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The English/American Genocide|
Unfortunately, Columbus and the Spaniards were not unique. They conquered Mexico and what is now the Southwestern U.S., with forays into Florida, the Carolinas, even into Virginia. From Virginia northward, the land had been taken by the English who, if anything, had even less tolerance for the indigenous people.
As Hans Koning says,
“From the beginning, the Spaniards saw the native Americans as natural slaves, beasts of burden, part of the loot. When working them to death was more economical than treating them somewhat humanely, they worked them to death.
“The English, on the other hand, had no use for the native peoples. They saw them as devil worshippers, savages who were beyond salvation by the church, and exterminating them increasingly became accepted policy.” [6, pg.14]
The British arrived in Jamestown in 1607. By 1610 the intentional extermination of the native population was well along. As David E. Stannard has written,
“Hundreds of Indians were killed in skirmish after skirmish. Other hundreds were killed in successful plots of mass poisoning. They were hunted down by dogs, ‘blood-Hounds to draw after them, and Mastives [mastiffs] to seize them.’
“Their canoes and fishing weirs were smashed, their villages and agricultural fields burned to the ground. Indian peace offers were accepted by the English only until their prisoners were returned; then, having lulled the natives into false security, the colonists returned to the attack.
“It was the colonists’ expressed desire that the Indians be exterminated, rooted ‘out from being longer a people upon the face of the Earth.’ In a single raid the settlers destroyed corn sufficient to feed four thousand people for a year.
“Starvation and the massacre of non-combatants was becoming the preferred British approach to dealing with the natives.” [3, pg.106]
In Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey extermination was officially promoted by a “scalp bounty” on dead Indians.
“Indeed, in many areas it [murdering Indians] became an outright business,” writes historian Ward Churchill. [5, pg.182]
Indians were defined as subhumans, lower than animals. George Washington compared them to wolves, “beasts of prey” and called for their total destruction. [3, pgs.119-120]
Andrew Jackson — whose [innocent-looking] portrait appears on the U.S. $20 bill today — in 1814:
“supervised the mutilation of 800 or more Creek Indian corpses — the bodies of men, women and children that [his troops] had massacred — cutting off their noses to count and preserve a record of the dead, slicing long strips of flesh from their bodies to tan and turn into bridle reins.” [5, pg.186]
The English policy of extermination — another name for genocide — grew more insistent as settlers pushed westward:
In 1851 the Governor of California officially called for the extermination of the Indians in his state. [3, pg.144]
On March 24, 1863, the Rocky Mountain News in Denver ran an editorial titled, “Exterminate Them.”
On April 2, 1863, the Santa Fe New Mexican advocated “extermination of the Indians.” [5, pg.228]
In 1867, General William Tecumseh Sherman said:
“We must act with vindictive earnestness against the [Lakotas, known to whites as the Sioux] even to their extermination, men, women and children.” [5, pg.240]
In 1891, Frank L. Baum (gentle author of “The Wizard Of Oz”) wrote in the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer (Kansas) that the army should “finish the job” by the “total annihilation” of the few remaining Indians.
The U.S. did not follow through on Baum’s macabre demand, for there really was no need. By then the native population had been reduced to 2.5% of its original numbers and 97.5% of the aboriginal land base had been expropriated and renamed “The land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Hundreds upon hundreds of native tribes with unique languages, learning, customs, and cultures had simply been erased from the face of the earth, most often without even the pretense of justice or law.
Today we can see the remnant cultural arrogance of Christopher Columbus and Captain John Smith shadowed in the cult of the “global free market” which aims to eradicate indigenous cultures and traditions world-wide, to force all peoples to adopt the ways of the U.S.
Today’s globalist “Free Trade” is merely yesterday’s “Manifest Destiny” writ large.
But as Barry Lopez says,
“This violent corruption needn’t define us…. We can say, yes, this happened, and we are ashamed. We repudiate the greed. We recognize and condemn the evil. And we see how the harm has been perpetuated. But, five hundred years later, we intend to mean something else in the world.”
If we chose, we could set limits on ourselves for once. We could declare enough is enough.