In the past, the main thrust of the Holocaust/Genocide Project's magazine, An End To Intolerance, has been the genocides that occurred in history and outside of the United States. Still, what we mustn't forget is that mass killing of Native Americans occurred in our own country. As a result, bigotry and racial discrimination still exist.

"In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue" . . . and made the first contact with the "Indians." For Native Americans, the world after 1492 would never be the same. This date marked the beginning of the long road of persecution and genocide of Native Americans, our indigenous people. Genocide was an important cause of the decline for many tribes.

"By conservative estimates, the population of the United states prior to European contact was greater than 12 million. Four centuries later, the count was reduced by 95% to 237 thousand.

In 1493, when Columbus returned to the Hispaniola, he quickly implemented policies of slavery and mass extermination of the Taino population of the Caribbean. Within three years, five million were dead. 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.

Mass killing did not cease, however, after Columbus departed. Expansion of the European colonies led to similar genocides. "Indian Removal" policy was put into action to clear the land for white settlers. Methods for the removal included slaughter of villages by the military and also biological warfare. High death rates resulted from forced marches to relocate the Indians.

The Removal Act of 1830 set into motion a series of events which led to the "Trail of Tears" in 1838, a forced march of the Cherokees, resulting in the destruction of most of the Cherokee population." The concentration of American Indians in small geographic areas, and the scattering of them from their homelands, caused increased death, primarily because of associated military actions, disease, starvation, extremely harsh conditions during the moves, and the resulting destruction of ways of life.

During American expansion into the western frontier, one primary effort to destroy the Indian way of life was the attempts of the U.S. government to make farmers and cattle ranchers of the Indians. In addition, one of the most substantial methods was the premeditated destructions of flora and fauna which the American Indians used for food and a variety of other purposes. We now also know that the Indians were intentionally exposed to smallpox by Europeans. The discovery of gold in California, early in 1848, prompted American migration and expansion into the west. The greed of Americans for money and land was rejuvenated with the Homestead Act of 1862. In California and Texas there was blatant genocide of Indians by non-Indians during certain historic periods. In California, the decrease from about a quarter of a million to less than 20,000 is primarily due to the cruelties and wholesale massacres perpetrated by the miners and early settlers. Indian education began with forts erected by Jesuits, in which indigenous youths were incarcerated, indoctrinated with non-indigenous Christian values, and forced into manual labor. These children were forcibly removed from their parents by soldiers and many times never saw their families until later in their adulthood. This was after their value systems and knowledge had been supplanted with colonial thinking. One of the foundations of the U.S. imperialist strategy was to replace traditional leadership of the various indigenous nations with indoctrinated "graduates" of white "schools," in order to expedite compliance with U.S. goals and expansion.

Probably one of the most ruinous acts to the Indians was the disappearance of the buffalo. For the Indians who lived on the Plains, life depended on the buffalo. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, there were an estimated forty million buffalo, but between 1830 and 1888 there was a rapid, systematic extermination culminating in the sudden slaughter of the only two remaining Plain herds. By around 1895, the formerly vast buffalo populations were practically extinct. The slaughter occurred because of the economic value of buffalo hides to Americans and because the animals were in the way of the rapidly westward expanding population. The end result was widescale starvation and the social and cultural disintegration of many Plains tribes.

Genocide entered international law for the first time in 1948; the international community took notice when Europeans (Jews, Poles, and other victims of Nazi Germany) faced cultural extinction. The "Holocaust" of World War II came to be the model of genocide. We, as the human race, must realize, however, that other genocides have occurred. Genocide against many particular groups is still widely happening today. The discrimination of the Native American population is only one example of this ruthless destruction.

Credits: Sharon Johnston, The Genocide of Native Americans: A Sociological View, 1996.
By Leah Trabich Cold Spring Harbor High School New York, USA-Source

Responses to "Native American Genocide Still Haunts United States"

  1. The legal definition of genocide 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; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group." – Missing in this definition are "political groups" and "destruction of a social group through the forcible removal of a population". The USSR saw to it that "political groups" were not included, and the USA saw to it that "forcible removal" was also dropped…

  2. Anonymous says:

    The formation of the modern nations has been for only one purpose.
    The Global tribal communities true identity has been sealed under the modern nations.
    This is a mystery! As is the same mystery that there has been the formation of 12 original nations.Each nation used the Colonial process to subject the people and the land to their economic systems. Each nation was formed exactly 12,000 days apart.
    This mystery on a lineal expression looks like this:
    Day-Date-Document-Modern Nation
    1- 6 Oct 1579 OS- Union of Utrecht- Netherlands
    12,001 – 13 Aug 1612- OS- Letter/Zemski Sobar/House of Romanov- Russia
    24,001 -21 Jun 1645 OS - Treaty of Bromsebro- Sweden
    36,001 - 29 Apr 1678 OS- Treaty of Nijmegen - Spain
    48,001 - 7 Mar 1710 OS -Treaty of Szatmár-Austria/Hungary
    60,001 - 13 Jan 1743 OS- Treaty of Breslau/Treaty of Berlin- Germany
    72,001- 1 Dec 1776 NS- US Declaration of Independence - United States
    84,001-- 10 Oct 1809 NS - Treaty of Schönbrunn- France
    96,001-18 Aug 1842 NS - Law Change/Civil War - Switzerland
    108,001- 26 Jun 1875 NS- Decree/Revolt/Treaty of Berlin in 1878- Serbia
    120,001- 4 May 1908 NS - Agreement/Turks leave Crete, Greeks remain- Greece
    132,001-12 Mar 1941 NS - Lend Lease Treaty funds WWII -US/UK
    144,001- 18 Jan 1974- Disengagement of Forces Agreement- Israel
    A person may find this worth checking into especially if one desires to know who they really are and who was all along responsible for the formation of the nations.....
    Some elders still know....

  3. The short term view of the future has been so damaging and foolish. I am not sure about my ancestry. It is probably Scotts / Irish, If I can identify with it, I would look to the Ancient Celtic people of Europe. Consumer / producer mentality took my ancestors in the wrong spiritual direction! I love places where sky meets water and rocks and where fish can still live. I seek these places and am refreshed by the ones I can find and enjoy! But when I am in the city, burdened, overworked and anxious I succumb to pressure. I study the rivers man has tried to tame and exploit, and I realize one’s soul is like a river, not designed to be channeled, in artificial ways, to maximize a swifter passage through a life time. Eventually such an artificial channel of a man’s design will produce pressure on the body and soul that carries the current of destructive force, until a flood of the wrong source produces too much stress and man’s levee breaks. When the natural river that meanders through the seasons, floods there is adaptation and not a great surprise by the flood. But, when the channeled river breaks down an artificial levee there is disaster and suffering. Float the current of God’s grace through these seasons of your life and enjoy the trip He will guide you on!
    Anchor you soul in the river of your time on earth. Study the natural rhythm of seasons and enjoy your perception with friends. Ask what you can bring to the river and what you take away. For me I often feel like the young boy who brought two fish and five loaves to the masses. Little became much when he gave it to God. God will multiply your blessings and I believe in time return his native children in some way to the earth!

  4. Anonymous says:

    As a descendant of the Taino people i want to say that you are right about Columbus. He was and still one of the biggest war criminal in the history among with Juan Ponce de Leon who made the first political killing in the history of America when he killed Agueybana I. But taino do not go extinct as some books said. We still live

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sooo... what about the so-called black or African-American people? They are indigenous to this land mass. why don't we hear anything pertaining to the genocide committed upon them?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Here is another genocide that is not widely known that Spain had done in a chain of Pacific Islands. Columbus arrived in the Americas in 1492. In 1521 Ferdinan Magellan under Spain arrived on GUAM starving, some have died and very sickly. The Natives of Guam fed and nourished them back to health. A native was seen taking a piece of metal from the ship and when back to the village. Magellan heard about this and ordered his crew to the village and burnt it down they also shot and killed numerous natives in the processed. Magellan left the Island of Guam and in his log rename the Island of Guam to Isla de Larones ( Island of Thefts ). Before 1521 est. population of Guam to inclued the chains of Islands to the north is about 500,000 by 1898 when Spain turn the Island of Guam to the United States their were only less than 4,000 of true natives most were half breed due to force marriage by the Spanards.Guam and the chains of Islands to the north is now know as the Marianas Islands the Native are known as CHAMORUS/CHAMORROS

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