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Category: Discovery and Exploration

Some More Thoughts on Why We Need Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Some More Thoughts on Why We Need Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to apologize for the damage done by residential schools for First Nations children in Newfoundland and Labrador.  He will do so on November 24.  Like many apologies, I suppose, it is not enough to erase the trauma suffered by so many First Nations families. In the end, however, there are limits as to what can be done to address the crimes and the mistakes of the past. Acknowledging, apologizing, and a pledge to…

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A Plea for Justice on Indigenous Peoples’ Day

A Plea for Justice on Indigenous Peoples’ Day

In Native American history, there are lots of guilty parties, but Christopher Columbus is guiltier than most. There is absolutely nothing edifying in this story of avarice, violence, and religious bigotry, save for the native peoples who at times and places survived the carnage. The continued celebration of Columbus Day does a historical injustice to the native peoples of two continents and the Caribbean. The Columbus Day holiday found its origins in the Italian-American community. Columbus, quite likely from Genoa,…

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One Ring to Rule Them All: Roanoke and that Signet Ring

One Ring to Rule Them All: Roanoke and that Signet Ring

Recently Smithsonian Magazine published a piece by Andrew Lawler on the signet ring found on Hatteras Island by archaeologist David Sutton Phelps. Phelps, who taught at East Carolina University, died in 2009. As Lawler correctly points out, The 1998 discovery electrified archaeologists and historians. The artifact seemed a rare remnant of the first English attempt to settle the New World that might also shed light on what happened to 115 men, women, and children who settled the coast, only to…

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Of Tribes, Towns, and Tattoos: Some Thoughts on Hakluyt@400

Of Tribes, Towns, and Tattoos: Some Thoughts on Hakluyt@400

I remember many years ago at the American Historical Association Annual Meeting that the historian James Muldoon described Richard Hakluyt the Younger, who died four hundred years ago this past November, as the “Gene Roddenberry” of the Elizabethan age.  It is an image I have used many times in my classes, even though few of my students know who I am talking about.  Roddenberry wrote his teleplays for the “Star Trek” television series at the beginning of America’s space age. …

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