Native Americans protest arrival of Columbus ships in Michigan

TRAVERSE CITY, MI (WPBN) Native American protesters were on hand as replicas of two Christopher Columbus ships docked in Michigan Wednesday.

The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians protested as the Nina and Pinta ships pulled in.

Members of the band said the ships are a painful reminder of the past.

“To us this is the replication of a serious crime that happened to us,” said Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians Tribal Councilor Tom Shomin.

He said the ships represent historic lies.

“Things that were taught in schools were just fictitious,” said Shomin. Christopher Columbus enslaved people and never made it to the mainland. People in the Caribbean were enslaved and tortured. He used to torture people for his own amusement. That’s not someone I want to celebrate.”

The ships are being brought to Traverse City with the help of the Maritime Heritage Alliance. It’s part of an educational tour that visits 30 ports throughout the U.S.

Some protesters used canoes and kayaks to try to block the ships from docking. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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