Debate Heats Up Over San Salvador “Historic Replica”

by on October 28, 2014 · 1 comment

in American Empire, California, Civil Rights, Culture, History, Ocean Beach, San Diego, World News

Editor: Ever since the OB Rag first published articles about the reconstruction of a replica of the San Salvador, the flagship of Juan Cabrillo, the Spanish explorer who was the first European to land on San Diego’s shores, a debate has ensued over how modern society views and values the new ship which represents so much of the past.  The ship is docked right off Point Loma, in Spanish Landing.

A member of the volunteer crew who is working on the San Salvador stated in an email to the OB Rag that:

Comments concerning the brutality of the conquistador era are well taken. The San Salvador’s curriculum will spend significant time on the Kumayaa, as well as, the Age of Exploration by Europeans, the technology of sailing and navigation in 16th century and will help visitors understand that there was, in fact, US history west of the Allegheny Mountains.

In the meantime, the following is being reposted from a comment by Will Falk to a portion of Judi Curry’s article published at the San Diego Free Press:

By Will Falk

As a settler, I think it’s my responsibility to say this: The San Salvador was a weapon of genocide and, today, is a symbol of genocide.

“A Historically Accurate Replica”

How accurate are we going to get with the San Salvador? Are we going to use African and indigenous slave labor to build it? Are we going to use human tallow? Cabrillo, of course, caught his big break when he melted indigenous Mexicans for their body fat to use in constructing the canoes that served to carry conquistadors in a surprise attack on Tenochtitlan that left hundreds of thousands dead.

Are we going to fund the project with gold from Guatemalan mines? Are we going to enslave indigenous Guatemalan men to work the mines? Are we going to give indigenous Guatemalan women and children over to our soldiers to be raped as thanks for good service? I mean, that would be the historically accurate version of the Women of the San Salvador, right?

We’re not going to be THAT historically accurate, are we? No, settlers just want to build a replica of an interesting part of history. Settlers just want to celebrate a moment in history that brought them to this beautiful land. What’s so wrong with that?? Can’t you just get over the past, Will?

Well, even if it was only in the past, I’d have a hard time forgetting the world’s worst period of holocaustal genocide. It’s not in the past. Genocide continues right now. North America’s indigenous peoples have been cornered into reservations, indigenous women are being forcibly sterilized, in Canada 1200 indigenous women are missing and the government refuses to look into it because the evidence suggests the RCMP is implicated, whenever corporations want resources on the last little bit of land left to indigenous peoples they have to fight tooth and nail to keep corporations off it, and settlers in man camps along pipeline routes in places like South Dakota continue their rape and murder.

This is not about the past. This is about right now. The genocide continues and the San Salvador is its propaganda in San Diego.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Will Falk October 29, 2014 at 7:36 am

It’s not just me. It’s San Diego’s Native American community, too.

Steve Newcomb (Shawnee, Lenape) – a leading scholar on the genocide of original peoples in so-called North America – writes:

“The project is an attempt by the San Diego Maritime Museum to celebrate Spain’s shipbuilding prowess, and navigational skills, while ignoring the fact that the original ship, and many others, were built in Guatemala using Indian slaves. The museum and a number of supportive scholars seem to be doing their level best to draw attention away from the horrific genocidal consequences of Spain’s sea-faring imperial expansion under the so-called “right of Christian discovery.”


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