In A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn attempts to emphasize many historical events from the standpoints of the minority groups involved in attempt to provide a more well-rounded version of historical events. The first chapter within the novel titled “Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress” focuses on mistreatment of Indians in Hispainola perpetuated Christopher Columbus. The ideas in this chapter directly connect with our class discussion as many people in the United States still view Columbus’ legacy as heroic and the colonization of the Americas does not emphasize the lives and legacy of the Indians as much. After reading about the Columbus’ brutal treatment and mass murder that he inflicted on the Indians, I was shocked that Columbus is still heroicized within the United States.
I was really intrigued by Zinn’s description of the values in the Indians culture within the chapter. It was very interesting to me that the Indian’s culture was so much more accepting than the European culture. If Columbus didn’t catalyze the mass genocide of Indians in the Americas, and ruin their identity and culture, I wonder if the Indians values of equality between sexes, sharing of possesions, kindness, and peace would have been more prominent at earlier stages of the United States history. On a separate note, I was also surprised by cruelty of Columbus that was documented by Bartolomé de las Casas as I did not realize the magnitude of Columbus’ destruction on Indians upon his colonization until I read this chapter.