Telling Our Stories:
Story telling is the Shuswap
way of passing our history
to the next generations
In 1992, the world celebrated the five hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. From the native perspective, it was five hundred years after Native Americans discovered Christopher Columbus somewhat lost on the shores of America. He had to have have been lost because he called them Indians.
Part of the celebration was to include the sailing of replicas of the ships that Columbus used to sail to America. These ships, Santa Maria, Nina and Pinta, were to sail from Spain to San Salvador, The Bahamas where Columbus first made landfall in America.
Some First Nations Leaders, however, were not ready to celebrate with the rest of the world. Besides they knew that Columbus was a come lately to the party. Actually, the Vikings had visited America some five hundred years before Columbus. Some leaders from B.C. were planning to let the world know that Columbus landing in America was far from a good thing for the Natives here.
I was Chief of the Williams Lake Indian Band at that time. My sister Lynn was a member of Band council at that time also. Gordon Sabastian, who had gone to school at Prince George College with Lynn contacted her about September of 1992. He discussed that he was planning along with other First Nations leaders from the Hazelton, Terrace area of BC to make a trip to Puerto Rico to meet and confront the Columbus ships and demonstrate the Native opposition to the celebration of Christopher Columbus’ landing in America. He invited Lynn to come on this journey with them, but she would have cover her own expenses. Lynn told them that she could not afford the trip but suggested that I might be interested. After some thought and discussion, I decided to accompany them. I still had two weeks vacation that I hadn’t used up as yet, I would use this trip as my vacation.