America - Conquest of the Native Americans

 
 
 

Until modern times, conquering someone else’s land was what people did around the world - including Native Americans. Most countries in the world today occupy territory that originally belonged to someone else. Only in the 20th century, with boundaries well established, did wars of conquest become unacceptable. America’s pioneers are being singled out for condemnation for their conquest of the U.S. while other countries who conquered other parts of the New World are mostly ignored and sometimes justified. 

Native Americans were not superior human beings. Indian men had three duties: hunt for food, make babies, and go to war with a competing tribe. In some tribes a young Indian male was only considered a man once he had made his first kill.(1) When it came to torture, Indians did not have a conscience. Nearly all tribes tortured their captives to some degree - the common form of execution was being burned at the stake.(2)  But some tribes developed grisely torture methods. The Senecas of the Iroquois League of New York, the Plains tribes, the Natchez of Mississippi, Apache and Comanche and others were unbelievably brutal. Rape was common for women as was disfigurement.

All settlers heard about prisoners of Indians being scalped, tortured with fire, dismembered, disemboweled, blinded, flayed alive, mutilated, bound with wet rawhide (which would tightened as it dried), and countless other torture methods. Torture sessions could last days - and it didn’t matter if prisoners were a woman or a child. Indians didn't torture for information or financial benefit. The torture was pure sadism. On occasion, tribes would adopt some of the prisoners into the tribe. Usually this wasn’t the case. The American view of the Indians as savages and the desire by many to eliminate the Indians were due to their extreme torture of prisoners. If Indians would have just quickly killed their prisoners, there would not have been such bad blood between the Indian and settler.   

Native American tribes engaged in constant warfare with other tribes for centuries before the white man arrived. Native American tribes killed each other and ran other tribes off their land. Some Indian tribes were decimated by other tribes. Between 1647 and 1649, the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy (Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca) esssentially exterminated the Huron Indians.(3)

White settlers and the military fought the Indians for land for about 250 years - and the Native Americans lost. The white man won this land using the same rules of conquest used by the Native Americans. The real issue today is some Native Americans are holding a grudge over wars that ended 150 years ago.

Some Native Americans claim that the ‘white man’ is living on stolen land. Yet Native Americans stole land from other tribes for centuries.  Were these victorious tribes living on STOLEN land?? Did these victorious tribes feel guilty living on the land they conquered from another tribe? 

What happened in the past can not be undone. If what happened in the past needs to be “fixed”, we need to go all around the world and kick lots of people out of lots of countries who didn’t live there 400 years ago. Oh, and who would enforce this forced relocation? 

Conquest is never pretty no matter who does it. For instance, there has been a human presence in the Black Hills of South Dakota since prehistoric times. Around 1500 AD, the Arikara tribe - who loved to scalp their enemies for war trophies -  moved in. The Cheyenne, Kiowa, Crow, and other tribes all arrived later to fight for their own share of the mountain range. Finally, the Lakota — the alleged “original occupants” — came in around 1780 and drove out the Cheyenne. 

So the U.S. did not take the Black Hills from its original occupants. The original occupants had long since been conquered by another Native American tribe, who received the same treatment from the next tribe,  and so on. The truth is the U.S. took the Black Hills from the most recent conquerer of the land. 

Some people believe the Indians had the right to kill anyone who settled in North America. Using this logic, we would have the right to kill all illegal aliens who enter the U.S. Using this same logic, Native American  tribes who took land from other tribes would be under the same death sentence. The Spanish conquistadors would be under this same death sentence. The Spanish conquistadors were responsible for the deaths of literally MILLIONS more Indians in the New World then the other Europeans who conquered what became the U.S.

 
 

The first permanent English settlement in the New World was at Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. The company financing the settlement told the settlers “Do not offend the naturals” so they didn’t build fortifications, living in tents until houses could be built. However, within two weeks of landing, settlers were attacked by Indians who killed one settler and wounded 11 more. Following the attack, fortifications where hurriedly built around the settlement.

Following the wedding of Pocahontas to John Rolfe, there was a period of uneasy peace in eastern Virginia. However in March 1622, an Indian chief named Nemattanew lured an Englishman away from Jamestown and was never seen again. When Nemattanew appeared again at Jamestown, he was confronted about the missing man and then killed. The Indians used this as an excuse to launch an attack on Jamestown and surrounding settlements. On March 22, 1622, a large number of Indians showed up with food to sell the settlers. Without warning, the Indians attacked the settlers and massacred 347 people, including women and children, a quarter of the population. The massacre at Jamestown set an ominous tone for future relations between Indians and settlers.

 
 
 

The land in what became the U.S. was sparsely populated, so there was plenty of unused land. It is estimated that the Indian population was 5 million for the continental US, 2 million for Canada and 65 million Indians for Central and South America and the Caribbean Islands. 

White settlers went out of their way to avoid confrontations with the Indians, establishing homesteads and towns a distance from Indian encampments. Even so, Indians often attacked settlers because they were in their area. Indians killed women and children as quickly as the men. When it came to the most inhumane torture, the indians did NOT have a conscience. Pioneers DID have a moral right to defend themselves and their homes.

INDIAN TORTURE: The Comanche Indians arrived at San Antonio TX on 19 March 1840 for peace negotiations. As a ‘peace gesture’ they returned a 16-year-old girl held captive for 18 months. Her once beautiful face was disfigured beyond recognition. ‘Her head, arms and face were full of bruises and sores,’ wrote one witness, Mary Maverick. ‘And her nose was actually burnt off to the bone. Both nostrils were wide open and denuded of flesh.’ The Indians were oblivious to the effect the girl’s appalling condition would have on the Texans.

Once handed over, Matilda Lockhart broke down as she described the horrors she had endured — the rape, the relentless sexual humiliation and the way Comanche women had tortured her with fire. It wasn’t just her nose, her thin body was hideously scarred all over with burns.

When she mentioned there were 15 other white captives at the Indians’ camp, all of them being subjected to a similar fate, the Texan officials said they were holding the Comanche men as hostages until the white prisoners were returned. The comanches - including women and boys, tried to fight their way out. Texan soldiers opened fire, killing 35 Comanche, injuring many more and taking 29 prisoner. Seven Texans were killed.

The next day a commanche woman was freed - instructed to tell the Indians they had 12 days to return the white captives or all the hostages would be killed. The Commanches ignored the ultimatum and tortured every one of the captives to death. ‘One by one, the children and young women were pegged out naked beside the camp fire. They were skinned, sliced, and horribly mutilated, and finally burned alive by vengeful women determined to wring the last shriek and convulsion from their agonized bodies. Matilda Lockhart’s six-year-old sister was among these unfortunates who died screaming.(4)

The torture killings of the white children destroyed the small amount of trust that had existed between the Comanche and whites. Decades of bloody fighting and horrific killings followed until 1874 when the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon marked the end of the Comanche Indians’ domination of the Southern Plains.

The U.S. does not have a good record with treaties signed with the Indians but there are factors involved very few recognize. The biggest reason for broken treaties with the Indians was because the U.S. was such a wonderful country that MILLIONS of immigrants came to the United States and they needed somewhere to go. NOTHING was going to stop them from establishing their new life in the New World. Failure was not an option. The Indians were pushed out of the way. If a treaty was violated there should be monetary compensation. 

Spain/Mexico never had to deal with millions of immigrants because they were so dysfunctional. If millions of immigrants HAD gone to Mexico, they would have done what the earlier Spaniards did - taken whatever land they wanted from the Indians. If the U.S. would have had minimal immigration like Mexico, treaties with the Indians would not have been violated.

 
 
 

Some people want to place everlasting guilt on the Spanish and other Europeans for the diseases they brought to the New World - as if they had a choice. Smallpox, Malaria, the flu and bubonic plague all originated in either Africa or Asia. The Europeans were victims of these diseases in the past just like the Indians. If Asians or Africans had been the first people to explore the New World, they would have brought the same diseases with them. 

Syphilis, dysentery, viral influenza, pneumonia and others diseases were already present among Native Americans. Syphilis was brought back to Europe by the Spanish. Syphilis was first reported in Europe in 1495 and raged in Europe and Colonial America until the advent of antibiotics.

Some people claim ‘white Americans’ or ‘Anglos’ were illegal aliens 400 years ago and WE should be  deported. This is a flawed argument and will not happen anyway:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

a) There is no rule on how long someone has to live in a place before they become a ‘native.’ Many whites have been here for over 150 years and many over 250 years. That’s long enough to be a native. 

b) Most immigrants arrived in America after the Indian Wars ended and had nothing to do with it.

c) All of white America’s inventions would go. The Indians would have to live the way they did before the white man arrived - in teepees and only bow and arrows to hunt for food. No horses (they were imported from Europe), no firearms to hunt with, no screens to keep bugs out of your teepee, no air conditioning, cars or hospitals.

d) What about Americans who are part Indian? Can they stay? 

e) If all whites must leave America, then ALL non-Indians - Spanish, Asians and blacks must also leave. If all non-Indians left America the country would be depopulated, the world economy would collapse and lots of people in Africa would starve to death. The US military would disappear, Russia would rule the world and occupy what used to be the U.S. and take all the land from the Indians. 

 
Source:
1. http://www.native-net.org/na/native-american-warrior.html
2. https://smokymountainnews.com/archives/item/6413-different-tribes-treated-captives-differently       https://truewestmagazine.com/indian-tribes-torture/  
    https://www.ammoland.com/2013/09/tortured-by-indians-scout-robert-pilson/#axzz7DOVztcMU         https://bloodontheohiotalesoffrontierterror.blogspot.com/2016/12/iroquois-torture-and-decapitation-of.html
3. Empire of the summer moon by S. C. Gwynne. P 84-88
4. https://worldhistory.us/canadian-history/the-destruction-of-huronia-1648-1649.php

June 2021