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A research on Native American- crimes against humanity
That which each of US defines as success significantly differs, success has been achieved in numerous ways by different people world-wide, nonetheless this success may have been at a detriment to others or the world as a whole when the demand for capitalist societies has come first. Almost certainly overlooking the various ways in which other cultures and ideologies could greatly help the world as a whole. It is thought that success for the white people was very different from what the Indians considered to be successful.
Success defined by the Native American Indians is very dissimilar from that of the whites, it is to do with their own set of ideologies how they view the world and is widely believed that the Indians had a peaceful approach to the land on which they lived.
As pointed out by Joy Porter in the book Land and sprit in Native America 2012 their ideology suggests it is to do with their approaches to spirituality, tradition, land, wilderness, nature, landscape, and place 1 . Porter also points out “weather and how these foundational ideas relate to varieties of Indian thinking. It explores weather we can isolate ways in which Indian approaches differ from non- Indian ones.” 2. It could be though that this is where the Indians failed, failed- meaning they were not able to successful hold their ground ad mists the force and determination of the whites who were running with their own forms of ideologies weather or not they thought to question the foundations of these so called truths and the righteous path as it states many times over within the Bible.
The western societies that took over the Indian lands had believes founded in God which breed theocentricism and it is that belief that God is central which lead the people to follow the direction of their government advised religion as said by Porter in Land and spirit in Native America “Indian approaches to land or place tend to see it as space invested with meaning through lived experience and as something defined by its construct rather than its boarders. In comparison, European and later Euro-American approaches to land have tended to view it through the lens of Christianity. Thus creating the label of the Indians as savages and “providing those who sought to exploit nature with a moral, social and spiritual frame work for doing so.” 3.
The whites were trading in goods, gold and gems and therefore sought out to find and claim these for their own because of the system set in place by governing bodies. For myself and many other people, groups and organisations across the world the demand for an equal, peaceful, no barriers or ownership over anything world is the ultimate goal to be attained for a successful peaceful world. Furthermore the termination of the Indians and their culture by the whites and their Marxist views, uneven combat, force, ideologies and nonacknowledgement of ownership of land by the European and American governments are believed by some to be some of the cause of the demise of the Indians other factors come to play also such as the disease epidemic which was thought to be the bigger killer of the Indians than that of war as Armstrong Starkey writes in European and native American warfare 1675-1815 5.
During the seventeenth and eighteenth century “Europeans fought Europeans for the control of an American “empire”. Britons, Spaniards, Canadians and Americans became involved in conflicts [ ] “ Armstrong Starkey sates that the “ Indians fought on all sides of these conflicts for reasons of their own” 6. He points out that when the “Europeans confronted the Indian it was usually in the context of frontier warfare” he goes on to say that the Indians were accomplished in this kind of war so the European officers found it to be to their advantage if they were to have the Indians as allies. As the western world has expanded education though science are telling of how environmental issues such as climate change, sustainability together with human development, awareness, spirituality and the general care giving to the earth, humans and all wildlife upon it, Something which the Indians are believed to have known for many years and tried to live by. We as westerners have taken the world’s resources, this pillage of the environment and now it is believed to be a great cause for many problems occurring in the world, not discounting the fact that many great things may have come from the path that has been travelled but there seems to be a general consensus that change needs to happen, politically, spiritually and economically and that the culture of indigenous people is in fact of great worth and something to have been protected. The Europeans and Americans however had a different view backed by Religion and again as Starkey writes “Most successful in understanding the Indians diplomatically and military were those who made an effort to understand them. But Europeans often avoided such an effort when they relegated the Indians to the status of “savages”, a people without government, laws, social mores and cultural values.” 6. Thus only serving the Europeans ideologies and expecting the Indians to live by their standards it is not surprising that they were then forced to be like the whites. Starkey points out that “European conquest could thus be justified as a triumph of civilisation over barbarism” 7.
Many problems have arisen for the Indians because of the systems set in place to turn them into westernized peoples. The Indian school systems were forced upon them and their culture lost, the obliteration of their native language, oppression, sexual violence and colonization have had a pronounced impact upon them as people, it is thought that many descendants of the Indians today have problems with alcoholism stemming from the loss of their culture that now the American system has to deal with this problem. The European and American governments using subjugation, extermination, reservations to gain what they wanted has led to setting an example that has been followed by many people in power throughout history.
It was all too possible that the whites believed they were doing right and in their masses took to spreading this this as their gospel like Christopher Columbus was said to have done in Columbus: His enterprise, Hans koning writes about Columbus’s first voyage “when he discussed his westward voyage, he always dwelt on its religious aspects: to convert the Asian “heathens” to Catholicism, and/ or use their gold for the recon quest of the Holy Land from the Moslems. In the end, the “heathens” he did find were not converted (they were killed or enslaved), and wherever the loot may have gone, it certainly was not used to take Jerusalem from the unbelievers. This does not mean that that Columbus was trying to fool his backers. He must himself have believed that his Enterprise was Christian, if only to ensure God’s help; [ ]4.
If Columbus did not himself realise the effect of religion on people, he would not have understood the repercussions. A religion which used the words of the bible to control, to build empires, to have people on their side to fight and do their bidding then he would not have realised the damage he was doing to the Indians. The officers and generals of the army’s totally believing in the word of Christ were in a passion of power over their armies and the people around them one such example is from General Philp Sheridon - US Army “The only good Indian is a dead Indian”. With such thoughts and followers be it from fear or not, he just like anyone with people to back him had the potential to take who and whatever they liked.
A great problem for the Indians was the issue of land ownership and as the Americans believed them to have no laws or systems set in place which matched their own and their concerns were for expansion. As Philp Jenkins writes “ A major problem was the different concepts of legality held by the respective sides: while whites believed they had bought a given area quite fairly, Indians often argued that the sellers had no such right to trade in tribal property, and given even that land as such could not be sold.” 8. Jenkins goes on to say that “after 1814 the Indians were left without foreign allies” and that the only remaining choice was to seek to become American, to evolve a new civilization that whites might respect and treat in terms of reasonable quality” 9. This is what happened in the south by people who became known as the ‘five civilised tribes’ They had turned to the way of the whites and some even ended up owning salves of their own “ the ultimate sign of civilization” 10. ,Margret F. Pickett and Dwayne w. Picket wrote “all the colonies had basically the same goals- to establish a permanent settlement, to look for gold and silver, to search the Northwest Passage and to bring their brand of Christianity to the Indians. In most of the failed colonies there seems to have been an overemphasis on the search for riches and more enthusiasm displayed for the discovery of gold, silver and precious gems than for colonizing”
With the tribe’s separated and being played against each other it is not any wonder that they may be an easier target than if they were together as one. Even after they had become like the whites who played into the hands of the so called enemy of which they sought to appease but of which probably only served to show the whites how they could in the end manipulate them. The Americans wanted expansion to build towns and agriculture using treaties to displace the Indians from tribal lands but then breaking the treaties the Indians were pressed to move whenever the Americans wanted. Such actions were believed to be illegal but were ignored. “Between 1820 and 1845 the number of Indians probably fell from around 120 000 to under 30 000” 11. This number was believed to be the number following the Trail of Tears and the war of the south east as the Seminole Indians choose to resist.
It is thought by some that what happened to the Indians was Genocide.
Kanien: Kaha’ka writes about genocide:
“Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group.
While precise definition varies among genocide scholars, a legal definition is found in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG). Article 2, of this convention defines genocide as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; [the massacres of native people has been well documented. Deliberate exposure to infectious diseases, the actions of the US army, the continued assault on native people in the form of toxic waste dumps on or near tribal lands, nuclear testing on tribal lands etc.] deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
[reservations are deliberately put on waste lands where farming is impossible, lands that were capable of farming were poisoned over time with toxic waste from mining and oil refineries, water supplies such as rivers were diverted in some cases to non-native farming communities, leaving the natives dry and unable to provide food for themselves.]
imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
[forced sterilization of native women continued right up into the 1980s.]
[and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."
[for over 100 years, ending in the 1990s in some places, native children were removed from their families and forced to attend non-native boarding schools where many were killed and others sexually abused and tortured, in 1978, the Indian Child Welfare Act was pushed through to stop the systematic removal of native children from their families and adoption to non-native parents.]” 12.
Some would argue that there was no genocide because the Indians were not wiped out and that most of them died from diseases brought over. How they were treated is a different story altogether. Prevaricate means were used in order to manipulate playing the Indians against each other.
In the end did the Indians fail, or many centuries later is it seen that the whites had failed the Indians, failed to live by their own ideologies within religion and government policies. Dr. Mary Hamer, M.D writes that all the following were to blame for what happened to the Indians and I believe as such that these are why the Indians could not be successfully against the whites either that or be exterminated. “Christopher Columbus, the American & European governments, the European settlers & descendants, Christian churches, multiple u.s. Presidents, the u.s. Supreme Court of 1832, u.s. Generals, u.s. Governors, Captains, several Catholic Popes, The American Boarding School system for Native children, and other perpetrators & complicii bystanders for the genocide, the forced removal from ancient lands, the child kidnapping, & other forms of cruelty & hate committed against the Native American Indians for the last 500+ years.” 13.
She goes on to say a great point and masterfully put together the history of what happened to the Indians. “Christopher Columbus & President George Washington: I hold two people mainly responsible for the injustices inflicted upon the Native Americans: Christopher Columbus & President George Washington, the first European conqueror & the first u.s. President. Columbus & President Washington were the first role models to set the standards for moral codes of conduct towards the Native Peoples. Note: Regarding the butterfly theory:
The long-term outcome of a dynamic system is dependent upon initial conditions.” This is backed up by Toland and many other historical events...
“HITLER: Toland in his book Adolph Hitler states: “Hitler’s concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much ...to ... United States history. He admired the camps for... Indians in the Wild West; and often praised ... the efficiency of America’s extermination - by starvation and uneven combat - of the red savages”” 14.
. Dr. Mary Hamer, M.D write a beautiful apology to the Indians in which she states what I believe to be all the necessary facts to understand how and why the Indians failed to defend themselves when involving crimes against humanity.
Brown, Dee. Bury my heart at wounded knee, an Indian history of the American west. Vintage. (1991)
Donovan, James. A terrible glory, Custer and the little big horn, the last great battle of the American west. Black bay books.(2008)
Porter, Joy. Land and spirit in Native America. Praeger An imprint of ABC-CLIO,LLC. (2012)
1. Chapter 1 page 1
2. Chapter 1 page 1
3. Chapter 6 page 91
Jenkins, Philip. A history of the United States 2nd addition. Paigrave. (2003)
4. Page 77
5. Page 78
6. Page 78
7. Page 79
Koning, Hans. Columbus: his enterprise. Latin America Bureau. (1991)
8. page 35
Starkey, Armstrong. European and Native American warfare, 1675-1815. UCL press .
9. page 7
11. page 6
15. Pickett, Margret F, Dwayne. The European struggle to settle North America
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https ://ebridae. hull. ac.uk/access/content/user/474056/American%20lndian%20Activist%20Russell %20Means%20Powerful%20SDeech%2C%201989
- Quote paper
- Samantha Bradley (Author), 2017, Crimes against Humanity. A Research on Native American Cultures, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/419068