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October 13, 2015


Please share with all! What a busy last several days for those to went to Pueblo and every protest the prior years, all the work many of us including Russell Means, Glenn Morris and many community leaders have accomplished! Ahe’hee for your hard work all! grin emoticon

UPDATE: Colorado AIM and Allies Confront Columbus Day Racism in Pueblo; Return to Denver to Spearhead Proclamation of Indigenous Peoples Day by Denver City Council

Greetings, AIMsters,
We have had a remarkable couple of days, gathering to confront the racism that is at the heart the of the Columbus Day holiday. Below, are some accounts of the symposium yesterday, hosted by Rita Martinez and the Pueblo anti-Columbus Committee; today’s Columbus Day protest in Pueblo; and, the meeting of the Denver City Council to declare Indigenous Peoples’ Day (IPD) in Denver.

Colorado AIM and Rep. Joe Salazar Participate in Dia de la Raza Preparation for Pueblo Protest…/4…/columbus-pueblo-state-colorado

Columbus Day Ceremony Overshadowed by Protests in Pueblo…/pueblo-columbus-day-ceremony-overshad…

Rep. Joe Salazar Plans Effort to Rename Columbus Day in Colorado…/rep-joe-salazar-plans-effort-to-ren…/

Denver City Council Passes Proclamation Designating Indigenous Peoples’ Day…/indigenous-peoples-day-den…/73847176/…/instead-of-columbus-day-some-celebrate-i…/

Regarding the last development, all of you know that Colorado AIM began, and has led, the movement to challenge the racism of Columbus Day in Colorado and across the US. Just to remind folks, we began the movement in Spring, 1988, to outline a campaign that built every year until 1992, the 500th anniversary of the invasion by Columbus. In 1991, we blocked the parade, and four of us were put on trial (Russell Means, Ward Churchill, me, and Margaret Martinez). At a trial in June, 1992, we educated the jury and the public, and we were found not guilty on all charges. We stopped the C-Day parade in 1992, with over 3000 people gathered at Denver’s Civic Center Park. Between 1992-2000, there was no celebration of Columbus in Denver. In 2000, the racists resumed the parade, and in 2000, AIM and our allies blocked the parade, and 250 of us were arrested. Eventually, the charges were dropped against us all. We were arrested again in 2004, 147 arrests (at which time we were again found not guilty) and 2007, with nearly 100 arrests.

Unlike some government functionaries, sell-outs and toadies (who might well be “Native Americans,” too) who are seeking now to take credit for the change on the City Council, it was those of us who took this struggle to the streets, to the schools, to the media, and to the public for the past 25 years who brought this change. Paul Lopez, the courageous Denver city councilman who brought this resolution, and who was able to achieve unanimous support, was a student of mine at UCD, and has been a friend to many of us for decades. He has marched with us to stop Columbus Day on a number of occasions, and we have a huge photo of him pouring a bucket of fake blood in front of the C-Day parade in 2005. He has been arrested with us, and has gone to trial with us. Paul consulted with us from Colorado AIM about this resolution, and when the resolution was passed, two long-time Colorado AIM members, spiritual man Robert Cross, and AIM elder, Troylynn Yellow Wood were presented the resolution by Councilman Lopez, after Robert and Troylynn prayed and sang a sacred song in the City Council meeting. Robert and Troylynn represented us well.

So, let’s be clear — it was the struggle in the streets, the public education, and the consciousness-raising over 25 years by Colorado AIM and our allies — like Escuela Tlatelolco, the Transform Columbus Day Alliance, the faith community, and many Native people from across the US — that led to the resolution for Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Denver being passed, tonight. The credit for this does not belong to suck-up government bureaucrats, nor to the self-congratulation of toothless city commissions, and certainly not to those who have played it safe behind their desks or who have hidden in the safety of their homes, while the struggle takes place in the streets, and other public places. Colorado AIM was at the forefront of this struggle, and has continued with that struggle, as recently as in the streets of Pueblo, today. We have much to be proud of in this development, and we must be certain that history is accurately recounted in this account. Those are the facts — and no dishonest or duplicitous Facebook posts or self-promoting government press releases will change those facts.
We ask and challenge all of us to continue our struggle. Our friend, Representative Joe Salazar will be introducing legislation to end the Columbus Day holiday in January at the Colorado state legislature. He needs us to watch his back — both politically and literally. Last session, when Joe introduced legislation on Indian mascots in public schools, and in-state tuition for Indian students in Colorado colleges and universities, he was not only attacked in the media, but his wife and children were threatened and regularly verbally attacked. For his commitment to end Columbus Day, Joe will be attacked, perhaps even more viciously. We must stand with him and protect him and his family, because the sell-outs and the self-interested, have not, and will not, defend him. We must rise to that task and show him that Colorado AIM will stand with and defend our friends who try to defend and protect us, and our future generations. I know that you will join me in this effort. I look forward to seeing you all, soon, and on strategizing to end this racist scourge of Columbus Day in our homeland, once and for all.
In continuing Struggle,

As a precursor to today’s planned Columbus Day protest at the Christopher Columbus Piazza on Abriendo Avenue, a celebration of indigenous culture and heritage entitled Dia de la Raza (Day of the Race) drew more than 100 people…
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