20. dianne says

    I feel ambivalent about Indigenous People’s Day. It seems far too little, too symbolic, and too much lumping of people together. How about we skip the symbolism and go straight to reparations for African Americans and the various indigenous tribes of the land now occupied by the US? Also open borders and ponies for all, as long as I’m dreaming.

  21. dianne says

    @3: I’m not sure where you are, but CD is hardly the only celebration of genocidal maniacs the US has. Thanksgiving, anyone? Or maybe Washington’s birthday? Independence Day is ambiguous to say the least (read the second verse of the national anthem…the one most USians pretend doesn’t exist). Fake Labor Day isn’t about genocide per se, but it is about denying the labor movement’s importance. And those are just the official holidays whose issues I know about.

  22. Jado says

    PZ, if we don’t celebrate homicidal maniacs who commit systemic genocide, who are we going to use as heroes and examples for tomorrow’s genocidal robber barons and corporate raiders? Think of the children – how will they ever become financial moguls if we don’t teach them to steal and kill and oppress the less advantaged people they encounter?

    It’s a moral imperative as Americans to continue the self-obsessed greedy nihilistic genocide taught to us through the ages by these great men. Just like Jesus wanted.