native american genocide

Did Europeans “civilize” the Americas? Actually, anthropologists tell us that “hunters and gatherers were relatively peaceful, compared to agriculturalists, and that modern societies were more warlike still. Thus violence increases with civilization.

[…] Textbooks cannot resist contrasting "primitive” Americans with modern Europeans.

[…] Europeans persuaded Natives to specialize in the fur and slave trades. Native Americans were better hunters and trappers than Europeans, and with the guns the Europeans sold them, they became better still. Other Native skills began to atrophy.

[…] because whites “demanded institutions reflective of their own with which to relate,” many Native groups strengthened their tribal governments… New confederations and nations developed.. The tribes also became more male- dominated, in imitation of Europeans.. [there was] an escalation of Indian warfare… [the slave trade helped] to deagriculturize Native Americans. To avoid being targets for capture, Indians abandoned their cornfields and their villages.

[…] "Europeans did not “civilize” or “settle” roaming Indians, but had the opposite impact.

[…] According to Benjamin Franklin, “All their government is by Counsel of the Sages. There is no Force; there are no Prisons, no officers to compel Obedience, or inflict Punishment.” Probably foremost, the lack of hierarchy in the Native socieites in the eastern United States attracted the admiration of European observers. Frontiersmen were taken with the extent to which Native Americans enjoyed freedom as individuals. Women were also accorded more status and power.. than in white societies of the time.

[…] "Indeed, Native American ideas may be partly responsible for our democratic institutions. We have seen how Native ideas of liberty, fraternity, and equality found their way to Europe to influence social philosophers such as Thomas More, Locke, Montaigne, Montesquieu, and Rousseau… Through 150 years of colonial contact, the Iroquois League stood before the colonies as an object lesson in how to govern a large domain democratically.

[…] John Mohawk has argued that American Indians are directly or indirectly responsible for the public-meeting tradition, free speech, democracy, and “all those things which got attached to the Bill of Rights.” Without the Native example, “do you really believe that all those ideas would have found birth among a people who had spent a millennium butchering other people because of intolerance of questions of religion?”

[…] Indian warfare absorbed 80 percent of the entire federal budget during George Washington’s administration and dogged his successors for a century as a major issue and expense… [in many cases] the settlers were Native American, the scalpers white.

[…] All the textbooks tell how Jefferson “doubled the size of the United States by buying Louisiana from France.” Not one points out that it was not France’s land to sell–it was Indian land… Indeed, France did not really sell Louisiana for $15,000,000. France merely sold its claim to the territory… Equally Eurocentric are the maps textbooks use to show the Lewis and Clark expedition. They make Native American invisible, implying that the United States bought vacant land from the French… [Textbooks imply that the Indians were naive about land ownership, but] the problem lay in whites’ not abiding by accepted concepts of land ownership.

[…] The most important cause of the War of 1812.. was land– Indian land… The United States fought five of the seven major land battles of the War of 1812 primarily against Native Americans… [a] result of the War of 1812 was the loss of part of our history. A century of learning [from Native Americans] was coming to a close… until 1815 the word Americans had generally been used to refer to Native Americans; after 1815 it meant European Americans… Carleton Beals has written that “our acquiescence in Indian dispossession has molded the American character.” … destroyed our national idealism. From 1815 on, instead of spreading democracy, we exported the ideology of white supremacy. Gradually we sought American hegemony over Mexico, the Philippines, much of the Caribbean basin, and, indirectly, over other nations… We also have to admit that Adolf Hitler displayed more knowledge of how we treated Native Americans than American high schoolers who rely on their textbooks. Hitler admired our concentration camps for Indians in the west “and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America’s extermination–by starvation and uneven combat” as the model for his extermination of Jews and Gypsies.

[…] Yet we “still stereotype Native Americans as roaming primitive hunting folk, unfortunate victims of progress.


Excerpts from  Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong 

by James W. Loewen

#DearNonNatives: Don’t call yourself a feminist if you’re going to ignore the missing and murdered Indigenous women in this country, or the 1 in 3 Native women who were sexually assaulted, or the white washed and hypersexualized images of Native women in the media.
I saw the American flag waving and heard Black Kettle tell the Indians to stand around the flag, and there they were huddled–men, women, and children. This was when we were within fifty yards of the Indians. I also saw a white flag raised. These flags were in so conspicuous a position that they must have been seen. When the troops fired, the Indians ran, some of the men into their lodges, probably to get their arms… I think there were six hundred Indians in all. I think there were thirty-five braves and some old men, about sixty in all…the rest of the men were away from camp, hunting… After the firing the warriors put the squaws and children together, and surrounded them to protect them. I saw five squaws under a bank for shelter. When they troops came up to them they ran out and showed their persons to let the soldiers know they were squaws and begged for mercy, but the soldiers shot them all. I saw one squaw lying on the bank whose leg had been broken by a shell; a soldier came up to her with a drawn saber; she raised her arm to protect herself, when he struck, breaking her arm; she rolled over and raised her other arm, when he struck, breaking it, and then left her without killing her. There seemed to be indiscriminate slaughter of men, women, and children. There were some thirty or forty squaws collected in a hole for protection; they sent out a little girl about six years old with a white flag on a stick; she had not proceeded but a few steps when she was shot and killed.
—  Robert Bent, “who was riding unwillingly with Colonel [John] Chivington” when, on November 29, 1864, his Colorado Territory militia attacked a peaceful settlement of Arapaho and Cheyenne, killing up to 163 of them.
Happy Columbus Day!

A day to remember the arrival of mass epidemics and genocide in the Americas:

From the 1490s when Christopher Columbus set foot on the Americas to the 1890 massacre of Sioux at Wounded Knee by the United States military, the indigenous population of the Western Hemisphere has declined, the direct cause mostly from disease, to 1.8 million from around 50 million. In Brazil alone the indigenous population has declined from a pre-Columbian high of an estimated 3 million to some 300,000 (1997). Estimates of how many people were living in the Americas when Columbus arrived have varied tremendously; 20th century scholarly estimates ranged from a low of 8.4 million to a high of 112.5 million. This population debate has often had ideological underpinnings. Robert Royal writes that “estimates of pre-Columbian population figures have become heavily politicized with scholars who are particularly critical of Europe and/or Western civilization often favoring wildly higher figures.”

Epidemic disease was the overwhelming direct cause of the population decline of the American natives. After first contacts with Europeans and Africans, some believe that the death of 90 to 95 percent of the native population of the New World was caused by Old World diseases such as smallpox and measles. Some estimates indicate case fatality rates of 80–90% in Native American populations during smallpox epidemics.

Hey, why stop there?

While we’re at it, what’s JK Rowling’s magical explanation behind Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women? Are they getting kidnapped by Death Eaters?

Oh wait! Were there Residential Schools for Witchcraft and Wizardry too?

Did Voldemort order the sterilization of Native Muggles to prevent Native Mudbloods?

Are the Malfoys behind the Oka Crisis all along? Did Lucius stab Waneek Horn Miller while she was carrying a four year old?

Do you realize how fucking gross and offensive this is now?

“The suppression of Indigenous languages is part of a colonial enterprise designed to completely subjugate everything Indigenous while establishing the dominance of the colonizing class. As bell hooks points out, ‘When I realize how long it has taken for white Americans to acknowledge diverse languages of Native Americans, to accept that the speech their ancestral colonizers declared was merely grunts or gibberish was indeed language, it is difficult not to hear in standard English always the sound of slaughter and conquest.’ It was with extreme violence that our languages were silenced. The brutality of the federal government and church-run boarding schools is still being realized as Indigenous Peoples continue to suffer the long-term consequences of those experiences and begin to place them in their proper context. The boarding schools themselves meet the criteria of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which states that 'forcibly transferring children of the group to another group’ constitutes a form of genocide. The United States leadership has yet to take ownership of and responsibility for this government-mandated genocidal policy, and thus part of the colonization process has been to minimize the severity of boarding-schoolviolence on the most vulnerable and impressionable segments of Indigenous populations — the children. These assaults perpetrated against the children were profoundly damaging to whole generations of Indigenous Peoples and threatened the very foundations of our cultural and spiritual life. The forbidding of speaking Indigenous languages in itself constitutes ethnocide, yet these issues remain swept under the vast rug of American history. Out stories of pain surrounding this issue have been silenced in American society, just as our children’s voices speaking out beautiful languages were silenced in schools across North America.”

Remember This! Dakota Decolonization and the Eli Taylor Narratives, Waziyatawin Angela Wilson


The most common response I get to my DearNonNatives Pocahontas post is something along the lines of: “SO WHAT ARE YOU SAYING? THAT THEY SHOULD’VE STUCK TO THE ACTUAL STORY OF POCAHONTAS AND MADE A CHILDREN’S MOVIE THAT INVOLVED ACTUAL GENOCIDE IN IT?”

To which I say…well ya know, that didn’t stop the people at Dreamworks when they made The Prince of Egypt. And the portrayal of that oppression and genocide in this animated musical was way more respectful than Disney’s approach to Pocahontas.

I’m just saying.

[T]he settler colonial designation of the United States and Canada as terra nullius—as legally empty lands—denies the very corporeality of Indigenous populations to inhabit land, much less have any rights to it. Along- side genocidal elimination, the erasure of Indigenous corporeal existence is inseparable from the ground it doesn’t stand on, or is removed from.
—  Iyoko Day, “Being or Nothingness: Indigeneity, Antiblackness, and Settler Colonial Critique”