Written by the Dávila Kafe Team
To celebrate Columbus Day is to celebrate the exploitation and rape of the Americas, the erasure of native languages, and the displacement and the genocide of millions who occupied the land where many of our own houses now stand. The United States, and the rest of the Western Hemisphere was not a vacant home waiting for an occupant, it was a land full of natural resources, and vibrant cultures.
The history of indigenous people is part of coffee’s history. In Central America, most of the coffee production was done by Mayan natives, who lived on fertile lands and were forced to labor without pay.
"Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace." – Benito Juárez
Today, we mourn the near extermination of indigenous culture, history, and the heritage that is interlaced in the stories of Taínos, Mayans, Navajo, Cherokee, and so many more who we will never know. Today, we remember the Trail of Tears, the removal of natives from their ancestral fertile lands for the cultivation of cotton by enslaved Blacks who, as we well know, were also subjugated and oppressed.
We cannot allow the fear of seeing the worst of ourselves hold us back from acknowledging past wrongs. On this Indigenous Peoples' Day, we acknowledge the pain that our fellow brothers and sisters suffered, particularly while cultivating coffee. It’d be foolish to think that the mistakes of the past have no effect on our present day reality. We must strive to learn from those mistakes so that they may never be repeated. We’re encouraged by the words of Benito Juárez, the 26th president of the United Mexican States of America who said, "Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace."