Seattle, Columbus, and Historical Fictions, by Robert Royal

The Seven Seals: The Book of Revelation, Part 2, by Dr. Jeff Mirus
June 24, 2020
Daily Reading & Meditation: Wednesday (June 24)
June 24, 2020

*Image: Landing of Columbus by John Vanderlyn, 1846 [U.S. Capitol Rotunda, Washington, D.C.]

By Robert Royal, The Catholic Thing, June 3, 2020

Dr. Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. ….

NOTE: If you haven’t already, please take a moment to click on TCT Video for our latest podcast (or watch it on YouTubein which Fr. Jeffrey Kirby and I talk about his new book, “Thy Kingdom Come: Living the Lord’s Prayer in Everyday Life.”  It’s a lifeboat in times like these. Earlier podcasts in this new series feature Brad Miner and me talking (what else?), Fr. Gerald Murray on the Papal Posse, Robert Reilly on the American Founding, and Mary Eberstadt on identity politics. And I’ve just recorded a new one with Carrie Gress on a theology of home. The podcasts are available in both video and audio formats. And let us know what you think about these conversations. – Robert Royal


Robert RoyalChief Seattle, who gave his name to the currently troubled city in the State of Washington, was pure Native American (father Suquamish, mother Duwamish). A mighty warrior, he essentially eliminated the rival Chimakum tribe in a battle on what is now the Quimper Peninsula. Like other native chiefs, he owned slaves. And he was a convert, probably in his fifties, to Roman Catholicism.

I learned about him more than 30 years ago, when I was researching my very first book, 1492 and All That, as controversy was raging about the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ first voyage to the New World. Seattle’s story shows how complex, to say the least, are our individual lives – and how false and disrespectful of those lives it is to use past historical figures in what are manufactured, simple-minded, ideological morality plays.

Native Americans are not supposed to have been violent, like “white men.” Or at least not against other Native Americans, because all those different peoples must have been One Harmonious Anti-White Thing, no?  …

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