Myths of Discovery

American Myths Symposium #1: Re-Thinking the Meaning of Christopher Columbus — October 7, 2015

Why are so many in the U.S. preoccupied with the notion that America was discovered? Columbus’s exploration of the Caribbean is often understand as discovering a “New World.” The world was certainly not new to the millions of people lived in North America for tens of thousands of years prior to 1492. Columbus’s arrival initiated immense suffering to Native people and their population was quickly decimated due to disease, war, and enslavement. White Americans have long had peculiar notions about what happened in North America prior to Columbus. The quest to find evidence of Vikings, lost tribes of Israel, ancient Egyptians, etc., exemplify that many American are only interested in pre-Columbian history if it involves non-indigenous people.  Following the two presentation by Rev. Dr. John Norwood and Dr. David M. Krueger, a discussion ensued about building a movement to persuade to City of Philadelphia to end the recognition of Columbus Day as a civic holiday.  The event flyer can be found here: myth of discovery flier


Rev. Dr. John Norwood the founding pastor of the Ujima Village Christian Church and a leader in the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation.  Hialso the General Secretary for the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes, Government Liaison for the Confederation of Sovereign Nanticoke-Lenape Tribes, and Co-Chair of the Task Force on Federal Acknowledgment of the National Congress of American Indians.


Dr. David M. Krueger is an independent scholar and educator in American religious history. He is also the author of Myths of the Rune Stone: Viking Martyrs and the Birthplace of America