Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pet Peeves about American History

Here is something that bothers me, more than it should but it does bother me a lot.

Here are two comments on a video.

"Indians killed more Indians than the Europeans. True fact."

 And when I corrected that person by saying that the genocide against the 'Inidians/Native Americans' was the largest in WORLD history and continued LONGER than any other EVER. (Yup, even worse than the WWII Holocaust). And that no, Indians did not kill more Indians than Europeans.

Then I got this bit from someone else:

"Wrong. European diseases made up a huge sum of the death count. Throughout the 1400-1850 hundreds."

Okay *Deep Breath* Before I get into a long rant I want to point something out. You'll see where I'm going with this Trust me. I have a point!

  • An estimated 11 - 17 million people died during the Holocaust (including non-jews), however some estimates are as high as 26 million.
  • Of that, an estimated 6 million were Jewish.
  • Millions died of disease in concentration camps and weren't directly 'killed' yet they are still considered victims of the Holocaust. Remember Ann Frank? She died of typhoid.
  • From 1940 through 1942, disease (especially typhoid) and starvation killed hundreds of thousands of Jews confined in the ghettos, yet these people are still counted as victims.

Trust me, keep reading, I do have a point to make.

Ok, the second commenter does have a point. Many did die of disease and not directly by a bullet in their head. However, even after first contact and people died 'accidentally' through exposure to a new disease, and then the natives kept on dieing from disease! BUT, oh yes there is a big but. But, this time it was on purpose.

  • Some soldiers began purposely infecting captured natives then sending them back to their tribe. Eventually, this became more and more common (some disagree, but there are surviving documents proving that this tactic was used multiple times & many believe that it was actually a very common practice). Take this wonderful example : "On June 24, 1763, William Trent, [...] recorded in his journal that two Indian chiefs had visited the fort, urging the British to abandon the fight, but the British refused. Instead, when the Indians were ready to leave, Trent wrote: "Out of our regard for them, we gave them two Blankets and an Handkerchief out of the Small Pox Hospital. I hope it will have the desired effect."" ~ Colonial Germ Warfare. And this too, "Sir Jeffery Amherst, commander of British forces in North America, [...] "Could it not be contrived to Send the Small Pox among those Disaffected Tribes of Indians? We must, on this occasion, Use Every Stratagem in our power to Reduce them." He ordered the extirpation of the Indians and said no prisoners should be taken. [...] : "You will Do well to try to Innoculate the Indians by means of Blanketts as well as to try Every other method that can serve to Extirpate this Execrable Race."
The small pox epidemic is estimated to have killed 80-90% of the total population.
  • They nearly eliminated all their crops by forcing them out of their land, purposely destroying farming areas, and letting their horses and cattle eat where ever they want.

  • Their fresh water was poisoned. "In Virginia Dr. John Pott, the physician at Jamestown, was said to have poisoned Indians in 1623, during a round of retaliation for a Powhatan uprising in which 350 English died. [...] The English said that about 200 savages died of poison and fifty from wounds." Colonial Germ Warefare.

  • The settlers shot a lot of local wild life and scared even more away with loud gun shots. So hunting became harder. Add that to their ruined crops and they had nothing to eat!

  • They were forced out of their home land which same it harder to survive causing more to die from exposure & disease.

  • Then there were the concentration camps reservations where the conditions were deplorable and practically a breeding ground for sickness. Not only that, they became malnutrition and starved causing more diseases.

All of these people technically did died from disease. True, but does it NOT make it the Europeans fault? REALLY??? It's like saying all those people who died of starvation and disease during the Holocaust wasn't the Nazi's fault. Because it was! And it was the Europeans and Americans fault that all those people died. (see what I did right there? I told you I had a point.)

STOP IT! Just please stop acting like 'it wasn't our/their fault'. It WAS. Get with the program people. Denial is a BAD thing.

So yes, the genocide against the Native Americans was the LARGEST in world history. FACT.

Then to just add to it, the second commenter replies: "I was only contesting that the European settlers [weren't] completely to blame. And you should know this, this is the history of almost 400 years. And that itself is dwarfed by the amount of these types of things that have happened throughout the world. And you chose to be angry about this specific area in the history of genocide."

Wow . . . I'm so sorry that the I corrected misinformation about the worst genocide in the history of the planet since it's obviously "dwarfed by the amount of these types of things that have happened throughout the world."


And why, no I am not being dramatic in that last statement. The guy literally said "And that itself is dwarfed by the amount of these types of things that have happened throughout the world. And you chose to be angry about this specific area in the history of genocide."

Ya, apparently because the mass murder of Native Americans is nothing to get upset over and it really doesn't matter in history ...

But really, I never got *angry* I actually stated confirmed FACTS from history telling that what they knew was in fact wrong. But after his second comment I did get angry. I could go on and on why I believe explaining the truth is important but this guy said it better than I ever could :

“Despite the fact that every country tends to be ethnocentric about its own past and tends to emphasize that their country did things with the best of intentions . . . Indian history is an important antidote to the notion that European Americans are God’s chosen people. The idea that God is on our side began with the Pilgrims.”


He recalls a 1631 fight over land at Saugus, Massachusetts, when the Puritan minister Increase Mather said, “God ended the controversy by sending smallpox among the Indians.’”

“Now that is Manifest Destiny. Divine destiny,” Loewen says. “Same idea. God is on our side, fate is on our side, the overall sweep of history is on our side. Of course, it is a rationalization for what we do or what we did. If we killed them all, it was too bad, it was Manifest Destiny.

“However, history is not a film you can unreel. You cannot run it backwards. You cannot make native people independent again. Politically or logically, it is impossible. We can’t do a lot about injustices from whenever. But I do think there is a relationship between knowing the truth about the past, and justice in the present. Once enough Americans understand the truth about the past and what we did to the native population, they will be in favor of the next step, whatever that next step is.” ~ The Indian War

However, I firmly believe that ignorance breeds ignorance. Meaning if you get wrong information you will give wrong information. So the point of this post is to help stop the wrong information.

Simply stating "European diseases made up a huge sum of the death count." Is such a complete cop-out of what really happened and a complete utter disrespect to those murdered. Stop the denial, these people just didn't drop dead by themselves, it was murder.

So here's the low down on what really happened:
I'll spare most the details since people have already written plenty of books on that.

The Europeans (and by European I mean starting with Columbus) arrive! Now, from the first encounters, including Columbus, immediately thought the natives so inferior that they could be easily eradicated or enslaved. Upon his second visit he immediately ordered policies of slavery and mass extermination against all local tribes encountered.

"Las Casas, the primary historian of the Columbian era, writes of many accounts of the horrors that the Spanish colonists inflicted upon the indigenous population: hanging them en mass, hacking their children into pieces to be used as dog feed, and other horrid cruelties. The works of Las Casas are often omitted from popular American history books and courses because Columbus is considered a hero by many, even today."~ Native American Genocide Still Haunts United States

Now at this point your teacher likely told you that the Europeans 'settled' in America. Well ... I'll let this guy do the talking : "If you had to apply a one-word summary for what happened in North America,” Loewen says, “‘invasion’ would be that word. ‘Settlement’ is a euphemism. ‘Settling’ implies that North America had not already been settled, but it had." ~ The Indian War

While the invasion took place European soldiers infected, poisoned, and shot anyone that got in their way.

The tribes were forced to leave fertile land and pushed out of their homeland, soldiers began to destroy crops and the natural landscape.

The stronger and more difficult tribes were tricked into thinking that the 'settlers' wanted some sort of peace. These trickaries ranged from poisonings, murder, or treaties that they would later break.

As the wars raged on the British government signed an agreement in 1763 that no one was to expand west of the Appellation Mountains.  This gave the British monopoly on land they could buy from the local tribes and would prohibit colonist from staking their claim to land any where they wanted and hypothetically stop the killing.

Colonist got pissed and start fighting against the English rule. (You didn't think the American Revolution was only about taxes and poor representation in the Parliament did you?)

English lose, Colonist win, the United States government orders the annihilation of tribes and expand west.

President Andrew Jackson orders the 1830 Indian Removal Act. Many had been killed, starved, and moved away from their land. Tactics included starvation, slavery, and brutal terror. Thousands died during the 'removal' to reservations.

These removals were brutal and even American officers were appalled by the actions of the U.S. government. "Major Ethan Allen Hitchcock was subsequently among those who found the remains of the Dade party in February [1835] [during the Second Seminole War]. In his journal he accounted for the discovery, then vented his bitter discontent with the conflict: "The [U.S.] government is in the wrong, and this is the chief cause of the persevering opposition of the Indians, who have nobly defended their country against our attempt to enforce a fraudulent treaty. The natives used every means to avoid a war, but were forced into it by the tyranny of our government." ~ American Indian Wars (Wiki)

From the 1830's - 1870's series of retaliations against the U.S. were known as the Texas-Indian Wars. After Texas joined the Union, more 'settlers' expand taking over more land and with the help of federal forces were able to over take and out number local tribes.

The Gold Rush leads to many clashes between prospectors and local tribes, who were defending their home land and prevent from being forcibly removed.

During the expansion to Utah, Americans took land from local tribes with no compensation. Between having the most fertile land taken from them and the large about of white travelers depleting the food supplies, the local natives were starving. Out of survival many resorted to stealing food to survive. This lead to the California Milita causing the Bear River Massacre: "After killing most of the men and many of the children, they raped and assaulted the women. In some cases, soldiers held the feet of infants by the heel and "beat their brains out on any hard substance they could find." Women who resisted the soldiers were shot and killed. One local resident, Alexander Stalker, noted that many soldiers pulled out their pistols and shot several Shoshone at point blank range. The soldiers burned the Shoshone dwellings and supplies; they killed anyone they found in the shelters." Local resident, Has Jasperson, wrote that he counted 493 dead men, women, and children after the massacre. ~Bear River Massacre

December 26, 1862 President Lincoln orders the largest penal mass execution in U.S. history against the Dakota Sioux.

Colorado 1864 massacre at Sand Creek, a peaceful, unarmed Cheyenne village, was ordered to be killed by Colonel John Chivington.  “Kill them all, little and big, because nits make lice.” Ex-president Andrew Jackson said, “If you pursue a wolf, you have to kill the whelps too.”

Tribes in the Colorado and Kansas kept peaceful relations with settlers and had no intention of going to war. However, many settlers grew angry wanting to take their land and formed the Colorado Volunteers.  John Chivington and George L. Shoup ordered the policy of shoot on sight against any Indians leading to the Colorado War.

November 29, 1864, Colorado volunteers attacked a peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho village in Sand Creek. Under take no prisoners policy, the militia killed and mutilated about 200. An estimated two-thirds were women and children. The tribe at Sand Creek was assured by the U.S. Government prior to settling there that they would be safe and their settlement legal, however, anti-Indian sentiments by white local settlers were high. Later congressional investigations resulted in a short-lived public outcry against the slaughter of the Native Americans.

After the Mexican-American War and the purchase of land; the U.S. government sent troops to remove and defeat rebel tribes. One of the most famous of these orders were 5,000 troops sent in 1886 to capture the Apache Geronimo, his 24 warriors, as well as women and children of the run away tribe. During this time many small bands escaped to Mexico, however, under government orders soldiers forced them to return to reservations.

December 29, 1890,- Wounded Knee massacre: the United States Army, on orders, killed 146 Lakota Sioux men (most were elderly), women and children with rapid-fire Hotchkiss guns.

Many of the tribes relocated to reservations were on very poor land making it difficult for them to survive let alone prosper. This poverty was forced into them has lasted for generations.

Okay got it? I know I left out A LOT but I would just be repeating myself. The white people came, saw, destroyed, terrorized, killed, and won. The wars, murders, and massacres I listed were not isolated instances. It happened all over America to every tribe.

Now lets step back a bit to the comment about Indians killing more Indians nonsense. The Native Americans did not fight in warfare 'kill all' standard. When two tribes would go in war the winning side would kill the opposing warriors and take their land, however, the non-fighting people on the loosing side were assimilated into the tribe. They were not killed, enslaved, or forced to move. They became part of the winning tribe. This was the most common type of warfare all through out the Americas.

If you didn't know this, don't worry it's not just you and it's not your fault. It's the school system, a.k.a. the government.

I mean most Americans can't even tell you who was the 1st president of the United States! Go ahead, what did your teacher tell you ...

Think about it, chances are you were given wrong information. Doubt me?

Guess who it was ...
. . .

 . .


Times up! The correct answer is : John Hanson. I bet you were thinking George Washington, huh?

Nope, not really, but if you want to get technical on me George Washington was the first Constitutional President of the executive branch. However, during the Articles of Confederation (the founding and start of the United States) there were a total of seven presidents before George Washington (all of which George acknowledged, supported, and referred to as President).

Now, some would even disagree that John Hanson wasn't the first either since there were in fact people before him with the title 'President'. However, this was before independence was won. John Hanson was ousted as 1st president because under the Articles of Confederation of the United States he was a part of congress since the executive branch did not exist until the Constitution was finalized.

Resources (aka just so you know I'm not talking out of my a$$): *

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