Indians claim Italy by right of discovery

   From Our Correspondent:   Rome, Sept 24, 1992

       Italy, cradle of Western civili­zation, woke up today to the fact that it has never actually been discovered.  The situation, however, was remedied at 11 o’clock in the morning when the chief of the Indian Chippewa tribe, Adam Nordwall, stepped off an Alitalia jumbo jet and claimed it for the Indian people.

       The intrepid explorer, in full Indian dress, accompanied by his wife—in ordinary clothes because her suitcase had been lost in New York—stood on the tarmac of Fiumicino airport here and took possession of Italy “by right of discovery.”

       The fact that Italy has long been inhabited by people who consider themselves to be in full possession of the place was exactly the point that Mr Nordwall was trying to make. “What right had Columbus to discover America when it was already inhabited for thousands of years?  The same right that I have to come now to Italy and claim to have discovered your country,” he said.

       The difference, however, was that Columbus “came to conquer a country by force where a peaceful people were living, while I am on a mission of peace and goodwill.”

          Mr Nordwall led a party of Indians which occupied the prison on Alcatraz in San Fran­cisco Bay in 1969 to call attention to the conditions in which Indians were compelled to live in America.