Well, this is an interesting way to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month.
In a speech to the National Congress of American Indians focused on Columbus, Harris appears to forget that the moving force — the money — for the Italian Columbus’s voyage came from the Spanish Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. In historical fact, the Columbus voyage was the opening round of a serious and major Spanish colonization of the New World. Yet in a poor attempt at white washing, Harris uses the phrase “European explorers” — pretending that they were not Spanish. In fact, Columbus was far from alone in the Spanish arrivals in the New World of North, Central, and South America.
Wikipedia has several detailed accounts of all this. Saying this of the Spanish colonization project that followed Columbus:
The Spanish colonization of the Americas began under the Crown of Castile and was spearheaded by the Spanish conquistadors. The Americas were invaded and incorporated into the Spanish Empire, with the exception of Brazil, British America, and some small regions of South America and the Caribbean. The crown created civil and religious structures to administer the vast territory. The main motivations for colonial expansion were profit through resource extraction and the spread of Catholicism through indigenous conversions.
Beginning with the 1492 arrival of Christopher Columbusin the Caribbean and gaining control over more territory for over three centuries, the Spanish Empire would expand across the Caribbean Islands, half of South America, most of Central America and much of North America. It is estimated that during the colonial period (1492–1832), a total of 1.86 million Spaniards settled in the Americas, and a further 3.5 million immigrated during the post-colonial era (1850–1950); the estimate is 250,000 in the 16th century and most during the 18th century, as immigration was encouraged by the new Bourbon dynasty.
Wikipedia also recounts the Spanish explorers this way:
The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, also known as the Conquest of Mexico or the Spanish-Aztec War (1519–21), was one of the primary events in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. There are multiple 16th-century narratives of the events by Spanish conquistadors, their indigenous allies, and the defeated Aztecs. It was not solely a contest between a small contingent of Spaniards defeating the Aztec Empire but rather the creation of a coalition of Spanish invaders with tributaries to the Aztecs, and most especially the Aztecs’ indigenous enemies and rivals. They combined forces to defeat the Mexica of Tenochtitlan over a two-year period. For the Spanish, the expedition to Mexico was part of a project of Spanish colonization of the New World after twenty-five years of permanent Spanish settlement and further exploration in the Caribbean.
Following an earlier expedition to Yucatán led by Juan de Grijalva in 1518, Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés led an expedition (entrada) to Mexico. Two years later, in 1519, Cortés and his retinue set sail for Mexico. The Spanish campaign against the Aztec Empire had its final victory on 13 August 1521, when a coalition army of Spanish forces and native Tlaxcalan warriors led by Cortés and Xicotencatl the Younger captured the emperor Cuauhtémoc and Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire. The fall of Tenochtitlan marks the beginning of Spanish rule in central Mexico, and they established their capital of Mexico City on the ruins of Tenochtitlan.
Harris says the Spanish “ushered in a wave of devastation for tribal nations.” Slyly left out of her account is this, as recorded again in Wikipedia:
During Hernán Cortés‘ campaign against the Aztecs from 1519 to 1521, he supplemented his meagre force of Spanish soldiers (numbering some 1,300) with hundreds of thousands of native auxiliaries, from various states such as Tlaxcala. During the final siege of the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlan, Cortés, according to the account of one of his soldiers, Bernal Díaz del Castillo, had some 200,000 Tlaxcallan and other native auxiliaries, while the Aztec warriors drawn from the numerous cities surrounding Lake Xochimilco in the Valley of Mexico numbered more than 300,000.
Which is to say that what Harris also left out of her account is the role of various indigenous groups allying themselves with the Spanish and assisting in their conquests of, in this case, the Aztecs. And eventually other indigenous groups.
Over there at Fox News, the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez writes about the importance of National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Rodriguez is the lead pastor of New Season and President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Says Rev. Rodriguez:
National Hispanic Heritage Month is not only a time to look back at the achievements and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans, but it is also a celebration of hope for what is to come. We are pressing forward toward a bright future in which we will be the ones to inspire and achieve greatness in every sector of the United States of America.
Long before Jamestown or Plymouth Rock, we made our home here. We are the nation’s second largest population group, and we have held our own against racism, prejudice and ridicule because of our unshakable hope in the future.
Rev. Rodriguez supplies a link to the website for National Hispanic Heritage Month. And the site says this:
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.
The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.
So what do we have here?
What we have is the Vice President of the United States playing a game with the facts of American history to try to be “woke” for her audience of indigenous peoples — and winding up clumsily insulting the entire Hispanic population of America by slyly casting them as the bad guys in history without naming them. Not to mention she says nothing about the Spanish regularly having indigenous peoples as allies in their colonization.
One can only wonder at the lack of preparation for this speech, which is but the latest in an ongoing series of Harris gaffes and goofs.
Ya can’t make this stuff up. Except when Vice President Harris does exactly that.
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