3.5 stars

Franklin College, Napolitan Student Center

March 17

Bronx-born Bobby Gonzalez, whose heritage is Taino and Puerto Rican, took an overflow audience on an illustrated eye-blink historical journey of early contacts between Europeans and Indigenous People in “the new world” now called South, Central and North America.

His “History of the Americas from an Indigenous Perspective” isn’t mainstream academia, and if it comes across as harsh, bleak, inhumane, deceitful, it’s a reality requiring attention.

Deprived of traditional ways of life, ancestral lands and cultural heritage that anchors Indigenous People to their identity and economic viability, poverty has become endemic. Gonzalez’s saving-grace humor grows from the persona of a survivor.

“My people are the Taino. We’re the people who discovered Columbus. You will be told Tainos are wiped out — like the Mohicans.” …

“The Pilgrims came for religious freedom. They turned around and deprived the Natives of their freedom.” …

Acknowledging Indianapolis resident Rebecca Victorino Martin, whose heritage is Acoma Pueblo, Gonzalez showed a slide of a 500-year-old pueblo. “Are your buildings built to last five centuries?”

Despite their underclass treatment by the U.S. government, American Indians have defended the nation in all wars with notable contributions that include the Navajo code talkers in the Pacific and Comanche code talkers in Europe during WWII. Gonzalez underscored that 50 languages are spoken in Mexico, “one of which is Spanish.”

Contact Gonzalez at BronxTaino@aol.com.


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