Those victims -- we call them Native Americans, which is a pathetic term to describe the enormous variety of tribes/groups that used to live freely in the U.S. hundreds of years ago -- were stripped of their lands, destroyed by colonial hands or disease, and otherwise decimated by the colonial system. So to talk about Ponce de Leon, an understandably famous explorer, within the language of celebration ("A public conference commemorating the five hundredth anniversary of the landing of Juan Ponce de León on Florida shores" -- commemoration associated, more often
than not, with ceremony, memorial, and remembrance) is to privilege the imperial center (Anne McClintock's term from "The Angel of Progress") over the voices of the natives who survived him.
When will we get a major "commemoration" which privileges indigenous voices in relation to the famous explorers who led to their near-extinction? Perhaps we should have "Florida at the Crossroads: Five Hundred Years of Native Encounters, Conflicts, and Exchanges" instead of "Florida at the Crossroads: Five Hundred Years of Encounters, Conflicts, and Exchanges" followed by a reminder that this is all about Ponce de Leon's 500th anniversary...
Then again, I'm one of those crazy liberal people.