On Monday October 12, BREATHEcast had the opportunity to meet up with vocalist of the band Silent Planet, Garrett Russell. The band was in town to play at Manhattan's Gramercy Theatre, and the singer had a message for the fans on the merits of celebrating Columbus Day.
The band posted the following message on their Facebook page on Monday: "In 1492, Christopher Columbus murdered and enslaved a large number of Arawak and Lucayan Natives, justifying his atrocities with Bible verses. Today is a federal holiday in the United States, called 'Columbus Day'. You built your Father's house over my Mother's grave."
That last line of the statement is from their song called "Native Blood" which speaks about the plight of the Native Americans once the settlers came over. The song is written in the perspective of a young Native girl watching her mother and people get killed.
Watch "Native Blood" below:
Russell prefaced his thoughts about Columbus Day by saying often times, people tell the band to just "stick to playing music" on social media. However, since Silent Planet's conception, they have aimed to be an "organism" in the sense that they want to be a living and breathing body that focuses on numerous topics. "If we see things that are wrong, we want to talk about them, we want to speak out about them."
He said many people think being a Christian is just talking about Jesus all day, but Russell believes that people of faith should look to push further.
One example of this is the man Christopher Columbus himself. The history books talk about him sailing over from Europe and discovering the New World. The story seems generally positive, and fails to mention the "legacy of violence" he left behind.
In reality, it is documented that Columbus enslaved the Native Americans, raped and sold women and children into sex slavery, and even cut off the hands of tribe members and made them wear the appendages around their necks. At the time it was all done in the name of God.
"That's something we should talk about. That should be a dialogue...why is it Christopher Columbus Day?"
Watch Part 1 of the interview below and stay tuned for more with Garrett: