The Shadow of Columbus Day

October 9, 2017


Holy Man, Douglas White, Oglala Sioux Shaman

Wrongfully imprisoned by US Government, given 29-year sentence

Died in Prison, November 24, 2009


Christopher Columbus, of course, did not ‘discover’ America. Native Americans were present and had discovered the land. Other groups, too, had been here, including black-colored people from the Caribbean and Norse and Celtic settlers. American captives were taken to Norway in ca. 1420.

When Columbus reached the West Indies, he found radically different people. He said of them:

“….they are generous with what they have, to such a degree as no one would believe but him who had seen it. Of anything they have, if it be asked for, they never say no, but do rather invite the person to accept it, and show as much lovingness as though they would give their hearts….And they know no sect nor idolatry; save that they all believe that power and goodness are in the sky…”

 On his first voyage to this land, Columbus kidnapped twenty-seven Americans. He wrote:

“When your highnesses so command, they can all be carried off to Castille or held captive on the island itself, since with fifty men they would be all kept in subjection and forced to do whatever may be wished.”


“And they are fitted to be ruled and to be set to work, to cultivate the land and to do all else that may be necessary, and you may build towns and teach them to go clothed and to adopt our customs. Also: They would make good and industrious servants.”


“…it is possible, in the name of the Holy Trinity, to send all the slaves which it is possible to sell….of which, if the information which I have is correct, they tell me that one can sell 4,000….Here there are so many of these slaves, that it seems a living thing, but still gold….”

Miguel Cuneo, who accompanied Columbus on the second expedition to the Americas, reports:

“When our caravels….were to leave for Spain, we gathered one thousand six hundred male and female persons of those Indians, and of these we embarked in our caravels on February 17, 1495, five hundred and fifty souls among the healthiest…..for those who remained, we let it be known in the vicinity that anyone who wanted to take some could do so, to the amount desired, which was done.”

Tzvetan Todorov, in his study of Columbus, concludes,

“The sixteenth century perpetrated the greatest genocide in human history…. In 1500 the world population is approximately 400 million, of whom 80 million inhabit the Americas. By the middle of the sixteenth century, out of these 80 million, there remained ten million.”

These quotations are from the book, Columbus and Other Cannibals, by Jack D. Forbes.

The purpose of bringing them forth here is beyond that of trying to instill guilt. We want to ask: what forces, what psychic forces inhabit human beings when the land is not seen as living? What happens when land is separated from people as if the land is simply inert matter on top of which people live?

The author cited above has a most interesting answer to this question: such people become taken over by a spirit – the Wetiko, the spirit of cannibal psychosis (cannibal here means consuming another’s life –not literal, but real). In our time, and place, where we do not recognize such spirits, the name of this psychosis is greed.

The spirit-being now called greed inhabits, and, I will show in a later post, belongs to this land, but kept in check by the forces of harmony. It is of the land, though, and inhabits only those humans who have no sense of the Spiritual-Earth. It has no power as long as the people are the land and the people live in honor – of Sky, of Sun, of Moon, of Earth, of Animals, of Plants, of all creatures, view everything, everything, as living ….and all live as community.

“The Indians never hurt anything but the White people destroy all…How can the spirit of the earth like the White man?….Everywhere the White man has touched is sore.”

— Kate Luckie, of the Wintu Nation

We might regret, deeply, how ‘others’ treated Native Americans, and we might find ‘distance’ from the events, with a sigh, and a ‘that’s sad’. And in doing so, Wetiko has free reign.

To bring it all just a little closer. Since the beginning of the savage ‘conquering’ of Native Americans, projecting ‘savage’ on them, the tactic of making sure Native Americans would not rise again, besides confinement to reservations, the Holy Men, the Shamans of all Native American tribes, have and still are subjected to extinction. This tactic is meant to destroy the religious life of Native Americans and extinguish where the government knows the true leadership of tribes is located. The tactic is to cause internal conflict within a tribe, dividing a tribe, and getting one part to do things that discredit the Holy Man.

The purpose of my going into this is to expose some of the tactics of the Wetiko rather than enter into the social or political realms.

The demise of the Holy man of tribes still goes on. It happened in 2006, with the Holy man of the Oglala Sioux, Douglas White.

A remarkable documentary was made of his story and its outcome. Here is a link, first, of the trailer of this film, and a second link to where you can rent or purchase the film.

  1. Trailer: Holy Man: The USA vs. Douglas White

      2.  Where the film can be rented or purchased: