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Native Americans - History

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Native Americans

Although the census of 1790 did not count the Americans Indians, estimates place the population at 500,000, thinly spread across the continent. Throughout the period, the highest concentration of Native Americans in the states of the US were those of the "Five Civilized Tribes": the Creeks, Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws and Seminoles, living in treatied lands in Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and the Carolinas. These tribes were called "civilized" because they adopted aspects of European-American culture; such as a written language; a formal constitution; Europeanized housing, furniture and clothing; the plantation system of farming and even slavery. The Revolutionary War and its aftermath severely damaged the Iroquois. By the end of the century, the Iroquois population fell to half of what it had been before the Revolution. Most casualties were due to disease, starvation, and exposure, rather than battle. After the war, the Iroquois culture was bombarded by European-American customs and values. Many of the Iroquois chose to follow the European-American lead, looking down on their own cultures and espousing the lifestyle of the former colonists.

The Legacy of Injustices Against Native Americans

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A Nation Built on Stolen Land

As we examine racism and recommit to racial justice this Lent, it is vital that we address the attempted systematic destruction of the Native peoples of North America by colonizers, both ancient and modern. The United States was built on a foundation of colonization, racism, and genocide. This is an original sin of our nation, but it is not just a sin of our past. Today, compared to the national population, Native Americans have significantly lower median incomes, lower homeownership, increasing health disparities, and twice the level of poverty. These outcomes are the effects of a system of white supremacy.

The Native experience is also one of rich tradition, faith, and resistance. Before colonizers landed on this continent, Native Americans organized themselves into tribal nations and powerful confederacies. The white reaction to the cultural and political power of Native Americans has been genocide legitimized by the creation of legal authority and institutional control. This system of white supremacy continues in the United States to this day.

From the first interactions with Native Americans to the modern day, white colonizers in North America have worked toward one thing: theft. Theft of land, theft of natural resources, theft of culture and identity. Racial justice demands that we recognize and remedy these thefts. This resource cannot comprehensively recount the entire history of Native Americans, but we hope that this will be a starting point to begin learning about the peoples our nation has attempted to make invisible.

White Supremacy Fuels the Destruction of Native Americans

Throughout history, white supremacy has demonstrated its power to reshape institutions and supersede legality. When President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, ordering the removal of all Native Americans from their tribal land to reservations, the Supreme Court initially attempted to side with the tribes, who had signed treaties that ensured their national sovereignty. President Jackson bypassed the courts, and bent the strength of federal institutions to further meet the needs of white supremacy. Between 1830 and 1850, President Jackson oversaw the forced relocation of 100,000 Native Americans at the hands of federal and local military forces, resulting in the loss of ancestral homelands and 15,000 deaths from exposure, disease, and starvation. [1] These death marches were white supremacy made manifest, and the legitimation of land theft was codified.

On December 26, 1862, six days before signing the Emancipation Proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln ordered the hanging of 38 Dakota men – the largest mass execution in U.S. history. These men had taken part in a Native uprising in response to broken treaties. This is just one example of the racist legal system created to suppress and remove Native Americans. The United States created treaties promising to end the theft of Native land, allowed the treaties to be violated, and punished resistance, all while pushing Native Americans out of their homes and into smaller areas of land. White settlers desired gold, timber, buffalo, and land, so the legal systems and institutions adapted to steal it all from the tribes that depended on the land’s resources for their survival.

White Supremacy Continues Harming Native Americans Today

Recently, NETWORK staff traveled to New Mexico and hosted a round table in Albuquerque to listen to Native American leaders and leaders in women’s health, childcare, rural dental care, food security, and immigration sectors share their experience working to mend the gaps. New Mexico has a complex history of interactions between Native American tribes, European colonizers, and Spanish settlers which continues to shape the state today. New Mexicans also deals with a massive nuclear and uranium mining industry.

In the 20 th Century, the U.S. government has repeatedly participated in and allowed the theft of Native land, resources, and identity. From the Manhattan Project through today, uranium is mined on or near tribal lands, often at the expense of the Navajo and Lakota peoples, leading to extensive uranium poisoning and land contamination.

New Mexico: Colonialism, the Nuclear Industry, and Hazardous Consequences

Today, New Mexico is the only state in the U.S. with what is considered a cradle-to-grave nuclear industry, meaning that every process of building nuclear weapons and sustaining nuclear energy occurs or has occurred in New Mexico. The New Mexico Environment Department lists 22 permitted hazardous waste sites in the state. This does not account for unpermitted sites, which also exist, including multiple hazardous waste sites related to uranium mining, milling, and processing. Many of the more recent siting decisions that have resulted in new sectors of the nuclear industrial complex in New Mexico have resulted because people in power have tempted poor communities overwhelmingly comprised of people of color with economic opportunities, many of which have resulted in death and disease, as was/is the case with uranium mining across indigenous communities in New Mexico. Eventually, New Mexicans, especially indigenous people, are blamed for this fate of willful participation, ultimately driving the status quo for expanding the nuclear industry in New Mexico, granting more federal funding to the state, thus making New Mexico more dependent on the federal government.

– Myrriah Gómez, Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium Steering Committee

Legal and Cultural Destruction of Native Americans

After several successful Native uprisings led by warriors such as Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, and Crazy Horse, the federal government responded with a new method of legal theft. The Dawes Act of 1887 divided Native reservations into individual allotments and sold “excess” to white settlers. Tribes lost 90 million acres, nearly 2/3 of their land. [2] Native Americans were pressured to sell their land to white people, dividing community land into fragments. Later amendments to the law removed federal recognition of tribal governments. The legal destruction of Native tribes was complete, but white supremacy demanded the destruction of Native culture as well.

Boarding schools for Native children, often run by Christian organizations, were created to remove Native identities. At one such school, the motto was “Kill the Indian, Save the Man.” Native children were required to cut their hair, wear uniforms, speak only English, and take Anglicized names. Until 1978, Native children could legally be kidnapped from their families by the U.S. government and forced to attend these boarding schools. [3] During much of our nation’s history, the federal government outlawed Native American religious practices as well. When Native Americans refused to have their culture stolen from them, the federal government responded with violence, exemplified by the Wounded Knee Massacre.

The Impact of Generations of Injustice

My name is Yvette Pino. I am a Native American woman. I have lived on the Laguna Pueblo almost my entire life. I am a part of the Mescalero Apache tribe. Because I have lived on the reservation my entire life, I have seen the issues that affect Native Americans first-hand. These issues involve alcohol, education, and foster care. I have seen these issues play out in those close to me, as well as in the community. I have seen the never-ending cycle of alcoholic use, the cycle of foster care, and education. People aren’t challenged to pursue a higher education, because no one is there to do so. I love my community, it is a part of who I am but I cannot ignore these problems. I am an active participant in my parish community in Laguna, I have done volunteer work, I visited the nursing home often while my grandmother was alive and went to Mass with the residents. I feel the pain of my community, but I refuse to be a part of that cycle. I know God put me here for a reason. He has given me a strength to know that though these issues may seem like they cannot be overcome, that they will never go away, I know that with God, all things are possible.

I was put into foster care at a young age, for broken bones that could not easily be explained away. At sixteen months old I was put into my first, and only, foster home. I have been with the same family ever since, through the lows of court cases and lack of visits from my biological mom, to the highs of my graduating from a college preparatory high school and acceptance to Notre Dame. I know I am incredibly blessed to be where I am now, but though my story of being a foster kid is not a unique one, many children are not so lucky. They bounce from home to home, yearning for that love that every human being searches for. They do this until their parents are able to offer that support system, but if the parents make one mistake, back into foster care they go. They do this for years, sometimes until they come to the age of eighteen where they have very little resources to make the decision to go to college, and so the cycle continues. They may turn to alcohol to numb the pain and loneliness, have their own children but find because they were not shown love, they are unable to show love to their children. Then their children search for love outside of the home and may turn to drugs or alcohol.

Even though I am now going to college, and my brother is going to boarding school, my parents still struggle. This is all too common on the reservation and without the resources to send children to college, people on the reservation will remain here and feed the cycle of poverty.

– Yvette Pino, Mescalero Apache

Resistance and Hope

Native American resistance to the legal expression of white supremacy continues to this day. Much of modern Native resistance takes inspiration from the American Indian Movement of the 1970s, which temporarily repossessed the Native lands of Mount Rushmore, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and Alcatraz. In 2016, over 15,000 activists from the Standing Rock tribe and around the nation occupied tribal land that energy companies planned to use for the Dakota Access Pipeline. This group came together to protest the violation of treaties and the destruction of sacred land and resources. The federal government and corporate interests responded with beatings, attack dogs, and legal action. Once again, white supremacy overruled the concerns of Native peoples, but the #NoDAPL protest revitalized national focus on Native rights. The systems of white supremacy that damage Native Americans were revealed to the world.

In 2018, Representatives Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids became the first Native American women elected to Congress. While a sign of hope, this historic step toward representation is only the first. Racism against the Native peoples of our nation is not an issue of the past. The legal and institutional systems of white supremacy have had devastating impacts on Native American tribes, and those systems continue to this day. We must all recommit to racial justice for Native Americans and work to dismantle the systems of white supremacy.

A Historic Time to be Engaged

As one of two Native American Women ever elected to Congress, I know it is a historic time to be engaged in politics regardless of background. We have been elected to lead during a time of divisiveness a time where white supremacy has been proliferated by the current administration, and, unfortunately, cited by some terrorists for their attacks. This has caused many issues, such as border security and those seeking asylum, to be blown out of proportion and grossly mischaracterized.

My colleagues and I took an oath on January 3rd and I did so solemnly with the understanding of what it means to stand up, speak out, and lead when others in elected office are abusing their power and not honoring their responsibilities to their constituents.

– Representative Deb Haaland (NM-01), Laguna Pueblo

We Pray

Great Spirit, Our Creator,

Your Love flared forth in brilliant galaxies, stars, planets, Sun, Moon and Earth, where life was born. In time, a unique multi-species, multicultural community of life emerged, encircling our Earth home.

Blessed are You, God of all Creation.

In your goodness, you have made us aware of our interwoven oneness in the human family, and our kinship with all creatures in your Creation.

Yet in America, we witness deep historic wounds and divisions that continue to separate us as peoples, that alienate us from one another and all Creation. We are mindful of deep national wounds in our relations with the First Peoples who inhabited America for thousands of years before the arrival of European Conquistadors in the 1500s and Pilgrims in 1607.

We lament present day dominant racist structures that render “invisible” the Indigenous peoples of America.
We pray for conversion of our hearts and minds, that we may be open to learn from the wisdom, cultures, traditions and spirituality of Indigenous peoples, which have always been their strength, teaching them how to live in harmony.

We lament the “Doctrine of Discovery,” Papal Bulls and treaties that denied and assaulted the God-given human dignity, rights, traditions and lands of Indigenous peoples in America and beyond.
We pray for honest admission of historic sins as Christian Church that will lead to forgiveness, healing, restitution, and reconciliation within the institutional Church and with Indigenous peoples in this country.

We lament the colonization, slavery and genocide of Indigenous peoples in America carried out by agents of the sword and cross.
We pray for the grace to become true disciples of Christ in the midst of opposing forces, to help heal the wounds inflicted by our sinful infidelities, by our betrayal of Jesus Christ, His life, teachings and example. As people of faith, may we voice and advocate for the moral, ethical, spiritual and environmental justice imperatives in all government policy-making and legislation.

We lament the policies of Manifest Destiny and military-enforced removal of Indigenous peoples from traditional homelands and their relocation to detention camps in designated “Indian Territory,” where thousands died from disease, exposure, and starvation, in the Trail of Tears, and the Long Walk.
We pray for honesty and courage to confront and renounce white supremacist ideology, propaganda, hate speech and actions in our nation and communities, as we live out the vision of our essential oneness with all people as God’s family.

We lament the U.S. government’s failure to honor hundreds of peace treaties with Indigenous nations in America, while pursuing policies to destroy their basic economic survival and cultural identity, by killing off the buffalo, controlling all commodities and removing children from families into boarding schools.
We pray for wisdom, guidance and perseverance to hold all elected officials accountable, to fulfill their responsibility to serve all people, especially the disadvantaged, to promote the common good in upholding democratic values, and to respect and care for God’s Creation.

We lament modern day forms of colonization through corporate and government disregard for tribal sovereignty, appropriating tribal lands and rights for private profit-driven extraction of natural resources, impacting health and devastating indigenous lands, water, air, plants and animals, as seen at Standing Rock and the Keystone Pipeline.
We pray for wisdom and guidance for elected officials, local communities and concerned citizens to respect the sacred nature of water, land, wildlife and air as God’s gifts to sustain all life, to enact strict national regulations and policies that protect all people’s rights to clean water, air and land, to address challenges of climate change and promote transition to 100% renewable energy, while preventing corporate profiteering from commodification of water and extraction of natural resources.

Great Spirit, Your Love allures us into the Circle Dance of Oneness, as co-creators of the evolving future. In this Circle, may we learn to respect, honor and celebrate our diversity and differences as human family, with deepening awareness of our fundamental oneness. “Our circle is timeless, flowing. It is new life emerging from death – life winning out over death.” (Lame Deer, Lakota)

Written by Sister Rose Marie Cecchini, MM, coordinator of the Office of Peace, Justice and Creative Stewardship of the Gallup, NM diocese

Educating America: The Historian's Responsibility to Native Americans and the Public

Slinking down in my chair of the high school classroom, I listen with dread to the discussion about Native Americans. I feel no connection to the hostile, savage, primitive people I am hearing about. How can the words on this paper differ so radically from those of my elders? Where did these historians get their information about Native Americans?

My earliest memory of stories told by my grandmother are those about the United States&ndashDakota conflict of 1862. When I first read historical accounts of that event I excitedly picked out events I knew were true because my grandmother had talked about them. My respect for the author was gauged by how often he or she made mention of stories I'd heard in the oral tradition. Growing up in a Dakota family with a rich oral tradition, I often heard my grandmother end a story with, "that was never written in a history book." It was her account of the Dakota past which fostered my love for history and led to my pursuit of a degree in the discipline. But reconciling differing conceptions of history&mdashthose of my native community and academia&mdashhas been full of challenges and frustrations, the gulf between them often seemingly unbridgeable.

The personal scenario above illustrates some of the basic issues pertaining to the relationship between academic historians writing Native American history and the Native American people about whom they are writing. This relationship has been fraught with mistrust on both sides: historians mistrust the ability of native people to keep accurate accounts of their historical past while Native Americans mistrust the ability of historians to accurately interpret Native American historical realities. At the core of the mistrust is a basic argument about who has the authority to interpret Native American history and on what sources that interpretation should be based.

The fundamental difference between academic Native American history and Native American history from the native perspective is the medium through which the history is interpreted. For the vast majority of native cultures, the primary means of transmitting and understanding history has been through the oral tradition for academic historians, the primary way of transmitting and understanding history is through the written narrative. For many Native American people, whose voices and perspectives are rarely included in written histories, those histories are considered just another form of oppression and continued colonization. For historians, mistrust of the oral tradition is based on the view that all oral history needs to be validated by written sources, without which oral narratives constitute unverifiable legend and are therefore unreliable sources. Overcoming that mistrust will require educating academic historians about native oral traditions and demonstrating to them the value of understanding Native American history through the perspective of those who have lived it. Ultimately, a consensus must be reached within the discipline about the absolute necessity of including Native American voices in the research and writing of Native American history. This would insure a measure of accountability to the living people about whose ancestors we are writing.

Some of the discrepancy between the way native people and academic historians think about Native American history has to do with perceptions of what constitutes important information. For many Native American people, history is important because it establishes our sense of identity and belonging. We understand who we are and how we came to be because of the stories transmitted by our elders. Rarely is Native American history from this perspective concerned with dates and times rather, notions of place and homeland are given primacy, as it is this connection that is closely linked with our sense of identity. However, because many accounts cannot be placed within a chronological framework, it is often impossible to employ academic historians' usual means of corroborating sources. Within Native American oral traditions, different means of validation and verification are utilized. For example, collective memories are often engaged to insure the accuracy of any given account, and those who are known to have been trained well are respected and sought out within the community for their knowledge, skill, and expertise. In terms of establishing credibility or validation, in many native communities, the words and the honor of the elders are sufficient.

Events and details deemed relevant and important enough to transmit within the oral tradition are not necessarily the same as those academic historians feel compelled to write about, nor do they necessarily include those events and circumstances about which non-Native Americans chose to leave records. One of the results of this difference in values means that what is of value in native culture may not make it into the written record, and what does make it into the written record may be seen from the Native American perspective as dry, full of unimportant details about some things, and completely missing the important aspects of others. This is not to say that the oral and the written always conflict, or that native people do not appreciate the research and writing of many non-Native American scholars, but rather that the approach to history is different, making for very different stories and understandings of the past. In addition, Native American oral tradition focuses less on European-Americans, more on Indian&ndashIndian relations, and includes stories of interactions with non-human spiritual beings&mdashall elements which have served to baffle some academic historians.

A growing movement is taking shape within the field of Native American history, however, in which it is recognized that Native American history from the Native American perspective must be included in any solid research in which Native American nations appear. Scholars are recognizing that native language study can shed significant light on historical events, and oral history is being used in ways that suggest it is breaking away from the confines of being simply a "supplementary" source and is now being used in the main bodies of texts.

While the definitions and meanings of Native American history are being argued in the academic context, there are other major issues affecting a much larger population that also deserve attention&mdashsuch as the historian's relationship to native communities, and the lack of outreach to the American public. Nowhere is this more apparent or problematic than in Native American history because no population is more misunderstood and stereotyped than American Indians. Many historians seem to believe in a trickle-down effect in which their theoretical, academic, or enlightened interpretations of the past will slowly, but magically, reach the masses&mdasheven while they direct their writings to other historians or upper-division and elite college students. Because of enormous amounts of misinformation regarding the histories of American Indians, this is particularly dangerous and ineffective, especially considering that many Americans acquire their understanding of Native Americans through Hollywood movies. It is no secret that most high school students believe history is the least useful subject they are required to learn. Historians will have little impact in kindling an interest in history if they continue to write to each other rather than to the masses. In this area historians have fallen extremely short.

In the social studies curriculum at both the elementary and secondary level American Indians are nearly invisible, so the lack of participation by historians in educating a wider audience has detrimental effects. Very rarely do contemporary academic or cutting-edge discussions of Native American history also inform discussion in any classroom outside of a college or university. As a consequence, professors in Native American history spend much time with incoming students not only building on an extremely limited knowledge base, but also attempting to correct the misinformation students have accumulated, either through movies or excerpts in social studies textbooks depicting Native Americans as little more than obstacles to westward expansion. It is no wonder that when contemporary Native American political issues arise, the public shows complete ignorance regarding Native American treaty rights, issues of taxation, government-to-government relationships, Native American law, tribal government operations, and many other topics. While scholars of Native American history understand, for example, the importance of treaty agreements with the United States (though there are often disagreements in interpretation), this knowledge is not reaching the general population, so the public is ill-equipped to understand the treaties to which its own government is obligated. Students entering college are often opening their eyes to Native Americans for the first time. More accurate interpretations of Native American history ought to be tackled in the elementary social studies curriculum and continue through secondary and postsecondary education. If historians do not take on this responsibility, who will?

Besides making writings accessible to those beyond academia, what more might we do? Where does this leave us? Where do the various understandings of Native American history intersect and how can we work together? Historians researching and writing in the arena of Native American history have an ethical obligation to include Native American perspectives in their work, a notion that recognizes the authority and expertise of tribal historians, and in the end will produce more balanced interpretations. The field of Native American history, and by extension American history, will only be enriched by the inclusion of differing perspectives and in the process will broaden and expand the definitions of history.

Angela Cavender Wilson (Wahpetunwan Dakota) is a doctoral candidate in American history at Cornell University. She has accepted a position as assistant professor of American Indian history at Arizona State University and will begin her appointment in August 2000. Her dissertation, "De Kiksuyapo! (Remember This!): The Eli Taylor Narratives and Dakota Conceptions of History," is based on an oral history project with her grandfather from the Sioux Valley Reserve in Manitoba, Canada, which she expects to complete in May 2000.

South of Boston

The structure existing today is a replica erected on the original foundation which was archaeologically excavated in the 1920’s, and is surrounded by 12 acres of recreational land. Aptucxet Trading Post may have the earliest remains of a Pilgrim building. The known facts present a fascinating story, not only of an antique building but also of Bourne’s participation in 17th-century events.

Dighton Rock is a 40-ton boulder that was once submerged in the Taunton River, but became visible when the tide went out. There are markings on the rock, also known as “petroglyphs”, and leaders of the Assonet Bank of the Wampanoag Nation believe that the markings were created by Native Americans who lived in that area. The rock is in the Dighton Rock Museum located in Dighton State Park.

Freetown State Forest is five minutes from Fall River and Taunton and 15 minutes from New Bedford. It features more than 50 miles of unpaved roads and trails horseback riders, dog sledders, mountain bikers, seasonal motorcycles and snowmobile users are welcome, and hunters and anglers in season. Profile Rock, a 50-foot outcropping, shows a profile of what the Wamanoags believe to be Chief Massasoit. The 5,441-acre forest also includes the 227-acre Watuppa Reservation, belonging to the Wampanoag Nation and is the site of annual tribal meetings.

At Pilgrim Hall Museum, you will learn the story of the Wampanoag, “People of the Dawn,” the Native People who inhabited this area for 10,000 years before the arrival of the new settlers and who are still here today. The story of the interrelationship between the Wampanoag and Colonial settlers continues through the disastrous conflict of the 1670s, known as King Philip’s War.

Here you’ll discover how the 17 th -century Wampanoag would have lived along the coast during the growing season planting their crops, fishing and hunting, gathering wild herbs and berries for food, and reeds for making mats and baskets. You’ll see different kinds of homes including a mat-covered wetu, the Wampanoag word for house, and a bark-covered long house or nush wetu, meaning a house with three fire pits inside.


The concept of genocide was coined in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin: [11]

New conceptions require new terms. By ‘‘genocide” we mean the destruction of a nation or of an ethnic group. This new word, coined by the author to denote an old practice in its modern development, is made from the ancient Greek word genos (race, tribe) and the Latin tide (killing), thus corresponding in its formation to such words as tyrannicide, homicide, infanticide, etc. Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups. Genocide is directed against the national group as an entity, and the actions involved are directed against individuals, not in their individual capacity, but as members of the national group.

After World War II, it was adopted by the United Nations in 1948. For Lemkin, genocide was broadly defined and included all attempts to destroy a specific ethnic group, whether strictly physical through mass killings, or cultural or psychological through oppression and destruction of indigenous ways of life. [12]

The UN definition, which is used in international law, is narrower than Lemkin's, and states that genocide is: "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group," as such: [13]

(a) "Killing members of the group" (b) "Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group" (c) "Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part" (d) "Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group" (e) "Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."

The determination of whether a historical event should be considered genocide can be a matter of scholarly debate. Historians often draw on broader definitions such as Lemkin's, which sees colonialist violence against indigenous peoples as inherently genocidal. For example, in the case of the colonization of the Americas, where the indigenous people of the Americas declined by up to 90% in the first centuries of European colonization, it can be debatable whether genocide occurs when disease is considered the main cause of this decline since the introduction of disease was mostly unintentional. [14] [15] Some genocide scholars separate the population declines due to disease from the genocidal aggression of one group toward another. [16] Some scholars argue that intent of genocide is not necessary, since genocide may be the cumulative result of minor conflicts in which settlers, or colonial or state agents, perpetrate violence against minority groups. [1] Others argue that the dire consequences of European diseases among many New World populations were exacerbated by different forms of genocidal violence, and that intentional and unintentional deaths cannot easily be separated. [17] [18] Some scholars regard the colonization of the Americas as genocide, since they argue it was largely achieved through systematically exploiting, removing and destroying specific ethnic groups, which would create environments and conditions for such disease to proliferate. [19] [20] [21]

According to a 2020 study by Tai S Edwards and Paul Kelton, recent scholarship shows "that colonizers bear responsibility for creating conditions that made natives vulnerable to infection, increased mortality, and hindered population recovery. This responsibility intersected with more intentional and direct forms of violence to depopulate the Americas. germs can no longer serve as the basis for denying American genocides." [15]

Historians and scholars whose work has examined this history in the context of genocide have included historian Jeffrey Ostler, [22] historian David Stannard, [23] anthropological demographer Russell Thornton, [24] Indigenous Studies scholar Vine Deloria, Jr., as well as scholar-activists such as Russell Means and Ward Churchill. Stannard compares the events of colonization in the Americas with the definition of genocide in the 1948 UN convention, and writes that,

In light of the U.N. language—even putting aside some of its looser constructions—it is impossible to know what transpired in the Americas during the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries and not conclude that it was genocide. [25]

Thornton describes as genocide the direct impact of warfare, violence and massacres, many of which had the effect of wiping out entire ethnic groups. [26] Political scientist Guenter Lewy says that "even if up to 90 percent of the reduction in Indian population was the result of disease, that leaves a sizable death toll caused by mistreatment and violence." [27] Native American Studies professor Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz says,

Proponents of the default position emphasize attrition by disease despite other causes equally deadly, if not more so. In doing so they refuse to accept that the colonization of America was genocidal by plan, not simply the tragic fate of populations lacking immunity to disease. [28]

By 1900, the indigenous population in the Americas declined by more than 80%, and by as much as 98% in some areas. The effects of diseases such as smallpox, measles and cholera during the first century of colonialism contributed greatly to the death toll, while violence, displacement and warfare by colonizers against the Indians contributed to the death toll in subsequent centuries. [29] As detailed in American Philosophy: From Wounded Knee to the Present (2015),

It is also apparent that the shared history of the hemisphere is one framed by the dual tragedies of genocide and slavery, both of which are part of the legacy of the European invasions of the past 500 years. Indigenous people north and south were displaced, died of disease, and were killed by Europeans through slavery, rape, and war. In 1491, about 145 million people lived in the western hemisphere. By 1691, the population of indigenous Americans had declined by 90–95 percent, or by around 130 million people. [30]

According to geographers from University College London, the colonization of the Americas by Europeans killed so many people it resulted in climate change and global cooling. [31] UCL Geography Professor Mark Maslin, one of the co-authors of the study, says the large death toll also boosted the economies of Europe: "the depopulation of the Americas may have inadvertently allowed the Europeans to dominate the world. It also allowed for the Industrial Revolution and for Europeans to continue that domination." [32]

Leif Eriksons brother is said to have had the first contact with the native population of North America which would come to be known as the skrælings. After capturing and killing eight of the natives, they were attacked at their beached ships, which they defended. [33]

Spanish colonization of the Americas Edit

It is estimated that during the initial Spanish conquest of the Americas up to eight million indigenous people died, primarily through the spread of Afro-Eurasian diseases., [35] in a series of events that have been described as the first large-scale act of genocide of the modern era. [36] Acts of brutality and systematic annihilation against the Taíno People of the Caribbean prompted Dominican friar Bartolomé de las Casas to write Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias ('A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies') in 1542—an account that had a wide impact throughout the western world as well as contributing to the abolition of indigenous slavery in all Spanish territories the same year it was written. Las Casas wrote that the native population on the Spanish colony of Hispaniola had been reduced from 400,000 to 200 in a few decades. [37] His writings were among those that gave rise to Spanish Black Legend, which Charles Gibson describes as "the accumulated tradition of propaganda and Hispanophobia according to which the Spanish Empire is regarded as cruel, bigoted, degenerate, exploitative and self-righteous in excess of reality". [38] [39] Historian Andrés Reséndez at the University of California, Davis asserts that even though disease was a factor, the indigenous population of Hispaniola would have rebounded the same way Europeans did following the Black Death if it were not for the constant enslavement they were subject to. [40] He says that "among these human factors, slavery was the major killer" of Hispaniola's population, and that "between 1492 and 1550, a nexus of slavery, overwork and famine killed more natives in the Caribbean than smallpox, influenza or malaria." [41] Noble David Cook, writing about the Black Legend conquest of the Americas wrote, "There were too few Spaniards to have killed the millions who were reported to have died in the first century after Old and New World contact." He instead estimates that the death toll was caused by diseases like smallpox, [42] which according to some estimates had an 80–90% fatality rate in Native American populations. [43] However, historian Jeffrey Ostler has argued that Spanish colonization created conditions for disease to spread, for example, "careful studies have revealed that it is highly unlikely that members" of Hernando de Soto's 1539 expedition in the American South "had smallpox or measles. Instead, the disruptions caused by the expedition increased vulnerability of Native people to diseases including syphilis and dysentery, already present in the Americas, and malaria, a disease recently introduced from the eastern hemisphere." [22]

With the initial conquest of the Americas completed, the Spanish implemented the encomienda system in 1503. In theory, the encomienda placed groups of indigenous peoples under Spanish oversight to foster cultural assimilation and conversion to Catholicism, but in practice led to the legally sanctioned forced labor and resource extraction under brutal conditions with a high death rate. [44] Though the Spaniards did not set out to exterminate the indigenous peoples, believing their numbers to be inexhaustible, their actions led to the annihilation of entire tribes such as the Arawak. [45] Many Arawaks died from lethal forced labor in the mines, in which a third of workers died every six months. [46] According to historian David Stannard, the encomienda was a genocidal system which "had driven many millions of native peoples in Central and South America to early and agonizing deaths.". [47]

According to Doctor Clifford Trafzer, Professor at UC Riverside, in the 1760s, an expedition dispatched to fortify California, led by Gaspar de Portolà and Junípero Serra, was marked by slavery, forced conversions, and genocide through the introduction of disease. [48]

British colonization of the Americas Edit

The Kalinago Genocide, 1626 Edit

The Kalinago genocide was the massacre of some 2,000 Island Caribs by English and French settlers in 1628 in St. Kitts.

The Carib Chief Tegremond became uneasy with the increasing number of English and French settlers occupying St. Kitts. This led to confrontations, which led him to plot the settlers' elimination with the aid of other Island Caribs. However, his scheme was betrayed by an Indian woman called Barbe, to Thomas Warner and Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc. Taking action, the English and French settlers invited the Caribs to a party where they became intoxicated. When the Caribs returned to their village, 120 were killed in their sleep, including Chief Tegremond. The following day, the remaining 2,000–4,000 Caribs were forced into the area of Bloody Point and Bloody River, where over 2,000 were massacred, though 100 settlers were also killed. One Frenchman went mad after being struck by a manchineel-poisoned arrow. The remaining Caribs fled, but by 1640, those not already enslaved, were removed to Dominica. [49] [50]

Attempted Extermination of the Pequot, 1636–1638 Edit

The Pequot War was an armed conflict that took place between 1636 and 1638 in New England between the Pequot tribe and an alliance of the colonists of the Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, and Saybrook colonies and their allies from the Narragansett and Mohegan tribes. The war concluded with the decisive defeat of the Pequots. The Connecticut and Massachusetts colonies offered bounties for the heads of killed hostile Indians, and later for just their scalps, during the Pequot War in the 1630s [51] Connecticut specifically reimbursed Mohegans for slaying the Pequot in 1637. [52] At the end, about 700 Pequots had been killed or taken into captivity. [53] Hundreds of prisoners were sold into slavery to the West Indies [54] other survivors were dispersed as captives to the victorious tribes. The result was the elimination of the Pequot tribe as a viable polity in Southern New England, and the colonial authorities classified them as extinct. However, members of the Pequot tribe still live today as a federally recognized tribe, and they continue to contribute to their tribe's ongoing history. [55]

Massacre of the Narragansett people, 1675 Edit

The Great Swamp Massacre was committed during King Philip's War by colonial militia of New England on the Narragansett tribe in December 1675. On 15 December of that year, Narraganset warriors attacked the Jireh Bull Blockhouse and killed at least 15 people. Four days later, the colonial militia from Plymouth Colony, Connecticut Colony, and Massachusetts Bay Colony were led to the main Narragansett town in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. The settlement was burned, its inhabitants (including women and children) killed or evicted, and most of the tribe's winter stores destroyed. It is believed that at least 97 Narragansett warriors and 300 to 1,000 non-combatants were killed, though exact figures are unknown. [56] The massacre was a critical blow to the Narragansett tribe during the period directly following the massacre. [57] However, much like the Pequot, the Narragansett people continue to live today as a federally recognized tribe, contributing to their Nation's ongoing history. [58]

French and Indian Wars, 1754–1763 Edit

During the French and Indian War, Lord Jeffrey Amherst, commanding officer of British forces in North America, authorized the use biological warfare to exterminate a local tribe of Ottawa Indians. As of 12 June 1755, Massachusetts governor William Shirley was offering a bounty of £40 for a male Indian scalp, and £20 for scalps of females or of children under 12 years old. [59] [60] In 1756, Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Robert Morris, in his Declaration of War against the Lenni Lenape (Delaware) people, offered "130 Pieces of Eight, for the Scalp of Every Male Indian Enemy, above the Age of Twelve Years," and "50 Pieces of Eight for the Scalp of Every Indian Woman, produced as evidence of their being killed." [59] [61]

Canada Edit

On 13 April 1709, New France intendant Jacques Raudot passed the Ordinance Rendered on the Subject of the Negroes and the Savages Called Panis, legalizing the purchase and possession of indigenous slaves in New France. When Raudot pronounced indigenous slavery to be legal in New France, the practice had already been well established in the Native and French alliances throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. After the 1709 Ordinance came into effect, slavery in the colony grew exponentially. Natives flooded the slave market in the course of intense diplomacy with the French to prevent colonial encroachment of Native land. [62] Therefore, the flood of Native slaves in the St. Lawrence largely came from their Western counterparts. According to Rushforth, "by narrowing the target to a specific set of victims known as the ‘Panis nation,’ Raudot and his successors created a North American counterpart to the African kingdom of Nigritie: a distant and populous nation at war with more proximate allies, poorly understood but clearly identified as legally and morally enslavable". [63] Effectively, this meant Western Natives were strengthening future adversaries in the east, with their own slaves, in a struggle to preserve their land.

Although not without conflict, French Canadians' early interactions with Canada's indigenous populations were relatively peaceful in comparison to the expansionist and aggressive policies of British North America. [64] First Nations and Métis peoples played a critical part in the development of French colonies in Canada, particularly for their role in assisting French coureur des bois and voyageurs in the exploration of the continent during the North American fur trade. [65] Nevertheless, by 1829, with the death of Shanawdithit, the Beothuk people, the indigenous people of Newfoundland were officially declared extinct after suffering epidemics, starvation, loss of access to food sources, and displacement by English and French fishermen and traders. [66] Scholars disagree in their definition of genocide in relation to the Beothuk, and the parties have differing political agendas. [67] While some scholars believe that the Beothuk died out due to the elements noted above, another theory is that Europeans conducted a sustained campaign of genocide against them. [68]

More recent understandings of the concept of "cultural genocide" and its relation to settler colonialism have led modern scholars to a renewed discussion of the genocidal aspects of the Canadian states' role in producing and legitimating the process of physical and cultural destruction of Indigenous people. [69] In the 1990s some scholars began pushing for Canada to recognize the Canadian Indian residential school system as a genocidal process rooted in colonialism. [70] This public debate led to the formation of the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission which was formed in 2008. [71] [72]

The residential school system was established following the passage of the Indian Act in 1876. The system was designed to remove children from the influence of their families and culture with the aim of assimilating them into the dominant Canadian culture. [73] The final school closed in 1996. [74] Over the course of the system's existence, about 30% of native children, or roughly 150,000, were placed in residential schools nationally at least 6,000 of these students died while in attendance. [75] [76] The system has been described as cultural genocide: "killing the Indian in the child." [77] [78] [79] Part of this process during the 1960s through the 1980s, dubbed the Sixties Scoop, was investigated and the child seizures deemed genocidal by Judge Edwin Kimelman, who wrote: "You took a child from his or her specific culture and you placed him into a foreign culture without any [counselling] assistance to the family which had the child. There is something dramatically and basically wrong with that." [80] another aspect of the residential school systems was its use of forced sterilization of Indigenous women who chose not to follow the schools advice of marrying non-Indigenous men. Indigenous women made up only 2.5% of the Canadian population, but 25% of those who were sterilized under the Canadian eugenics laws (such as the Sexual Sterilization Act of Alberta) – many without their knowledge or consent. [81]

The Executive Summary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission found that the state pursued a policy of cultural genocide through forced assimilation. [82] The ambiguity of the phrasing allowed for the interpretation that physical and biological genocide also occurred. The Commission, however, was not authorized to conclude that physical and biological genocide occurred, as such a finding would imply a difficult to prove legal responsibility for the Canadian government. As a result, the debate about whether the Canadian government also committed physical and biological genocide against Indigenous populations remains open. [71] [72]

The use of cultural genocide is used to differentiate from the Holocaust: a clearly accepted genocide in history. Some argue that this description negates the biological and physical acts of genocide that occurred in tandem with cultural destruction. [83] When engaged within the context of international law, colonialism in Canada has inflicted each criteria for the United Nations definition of the crime of genocide. However, all below examples of physical genocide are still highly debated as the requirement of intention and overall motivations behind the perpetrators actions is not widely agreed upon as of yet. [84]

Canada’s actions towards Indigenous peoples can be categorized under the first example of the UN definition of genocide, “killing members of the group,” through the spreading of deadly disease such as during the 1862 Pacific Northwest smallpox epidemic. Further examples from other parts of the country include the Saskatoon’s freezing deaths, [85] the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirited people, [86] and the scalping bounties offered by the governor of Nova Scotia, Edward Cornwallis. [87]

Secondly, as affirmed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the residential school system was a clear example of (b) and (e) and similar acts continue to this day through the Millennium Scoop, as Indigenous children are disproportionately removed from their families and placed into the care of others who are often of different cultures through the Canadian child welfare system. [88] Once again this repeats the separation of Indigenous children from their traditional ways of life. Moreover, children living on-reserve are subject to inadequate funding for social services which has led to filing of a ninth non-compliance order in early 2021 the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in attempts to hold the Canadian government accountable. [89]

Subsection (c) of the UN definition: "deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part” is an act of genocide that has historic legacies, such as the near and full extrapolation of caribou and bison that contributed to mass famines in Indigenous communities, [90] [91] how on reserve conditions infringe on the quality of life of Indigenous peoples as their social services are underfunded and inaccessible, and hold the bleakest water qualities in the first world country. [92] Canada also situates precarious and lethal ecological toxicities that pose threats to the land, water, air and peoples themselves near or on Indigenous territories. [93] Indigenous people continue to report (d), the "imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group,” within more recent years. Specifically through the avoidance of informed consent surrounding sterilization procedures with Indigenous people like the case of Alisa Lombard from 2018 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. [94] Examples such as the ones listed above have led to widespread physical and virtual action across the country to protest the historical and current genocidal harms faced by Indigenous peoples. [95] [96]

Mexico Edit

Apaches Edit

In 1835, the government of the Mexican state of Sonora put a bounty on the Apache which,over time, evolved into a payment by the government of 100 pesos for each scalp of a male 14 or more years old. [97] [98] In 1837, the Mexican state of Chihuahua also offered a bounty on Apache scalps, 100 pesos per warrior, 50 pesos per woman, and 25 pesos per child. [97]

Mayas Edit

The Caste War of Yucatán was caused by encroachment of colonizers on communal land of Mayas in Southeast Mexico. [99] According to political scientist Adam Jones: "This ferocious race war featured genocidal atrocities on both sides, with up to 200,000 killed." [100]

Yaquis Edit

The Mexican government's response to the various uprisings of the Yaqui tribe have been likened to genocide particularly under Porfirio Diaz. [101] Due to slavery and massacre, the population of the Yaqui tribe in Mexico was reduced from 30,000 to 7,000 under Diaz's rule. One source estimates at least 20,000 out of these Yaquis were victims of state murders in Sonora. [102] [103] Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he'd be willing to offer apologies for the abuses in 2019. [104]

The Southern Cone Edit

Both Argentina and Chile launched campaigns of territorial expansion in the second half of the 19th century, at the expenses of indigenous peoples and neighbor states. The so-called Pacification of the Araucania by the Chilean army dispossessed the up-to-then independent Mapuche people between the 1860s and the 1880s, as did Argentina with the Conquest of the Desert. [105] In southern Patagonia, both states occupied indigenous lands and waters, and facilitated the genocide implemented by sheep-farmers and the businessmen in Tierra del Fuego. [106] Argentina also expanded northward, dispossessing a number of Chaco peoples through a policy that may be considered as genocidal. [107]

Paraguay Edit

The War of the Triple Alliance (1865-1870) was launched by the Empire of Brazil, in alliance with the Argentine government of Bartolomé Mitre and the Uruguayan government of Venancio Flores, against Paraguay. The governments of Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay signed a secret treaty in which the "high contracting parties" solemnly bind themselves to overthrow the government of Paraguay. In the 5 years of war, the Paraguayan population was reduced, including, civilians, women, children, and the elderly. Julio José Chiavenato in his book American Genocide affirms that it was "a war of total extermination that only ended when there were no more Paraguayans to kill" and concludes that 99.5% of the adult male population of Paraguay died during the war. Of a population of approximately 420,000 before the war, only 14,000 men and 180,000 women remained. [108]

Among its many wars (19th century) is the War of the Triple Alliance, which may have killed 400,000 people, including more than 60 percent of the population of Paraguay, making it proportionally the most destructive war in modern times.

Chile Edit

First during the Arauco War and then during the Occupation of Araucanía there was a long-running conflict between colonial Spaniards and the Mapuche people, mostly fought in the Araucanía.

Argentina Edit

The so-called Conquest of the Desert (Spanish: Conquista del desierto) was an Argentine military campaign with the intention of establishing dominance over the Patagonian Desert, inhabited primarily by indigenous peoples. Argentine troops killed and displaced Mapuche from their traditional lands.

United States colonization of indigenous territories Edit

Stacie Martin states that the United States has not been legally admonished by the international community for genocidal acts against its indigenous population, but many historians and academics describe events such as the Mystic massacre, The Trail of Tears, the Sand Creek Massacre and the Mendocino War as genocidal in nature. [110] Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz states that US history, as well as inherited Indigenous trauma, cannot be understood without dealing with the genocide that the United States committed against Indigenous peoples. From the colonial period through the founding of the United States and continuing in the twentieth century, this has entailed torture, terror, sexual abuse, massacres, systematic military occupations, removals of Indigenous peoples from their ancestral territories, forced removal of Native American children to military-like boarding schools, allotment, and a policy of termination. [111] The letters of British commander Jeffery Amherst indicated genocidal intent when he authorized the deliberate use of disease-infected blankets as a biological weapon against indigenous populations during the 1763 Pontiac's Rebellion, saying, "You will Do well to try to Inoculate the Indians by means of Blanketts, as well as to try Every other method that can serve to Extirpate this Execreble Race", and instructing his subordinates, "I need only Add, I Wish to Hear of no prisoners should any of the villains be met with arms." [14] [112] [113] When smallpox swept the northern plains of the U.S. in 1837, the U.S. Secretary of War Lewis Cass ordered that no Mandan (along with the Arikara, the Cree, and the Blackfeet) be given smallpox vaccinations, which were provided to other tribes in other areas. [114] [115] [116]

Indian Removal and the Trail of Tears Edit

Following the Indian Removal Act of 1830 the American government began forcibly relocating East Coast tribes across the Mississippi. The removal included many members of the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations, among others in the United States, from their homelands to Indian Territory in eastern sections of the present-day state of Oklahoma. About 2,500–6,000 died along the Trail of Tears. [117] Chalk and Jonassohn assert that the deportation of the Cherokee tribe along the Trail of Tears would almost certainly be considered an act of genocide today. [118] The Indian Removal Act of 1830 led to the exodus. About 17,000 Cherokees, along with approximately 2,000 Cherokee-owned black slaves, were removed from their homes. [119] The number of people who died as a result of the Trail of Tears has been variously estimated. American doctor and missionary Elizur Butler, who made the journey with one party, estimated 4,000 deaths. [120]

Historians such as David Stannard [121] and Barbara Mann [122] have noted that the army deliberately routed the march of the Cherokee to pass through areas of a known cholera epidemic, such as Vicksburg. Stannard estimates that during the forced removal from their homelands, following the Indian Removal Act signed into law by President Andrew Jackson in 1830, 8,000 Cherokee died, about half the total population. [121]

American Indian Wars Edit

During the American Indian Wars, the American Army carried out a number of massacres and forced relocations of Indigenous peoples that are sometimes considered genocide. [ citation needed ] The 1864 Sand Creek Massacre, which caused outrage in its own time, has been called genocide. Colonel John Chivington led a 700-man force of Colorado Territory militia in a massacre of 70–163 peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho, about two-thirds of whom were women, children, and infants. Chivington and his men took scalps and other body parts as trophies, including human fetuses and male and female genitalia. [123] In defense of his actions Chivington stated,

Damn any man who sympathizes with Indians! . I have come to kill Indians, and believe it is right and honorable to use any means under God's heaven to kill Indians. . Kill and scalp all, big and little nits make lice.

United States acquisition of California Edit

The U.S. colonization of California started in earnest in 1845, with the Mexican–American War. With the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed in 1848, giving the United States authority over 525,000 square miles of new territory. In addition to Gold Rush slaughter, there was also a large number of state-subsidized massacres by colonists against Native Americans in the territory, causing several entire ethnic groups to be wiped out. In one such series of conflicts, the so-called Mendocino War and the subsequent Round Valley War, the entirety of the Yuki people was brought to the brink of extinction, from a previous population of some 3,500 people to fewer than 100. According to Russell Thornton, estimates of the pre-Columbian population of California may have been as high as 300,000. By 1849, due to a number of epidemics, the number had decreased to 150,000. But from 1849 and up until 1890 the Indigenous population of California had fallen below 20,000, primarily because of the killings. [125] At least 4,500 California Indians were killed between 1849 and 1870, while many more perished due to disease and starvation. [126] 10,000 Indians were also kidnapped and sold as slaves. [127] In a speech before representatives of Native American peoples in June 2019, California governor Gavin Newsom apologized for the genocide. Newsom said, "That’s what it was, a genocide. No other way to describe it. And that’s the way it needs to be described in the history books." [128]

One California law made it legal to declare any jobless Indian a vagrant, then auction his services off for up to four months. It also permitted whites to force Indian children to work for them until they were eighteen, provided that they obtained permission from what the law referred to as a 'friend' was obtained first. Whites hunted down adult Indians in the mountains, kidnapped their children, and sold them as apprentices for as little as $50. Indians could not complain in court because of another California statute that stated 'no Indian or Black or Mulatto person was permitted to give evidence in favor of or against a white person'. One contemporary wrote "The minor are sometimes guilty of the most brutal acts with the Indians. such incidents have fallen under my notice that would make humanity weep and men disown their race". [129] The towns of Marysville and Honey Lake paid bounties for Indian scalps. Shasta City offered $5 for every Indian head brought to City Hall California's State Treasury reimbursed many of the local governments for their expenses.

Politics of modern Brazil Edit

Over 80 indigenous tribes disappeared between 1900 and 1957, and of a population of over one million during this period 80% had been killed through deculturalization, [ how? ] disease, or murder. [130] It has also been argued that genocide has occurred during the modern era with the ongoing destruction of the Jivaro, Yanomami and other tribes. [131] [132]

French colonization of Africa Edit

Algeria Edit

Over the course and immediately after the French conquest of Algeria there where a series of demographic catastrophes in Algeria between 1830 through 1871 due to a variety of factors. The demographic crisis was such that, Dr. René Ricoux, head of demographic and medical statistics at the statistical office of the General Government of Algeria, foresaw the simple disappearance of Algerian "natives as a whole." [133] [ better source needed ] Algerian demographic change can be divided into three phases: an almost constant decline during the conquest period, up until its heaviest drop from an estimated 2.7 million in 1861 to 2.1 million in 1871, and finally moving into a gradual increase [134] to a level of three million inhabitants by 1890. Causes range from a series of famines, diseases, emigration [135] to the violent methods used by the French army during their Pacification of Algeria which historians argue to constitute acts of genocide. [136]

Congo Free State Edit

Under Leopold II of Belgium the population loss in the Congo Free State is estimated at sixty percent. [137] Congo Free State was especially hard hit by sleeping sickness and smallpox epidemics. [138]

Genocide in German South West Africa Edit

Atrocities against the indigenous African population by the German colonial empire can be dated to the earliest German settlements on the continent. The German colonial authorities carried out genocide in German South-West Africa (GSWA) and the survivors were incarcerated in concentration camps. It was also reported that, between 1885 and 1918, the indigenous population of Togo, German East Africa (GEA) and the Cameroons suffered from various human rights abuses including starvation from scorched earth tactics and forced relocation for use as labour. The German Empire's action in GSWA against the Herero tribe is considered by Howard Ball to be the first genocide of the 20th century. [139] After the Herero, Namaqua and Damara began an uprising against the colonial government, [140] General Lothar von Trotha, appointed as head of the German forces in GSWA by Emperor Wilhelm II in 1904, gave the order for the German forces to push them into the desert where they would die. [141] In 2004, the German state apologised for the genocide. [142] While many argue that the military campaign in Tanzania to suppress the Maji Maji Rebellion in GEA between 1905 and 1907 was not an act of genocide, as the military did not have as an intentional goal the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Africans, according to Dominik J. Schaller, the statement [Note 2] released at the time by Governor Gustav Adolf von Götzen did not exculpate him from the charge of genocide, but was proof that the German administration knew that their scorched earth methods would result in famine. [143] It is estimated that 200,000 Africans died from famine with some areas completely and permanently devoid of human life. [144] [145] [146]

Tsardom of Russia's conquest of Siberia Edit

The Russian conquest of Siberia was accompanied by massacres due to indigenous resistance to colonization by the Russian Cossacks, who savagely crushed the natives. At the hands of people like Vasilii Poyarkov in 1645 and Yerofei Khabarov in 1650 some peoples like the Daur were slaughtered by the Russians to the extent that it is considered genocide. 8,000 out of a previously 20,000 strong population in Kamchatka remained after being subjected to half a century of Cossack slaughter. [147]

In the 1640s the Yakuts were subjected to massacres during the Russian advance into their land near the Lena River, and on Kamchatka in the 1690s the Koryak, Kamchadals, and Chukchi were also subjected to massacres by the Russians. [148] When the Russians did not obtain the demanded amount of yasak from the natives, the Governor of Yakutsk, Piotr Golovin, who was a Cossack, used meat hooks to hang the native men. In the Lena basin, 70% of the Yakut population died within 40 years, and rape and enslavement were used against native women and children in order to force the natives to pay the Yasak. [149]

In Kamchatka the Russians savagely crushed the Itelmens uprisings against their rule in 1706, 1731, and 1741, the first time the Itelmen were armed with stone weapons and were badly unprepared and equipped but they used gunpowder weapons the second time. The Russians faced tougher resistance when from 1745–1756 they tried to exterminate the gun and bow equipped Koraks until their victory. The Russian Cossacks also faced fierce resistance and were forced to give up when trying unsuccessfully to wipe out the Chukchi through genocide in 1729, 1730–1731, and 1744–1747. [150] After the Russian defeat in 1729 at Chukchi hands, the Russian commander Major Pavlutskiy was responsible for the Russian war against the Chukchi and the mass slaughters and enslavement of Chukchi women and children in 1730–1731, but his cruelty only made the Chukchis fight more fiercely. [151] A genocide of the Chukchis and Koraks was ordered by Empress Elizabeth in 1742 to totally expel them from their native lands and erase their culture through war. The command was that the natives be "totally extirpated" with Pavlutskiy leading again in this war from 1744–1747 in which he led to the Cossacks "with the help of Almighty God and to the good fortune of Her Imperial Highness", to slaughter the Chukchi men and enslave their women and children as booty. However the Chukchi ended this campaign and forced them to give up by killing Pavlitskiy and decapitating his head. [152]

The Russians were also launching wars and slaughters against the Koraks in 1744 and 1753–1754. After the Russians tried to force the natives to convert to Christianity, the different native peoples like the Koraks, Chukchis, Itelmens, and Yukagirs all united to drive the Russians out of their land in the 1740s, culminating in the assault on Nizhnekamchatsk fort in 1746. [153] Kamchatka today is European in demographics and culture with only 2.5% of it being native, around 10,000 from a previous number of 150,000, due to the mass slaughters by the Cossacks after its annexation in 1697 of the Itelmen and Koryaks throughout the first decades of Russian rule. [154] The genocide by the Russian Cossacks devastated the native peoples of Kamchatka and exterminated much of their population. [155] [156] In addition to committing genocide they Cossacks also devastated the wildlife by slaughtering massive numbers of animals for fur. [157] 90% of the Kamchadals and half of the Vogules were killed from the eighteenth to nineteenth centuries and the rapid genocide of the indigenous population led to entire ethnic groups being entirely wiped out, with around 12 exterminated groups which could be named by Nikolai Iadrintsev as of 1882. Much of the slaughter was brought on by the fur trade. [158]

The Aleuts in the Aleutians were subjected to genocide and slavery by the Russians for the first 20 years of Russian rule, with the Aleut women and children captured by the Russians and Aleut men slaughtered. [159]

The Russian colonization of Siberia and treatment of the resident indigenous peoples has been compared to European colonization of the Americas, with similar negative impacts on the indigenous Siberians as upon the indigenous peoples of the Americas. One of these commonalities is the appropriation of indigenous peoples' land. [160]

Japanese Empire Edit

Colonization of Hokkaido Edit

The Ainu are an indigenous people in Japan (Hokkaidō). [161] In a 2009 news story, Japan Today reported, "Many Ainu were forced to work, essentially as slaves, for Wajin (ethnic Japanese), resulting in the breakup of families and the introduction of smallpox, measles, cholera and tuberculosis into their community. In 1869, the new Meiji government renamed Ezo as Hokkaido and unilaterally incorporated it into Japan. It banned the Ainu language, took Ainu land away, and prohibited salmon fishing and deer hunting." [162] Roy Thomas wrote: "Ill treatment of native peoples is common to all colonial powers, and, at its worst, leads to genocide. Japan's native people, the Ainu, have, however, been the object of a particularly cruel hoax, as the Japanese have refused to accept them officially as a separate minority people." [163] The Ainu have emphasized that they were the natives of the Kuril islands and that the Japanese and Russians were both invaders. [164] In 2004, the small Ainu community living in Russia in Kamchatka Krai wrote a letter to Vladimir Putin, urging him to reconsider any move to award the Southern Kuril islands to Japan. In the letter they blamed the Japanese, the Tsarist Russians and the Soviets for crimes against the Ainu such as killings and assimilation, and also urged him to recognize the Japanese genocide against the Ainu people, which was turned down by Putin. [165]

Colonization of Okinawa Edit

Okinawans are an indigenous people to the islands to the west of Japan, originally known as the Ryukyu Islands. [166] With skeletons dating back 32,000 years, the Okinawan or Ryukyu people, have a long history on the islands that includes a kingdom of its own known as the Ryukyu Kingdom. [167] The kingdom established trade relationships with China and Japan that began in the late 1500s and lasted until the 1860s. [168] In the 1590s Japan made its first attempt at subjecting the Ryukyu Kingdom by sending a group of 3,000 samurai armed with muskets to conquer the Ryukyu kingdom. [166] Indefinite take over was not achieved, however the Ryukyu Kingdom became an acting colony of Japan, and as a result paid homage to the Japanese while feigning their own independence to China to maintain trade. [166] In 1879 after a small rebellion by the Ryukyu people was squelched the Japanese government (The Ryukyu people had requested help from China to break all bonds from Japan) The Japanese punished Ryukyu by officially naming it a state of Japan and re branding the kingdom as Okinawa. [168] Much like the Ainu people, the people of the Ryukyu Islands were punished for speaking their own language, forced to identify with Japanese myths and legends (forgoing their own legends), renamed (Okinawa), forced to change their first and last names to Japanese names, and forced reorient their religion around the Japanese Emperor. [166] Japan had officially expanded their colonization to the Okinawan islands, where the Okinawans didn't play a significant role in Japan's history until the end of World War II. [168]

America brought the war to Japan, the first area that was effected were the Okinawan Islands. [169] The Okinawan citizens forced into becoming soldiers were told that Americans would take no prisoners. In addition to the warnings Okinawans were given a grenade per household, the use of the grenade was reserved in case Americans gained control of the island, with the standing orders to have a member of the household gather everyone and pull the pin for mass suicide. [169] Okinawans were told this was to avoid the "inevitable" torture that would follow any occupation. [169] In addition the Japanese army kicked any natives out of their homes that weren't currently serving in the army (women and children included) and forced them into open, unprotected, spaces such as beaches and caves. These happened to be the first place the Americans arrived on the island. As a result, more than 120,000 Okinawans (between a quarter and a third of the population) died, soldiers and civilians alike. [166] [169] The Americans took over the island and the war was soon over. Okinawa had again become a colony, this time to America. America launched their main base in Asia from Okinawa and the Emperor of Japan approved, giving Okinawa to America for an agreed 25–50 years to move the majority of Americans out of mainland Japan. [166] To that end, Americans have been in Okinawa for 74 years and show no signs of leaving. [166] In the occupation Okinawan natives were forced to give up their best cultivating land to the Americans occupying their island. They maintain them to this day. [166]

Issues in Okinawa have yet to be resolved regarding the expired stay of American soldiers. Although Okinawa was given back to Japan, the American base still stays. The Japanese government has yet to take action, despite Okinawans raising the Issue. [166] However this isn't the only problem that the Japanese Government has refused to take action with. Okinawans were ruled an Indigenous people in 2008 by the committee of the United Nations (UN), in addition to their original languages being recognized as endangered or Severely endangered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) The UN has encouraged that Okinawan history, and language be mandatorily taught in schools in Okinawa. Nothing has yet to be done. [166] Okinawans are now in a cultural struggle that matches that of the Ainu people. [161] They are not allowed to be Japanese-Okinawan, the only term that is accepted nationally or legally is Japanese. [170] To Change their cultural crisis there are few apparent choices. The Okinawan people can commit a genocide of culture and forget their distinct differences and history to be accepted nationally, or accept their differences and become an outcast to the Japanese homologous society. [170]

Genocide of Oroqen and Hezhen Edit

During the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), the Japanese performed "bacterial experiments" on the Oroqen people and introduced them to opium which contributed to their deaths and caused their population to decline until only 1,000 of them remained alive at the end of the war. [171] [172] [173] [174] [175] The Japanese banned the Oroqen from communicating with members of other ethnicities, and they also forced them to hunt animals for them in exchange for starvation rations and unsuitable clothing which caused them to die from exposure to the inclement weather. The Japanese also forced Oroqen adults who were older than 18 to take opium. After 2 Japanese troops were killed in Alihe by an Oroqen hunter, the Japanese poisoned 40 Oroqen to death. [176] The Japanese forced the Oroqen to fight the war for them which led to a decrease in the Oroqen population. [177]

The Hezhen population declined by 90% due to deaths that resulted from acts of Japanese cruelty which included forced opium use, slave labor and relocation by the Japanese. [178] [179] [180] [181] When the Japanese were defeated in 1945, only 300 Hezhen were left alive out of a total pre-war population that was estimated to number 1,200 in 1930. [182] It has been described as genocide. [183]

Vietnamese conquest of Champa Edit

The Cham and Vietnamese had a long history of conflic, with many wars subduing to do economic exhaustion. It was common that the "antagonist" of the wars would rebuild their economies simpy to go to war again. [184] In 1471, Champa was particularly weakened prior to the Vietnamese invasion by a series of civil wars. The Vietnamese conquered Champa and settled its territory with Vietnamese migrants during the march to the south after fighting repeated wars with Champa, shatterring Champa in the invasion of Champa in 1471 and finally completing the conquest in 1832 under Emperor Minh Mang. 100,000 Cham soldiers besieged a Vietnamese garrison which led to anger from Vietnam and orders to attack Champa. 30,000 Chams were captured and over 40,000 were killed. [185]

Dzungar genocide Edit

Some scholars estimate that about 80% of the Dzungar (Western Mongol) population (600,000 or more) were destroyed by a combination of warfare and disease in the Dzungar genocide during the Qing conquest of Dzungar Khanate in 1755–1757, in which Manchu Bannermen and Khalkha Mongols exterminated the Dzungar Oirat Mongols. [186] Mark Levene, a historian whose recent research interests focus on genocide, [187] has stated that the extermination of the Dzungars was "arguably the eighteenth-century genocide par excellence." [188]

Anti-Zunghar Uyghur rebels from the Turfan and Hami oases had submitted to Qing rule as vassals and requested Qing help for overthrowing Zunghar rule. Uyghur leaders like Emin Khoja were granted titles within the Qing nobility, and these Uyghurs helped supply the Qing military forces during the anti-Zunghar campaign. [189] [190] [191] The Qing employed Khoja Emin in its campaign against the Dzungars and used him as an intermediary with Muslims from the Tarim Basin to inform them that the Qing were only aiming to kill Oirats (Zunghars) and that they would leave the Muslims alone, and also to convince them to kill the Oirats (Dzungars) themselves and side with the Qing since the Qing noted the Muslims' resentment of their former experience under Zunghar rule at the hands of Tsewang Araptan. [192]

In places like the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, settler colonialism was carried out by the British. Foreign land viewed as attractive for settlement was declared as terra nullius or "nobody's land". The indigenous inhabitants were therefore denied any sovereignty or property rights in the eyes of the British. [193] This justified invasion and the violent seizure of native land to create colonies populated by British settlers. Colonization like this usually caused a large decrease in the indigenous population from war, newly introduced diseases, massacre by colonists and attempts at forced assimilation. The settlers from Britain and Europe grew rapidly in number and created entirely new societies. The indigenous population became an oppressed minority in their own country. The gradual violent expansion of colonies into indigenous land could last for centuries, as it did in the Australian frontier wars and American Indian Wars. [194]

Widespread population decline occurred following conquest principally from introduction of infectious disease. The number of Australian Aborigines declined by 84% after British colonization. [195] The Maori population of New Zealand suffered a 57% drop from its highest point. [196] In Canada, the indigenous first nations population of British Columbia decreased by 75%. [197] Surviving indigenous groups continued to suffer from severe racially motivated discrimination from their new colonial societies. [198] Aboriginal children, the Stolen Generations, were confiscated by the Australian government and subject to forced assimilation and child abuse for most of the 20th century. Aborigines were only granted the right to vote in some states in 1962. [199]

Similarly, the Canadian government has apologized for its historical "attitudes of racial and cultural superiority" and "suppression" of the first nations, including its role in residential schools where first nation children were confined and abused. [200] Canada has been accused of genocide for its historical compulsory sterilization of indigenous peoples in Alberta during the fears of jobs being stolen by immigrants and living lives of poverty provoked by the great depression. [201]

It has proven a controversial question whether the drastic population decline can be considered an example of genocide, and scholars have argued whether the process as a whole or specific periods and local processes qualify under the legal definition. Raphael Lemkin, the originator of the term "genocide", considered the colonial replacement of Native Americans by English and later British colonists to be one of the historical examples of genocide. [202] Historian Niall Ferguson has referred to the case in Tasmania as "an event that truly merits the now overused term 'genocide'", [203] and mentions Ireland and North America as areas that suffered ethnic cleansing at the hands of the British. [204] According to Patrick Wolfe in the Journal of Genocide Research, the "frontier massacring of indigenous peoples" by the British constitutes a genocide. [205]

The numerous massacres and widespread starvation that accompanied the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland (1649–1653) has led to it being called a genocide hundreds of thousands of Irish civilians died, and about 50,000 Irish were sold into indentured servitude. As one author put it, "A loss of more than 40 per cent of the population might, however, suggest a conscious plan of elimination based on racial and religious hatred, which in other circumstances and times would rightly be called genocide. Cromwell’s murderous campaign in Ireland was fuelled by a pathological hatred of Irish Catholics, which he himself clearly expressed." [206]

The Plantations of Ireland were attempts to expel the native Irish from the best land of the island, and settle it with loyal British Protestants they too have been described as genocidal. [207] The Great Famine (1845–1850) has also been blamed on British policy and called genocidal. [208] [209] Writing in Indian Country Today, Christina Rose drew parallels between the Irish and Native American experience of dispossession and genocide Katie Kane has compared the Sand Creek massacre with the Drogheda massacre. R. Barry O’Brien compared the Irish Rebellion of 1641 with the Indian Wars, writing “The warfare which ensued… resembled that waged by the early settlers in America with the native tribes. No mercy whatever was shown to the natives, no act of treachery was considered dishonourable, no personal tortures and indignities were spared to the captives. The slaughter of Irishmen was looked upon as literally the slaughter of wild beasts. Not only the men, but even the women and children who fell into the hands of the English were deliberately and systematically butchered. Year after year, over a great part of all Ireland, all means of human subsistence was destroyed, no quarter was given to prisoners who surrendered, and the whole population was skillfully and steadily starved to death.” [210] Similar to the European Colonization of The Americas, the death toll under the British Empire is estimated to be as high as 150 million. [211] [212]

Colonization of Australia and Tasmania Edit

The so-called extinction of the Aboriginal Tasmanians is regarded as a classic case of near genocide by Lemkin, most comparative scholars of genocide, and many general historians, including Robert Hughes, Ward Churchill, Leo Kuper and Jared Diamond, who base their analysis on previously published histories. [213] Between 1824 and 1908 White settlers and Native Mounted Police in Queensland, according to Raymond Evans, killed more than 10,000 Aboriginal people, who were regarded as vermin and sometimes even hunted for sport. [214]

Of an estimated population in 1788 of over half a million, fewer than 50,000 Aboriginal people survived by 1900. Most perished from introduced diseases, but possibly 20,000 people were killed by British troops, police, and settlers in the Australian frontier wars and massacres accompanying their dispossession. [215] Ben Kiernan, an Australian historian of genocide, treats the Australian evidence over the first century of colonization as an example of genocide in his 2007 history of the concept and practice, Blood and soil: a world history of genocide and extermination from Sparta to Darfur. [216] The Australian practice of removing the children of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent from their families, has been described as genocidal. [217] [218] The 1997 report Bringing Them Home, which examined the fate of the "stolen generations" concluded that the forced separation of Aboriginal children from their family constituted an act of genocide. [219] In the 1990s a number of Australian state institutions, including the state of Queensland, apologized for its policies regarding forcible separation of Aboriginal children. [220] Another allegation against the Australian state is the use of medical services to Aboriginal people to administer contraceptive therapy to Aboriginal women without their knowledge or consent, including the use of Depo Provera, as well as tubal ligations. Both forced adoption and forced contraception would fall under the provisions of the UN genocide convention. [221] Some Australian scholars, including historians Geoffrey Blainey and Keith Windschuttle and political scientist Ken Minogue, reject the view that Australian Aboriginal policy was genocidal. [222]

Famines in British India Edit

Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World is a book by Mike Davis about the connection between political economy and global climate patterns, particularly El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). By comparing ENSO episodes in different time periods and across countries, Davis explores the impact of colonialism and the introduction of capitalism, and the relation with famine in particular. Davis argues that "Millions died, not outside the 'modern world system', but in the very process of being forcibly incorporated into its economic and political structures. They died in the golden age of Liberal Capitalism indeed, many were murdered . by the theological application of the sacred principles of Smith, Bentham and Mill." [223]

Davis characterizes the Indian famines under the British Raj as "colonial genocide." Some scholars, including Niall Ferguson, have disputed this judgment, while others, including Adam Jones, have affirmed it. [224] [225]

Rubber Boom in Congo and Putumayo Edit

From 1879 to 1912, the world experienced a rubber boom. Rubber prices skyrocketed, and it became increasingly profitable to extract rubber from rainforest zones in South America and Central Africa. Rubber extraction was labor-intensive, and the need for a large workforce had a significant negative effect on the indigenous population across Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia and in the Congo. The owners of the plantations or rubber barons were rich, but those who collected the rubber made very little, as a large amount of rubber was needed to be profitable. Rubber barons rounded up all the Indians and forced them to tap rubber out of the trees. Slavery and gross human rights abuses were widespread, and in some areas, 90% of the Indian population was wiped out. One plantation started with 50,000 Indians and when the killings were discovered, only 8,000 were still alive. These rubber plantations were part of the Brazilian rubber market which declined as rubber plantations in Southeast Asia became more effective. [226]

Roger Casement, an Irishman travelling the Putumayo region of Peru as a British consul during 1910–1911, documented the abuse, slavery, murder, and use of stocks for torture against the native Indians: [227]

"The crimes charged against many men now in the employ of the Peruvian Amazon Company are of the most atrocious kind, including murder, violation, and constant flogging."

The genocide of indigenous tribes is still an ongoing feature in the modern world, with the ongoing depopulation of the Jivaro, Yanomami and other tribes in Brazil having been described as genocide. [132] Multiple incidents of rioting against the muslim community in India have been described as genocidal in nature. [228] Paraguay has also been accused of carrying out a genocide against the Aché whose case was brought before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission. The commission gave a provisional ruling that genocide had not been committed by the state, but did express concern over "possible abuses by private persons in remote areas of the territory of Paraguay." [229]

Brazil Edit

From the late 1950s until 1968, the state of Brazil submitted their indigenous peoples of Brazil to violent attempts to integrate, pacify and acculturate their communities. In 1967 public prosecutor Jader de Figueiredo Correia, submitted the Figueiredo Report to the dictatorship which was then ruling the country, the report which ran to seven thousand pages was not released until 2013. The report documents genocidal crimes against the indigenous peoples of Brazil, including mass murder, torture and bacteriological and chemical warfare, reported slavery, and sexual abuse. The rediscovered documents are being examined by the National Truth Commission who have been tasked with the investigations of human rights violations which occurred in the periods 1947 through to 1988. The report reveals that the IPS had enslaved indigenous people, tortured children and stolen land. The Truth Commission is of the opinion that entire tribes in Maranhão were completely eradicated and in Mato Grosso, an attack on thirty Cinturão Largo left only two survivors. The report also states that landowners and members of the IPS had entered isolated villages and deliberately introduced smallpox. Of the one hundred and thirty-four people accused in the report the state has as yet not tried a single one, [230] since the Amnesty Law passed in the end of the dictatorship does not allow trials for the abuses which happened in such period. The report also detailed instances of mass killings, rapes, and torture, Figueiredo stated that the actions of the IPS had left the indigenous peoples near extinction. The state abolished the IPS following the release of the report. The Red Cross launched an investigation after further allegations of ethnic cleansing were made after the IPS had been replaced. [231] [232]

China Edit

The Uyghur genocide is the ongoing series of human rights abuses perpetrated by the Chinese government against the native Uyghur people and other ethnic and religious minorities in and around the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of the People's Republic of China. [233] [234] [235] Since 2014, [236] the Chinese government, under the direction of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the administration of CCP general secretary Xi Jinping, has pursued policies leading to more than one million Muslims [237] [238] [239] [240] [241] (the majority of them Uyghurs) being held in secretive internment camps without any legal process [242] [243] in what has become the largest-scale detention of ethnic and religious minorities since the Holocaust. [244] [245] Critics of the policy have described it as the Sinicization of Xinjiang and have called it an ethnocide or cultural genocide, [252] while some governments, activists, independent NGOs, human rights experts, academics, government officials, independent researchers, and the East Turkistan Government-in-Exile have called it a genocide. [258] [259] In particular, critics have highlighted the concentration of Uyghurs in state-sponsored internment camps, [261] suppression of Uyghur religious practices, [264] political indoctrination, [265] severe ill-treatment, [266] and extensive evidence [267] [268] of human rights abuses including forced sterilization, contraception, [269] [270] and abortion. [274] Chinese authorities confirmed that birth rates dropped by almost a third in 2018 in Xinjiang, but denied reports of forced sterilization and genocide. [275]

Colombia Edit

In the protracted conflict in Colombia, indigenous groups such as the Awá, Wayuu, Pijao and Paez people have become subjected to intense violence by right-wing paramilitaries, leftist guerrillas, and the Colombian army. [276] [277] Drug cartels, international resource extraction companies and the military have also used violence to force the indigenous groups out of their territories. [278] [279] [280] The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia argues that the violence is genocidal in nature, but others question whether there is a "genocidal intent" as required in international law. [281] [282]

Congo (DRC) Edit

In the Democratic Republic of Congo genocidal violence against the indigenous Mbuti, Lese and Ituri peoples has reportedly been endemic for decades. During the Congo Civil War (1998–2003), Pygmies were hunted down and eaten by both sides in the conflict, who regarded them as subhuman. [283] Sinafasi Makelo, a representative of Mbuti pygmies, has asked the UN Security Council to recognize cannibalism as a crime against humanity and also as an act of genocide. [284] According to a report by Minority Rights Group International there is evidence of mass killings, cannibalism and rape. The report, which labeled these events as a campaign of extermination, linked much of the violence to beliefs about special powers held by the Bambuti. [285] In Ituri district, rebel forces ran an operation code-named "Effacer le Tableau" (to wipe the slate clean). The aim of the operation, according to witnesses, was to rid the forest of pygmies. [286] [287] [288]

East Timor Edit

Indonesia invaded East Timor or Timor-Leste, which had previously been a Portuguese colony, in 1975. Following this, the Indonesian government encouraged repressive military policies to deal with ethnic protests and armed resistance in the area and encouraged settlement to the region by people from other parts of Indonesia. The violence between 1975 and 1993 had claimed between 120,000 and 200,000 people. The repression entered the international spotlight in 1991 when a protest in Dili was disrupted by Indonesian forces who killed over 250 people and disappeared hundreds of others. The Santa Cruz massacre, as the event became known, drew significant international attention to the issue (highlighted with the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize being provided to Catholic Bishop Carlos Belo and resistance leader José Ramos-Horta). Following the international outcry, the Indonesian government began organizing a host of paramilitary groups in East Timor which continued harassing and killing pro-independence activists. At the same time, the Indonesian government significantly increased efforts at population resettlement to the area and destruction of infrastructure and the environment used by East Timorese communities. This eventually resulted in an international intervention force to be deployed for a vote by the population for independence of East Timor in 1999. The vote was significant in favor of independence and the Indonesian forces withdrew, although paramilitaries continued carrying out reprisal attacks for a few years. [289] [290] A UN Report on the Indonesian occupation identified starvation, defoliant and napalm use, torture, rape, sexual slavery, disappearances, public executions, and extrajudicial killings as sanctioned by the Indonesian government and the entire colflict resulting in reducing the population to a third of its 1975 level. [291]

Guatemala Edit

During the Guatemalan Civil War (1960–1996), the state forces carried out violent atrocities against the Maya. The government considered the Maya to be aligned with the communist insurgents, which they sometimes were but often were not. Guatemalan armed forces carried out three campaigns that have been described as genocidal. The first was a scorched earth policy which was also accompanied by mass killing, including the forced conscription of Mayan boys into the military where they were sometimes forced to participate in massacres against their own home villages. The second was to hunt down and exterminate those who had survived and evaded the army and the third was the forced relocation of survivors to "reeducation centers" and the continued pursuit of those who had fled into the mountains. [292] The armed forces used genocidal rape of women and children as a deliberate tactic. Children were bludgeoned to death by beating them against walls or thrown alive into mass graves where they would be crushed by the weight of the adult dead thrown atop them. [293] An estimated 200,000 people, most of them Maya, disappeared during the Guatemalan Civil War. [288] After the 1996 peace accords, a legal process was begun to determine the legal responsibility of the atrocities, and to locate and identify the disappeared. In 2013 former president Efraín Ríos Montt was convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity, and was sentenced to 80 years imprisonment. [294] Ten days later, the Constitutional Court of Guatemala overturned the conviction. [295] [296]

Yazidi genocide in Iraq Edit

The Yazidis are a group of monotheistic indigenous minority in the Middle East, who have often been victims of violence and stigma from Islamist extremists in Iraq (most recently ISIL, although other Islamist groups were involved in the past), with multiple studies concluding acts of genocide on the Yazidi community in Iraq, including mass killings and rape. [297] [298] While centuries of violence have been reported, recent examples include deadly terrorist attacks targeting the Yazidi community including the 2007 Yazidi communities bombings and the August 2014 Sinjar massacre. Yazidi women and girls have often been kept as sex slave and been subjected to slave trade by ISIL terrorists during the most recent events of the genocide of Yazidis by ISIL, which forced the displacement of over 500,000 Yazidis being displaced from Iraq. In 2014 alone 5000 Yazidis were killed, while the genocide has existed long before that and is still ongoing. [299] [300]

Indonesia Edit

From the time of its independence until the late 1960s, the Indonesian government sought control of the western half of the island of New Guinea, which had remained under the control of the Netherlands. [301] When it finally achieved internationally recognized control of the area, a number of clashes occurred between the Indonesian government and the Free Papua Movement. The government of Indonesia began a series of measures aimed to suppress the organization in the 1970s and the suppression reached high levels in the mid-1980s. [302] The resulting human rights abuses included extrajudicial killings, torture, disappearances, rape, and harassment of indigenous people throughout the province. [303] A 2004 report by the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School identified both the mass violence and the transmigration policies which encouraged mostly Balinese and Javanese families to relocate to the area as strong evidence "that the Indonesian government has committed proscribed acts with the intent to destroy the West Papuans as such, in violation of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide." [304] Genocide against indigenous people in the region were key claims made in the U.S. case of Beanal v. Freeport, one of the first lawsuits where indigenous people outside the U.S. petitioned to get a ruling against a multinational corporation for environmental destruction outside of the U.S. While the petitioner, an indigenous leader, claimed that the mining company Freeport-McMoRan had committed genocide through environmental destruction which "resulted in the purposeful, deliberate, contrived and planned demise of a culture of indigenous people," the court found that genocide pertains only to destruction of indigenous people and did not apply to the destruction of the culture of indigenous people however, the court did leave open the opportunity for the petitioners to amend their filings with additional claim. [305]

Myanmar/Burma Edit

In Myanmar (Burma), the long-running civil war between the Military Junta and the insurgents has resulted in widespread atrocities against the indigenous Karen people some of whom are allied with the insurgents. These atrocities have been described as genocidal. [306] Burmese General Maung Hla stated that one day the Karen will only exist "in a museum" [307] The government has deployed 50 battalions in the Northern sector systematically attacking Karen villages with mortar and machine gun fire, and landmines. At least 446,000 Karen have been displaced from their homes by the military. [306] [308] The Karen are also reported to have been subjected to forced labor, genocidal rape, child labor and the conscription of child soldiers. [309] The Rohingya people have also been subjected to persecution mass killings, genocidal mass rapes and forced displacement. The Myanmar army burned their villages and forced them to flee the country. Mass graves which contain the remains of many victims of genocide were discovered. By 2017 over 700,000 Rohingya people fled to Bangladesh, whose government was praised for giving shelter to them. [310] [311]

Paraguay Edit

There are 17 indigenous tribes which primarily live in the Chaco region of Paraguay. In 2002, their numbers were estimated to be 86,000. During the period between 1954 and 1989, when the military dictatorship of General Alfredo Stroessner ruled Paraguay, the indigenous population of the country suffered from more loss of territory and human rights abuses than at any other time in the nation's history. In early 1970, international groups claimed that the state was complicit in the genocide of the Aché, with charges ranging from kidnapping and the sale of children, withholding medicines and food, slavery and torture. [312] During the 1960s and 1970s, 85% of the Aché people were killed, often hacked to death with machetes, in order to make room for the timber industry, mining, farming and ranchers. [131] According to Jérémie Gilbert, the situation in Paraguay has proven that it is difficult to provide the proof required to show "specific intent", in support of a claim that genocide had occurred. The Aché, whose cultural group is now seen as extinct, fell victim to development by the state who had promoted the exploration of their territories by transnational companies for natural resources. Gilbert concludes that although a planned and voluntary destruction had occurred, it is argued by the state that there was no intent to destroy the Aché, as what had happened was due to development and was not a deliberate action. [313] [314]

Tibet Edit

On 5 June 1959 Shri Purshottam Trikamdas, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India, presented a report on Tibet to the International Commission of Jurists (an NGO):

From the facts stated above the following conclusions may be drawn: . (e) To examine all such evidence obtained by this Committee and from other sources and to take appropriate action thereon and in particular to determine whether the crime of Genocide – for which already there is strong presumption – is established and, in that case, to initiate such action as envisaged by the Genocide Convention of 1948 and by the Charter of the United Nations for suppression of these acts and appropriate redress [315]

According to the Tibet Society of the UK, "In all, over one million Tibetans, a fifth of the population, had died as a result of the Chinese occupation right up until the end of the Cultural Revolution." [316]

Teaching Native American History in a Polarized Age

When Pope Francis canonized the Franciscan monk Junípero Serra during his 2015 visit to the United States, he brought into the light of public debate the still precarious position of Native Americans in the collective historical consciousness of American people. The canonization of Serra, an eighteenth-century monk who used corporal punishment to evangelize California's indigenous peoples, exposes the ongoing historical tension between how we view the history of colonialism in the Americas and how we understand the place of Native Americans in our collective past.(1)

Native American history is rich and complex, replete with traditions thousands of years in the making it is also a history tainted by the exploitative excesses of settler colonialism. Getting American college students to grapple with the complexities of Native American history is one of the great challenges of teaching in twenty-first-century college classrooms. Thus, while Serra's canonization sparked controversy, it also presented college educators with an opportunity to challenge their students to rethink the place of indigenous people in American history.

The challenges involved in teaching a more nuanced Native American history are multifaceted and not confined to debate about Serra's 2015 canonization. We live in an age of social and political polarization, an era in which some of our leaders demand a "pro-American" history curriculum for K–12 students. Ours is also a time when violence is all too commonplace in our communities, and when serious intellectual debate over historical symbols causes deep anxieties everywhere from the op-ed pages of our newspapers to college classrooms.(2) Talking about the various social, political, and environmental issues that influenced Native American histories, and the role that Europeans like Serra played in those histories, can therefore be a stressful experience for some students.

In recent years I've discovered that many students find Native American history a mystery they're curious, but a lack of historical knowledge has them feeling reticent to engage in conversation. Many of these students express disappointment about the limitations of their K–12 history education. Others bring deep-seated cultural assumptions, clichés, and racial preconceptions about Native American people with them when they arrive at university.

While cultural stereotypes about Native Americans certainly present challenges to the cultivation of a more nuanced understanding of the place of indigenous people in American history, they also offer college educators teaching opportunities. Personally, I'm quite interested in the historical preconceptions that my students bring to the study of American Indian history. At the beginning of each semester I encourage students to give me a sense of what they know about Native American people and their history. Here's a sampling.

Several years ago a student in a class about Native Americans in the Southeast confidently informed me that "I'm related to Pocahontas and my family has the paperwork to prove it." I never saw that documentation.

Significantly, that student is not alone. In Virginia, where I teach, students often claim descent from Pocahontas. It's easy to be cynical about such claims, but the students who make these bold pronouncements tend to perceive the study of American Indian history in very personal terms, with many enrolling in indigenous history classes hoping to deepen not only their knowledge of Native America, but to gain a deeper understanding of themselves.

Other students express attitudes that range from the romantic to the dismissive. Some continue to perceive Native Americans as the ultimate ecologists living in "harmony" with nature. Still others give voice to divergent views about the media coverage of the "redskin" mascot controversy.(3) Students express either condemnation for what they perceive as a blatantly racist symbol, while others, often young men, offer dismissive comments about diversity, "political correctness," and racial sensitivity. As one of my students recently put it, "I don't see what's so offensive about [the "redskin" mascot]."

It's not hard to understand why students have such divergent, and occasionally offensive, perspectives. The purveyors of popular culture—from Hollywood filmmakers to professional sports franchises—continue to fall back on racial stereotypes of Native Americans, thereby naturalizing representations of indigenous people as racially different or even inferior.(4)

It is the case that doing justice to the panoply of human experiences that constitute American history requires a serious engagement with American Indian history.(5) But encouraging students to question cultural stereotypes about indigenous Americans is the most common challenge facing historians who teach Native American history at the college level. There are, however, other challenges.

For instance, I've lost count of the number of students who've graduated from public schools in Virginia and expressed frustration at how "standards of learning" rubrics and bureaucratic metrics narrowed their high school history education. From a young age, these students still learn that "in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue" and sit through simplistic lessons about Squanto and the origins of Thanksgiving. This might count as "patriotic history," but the dumbing down of Native American history in K–12 classrooms leaves students ill-prepared for the type of critical thinking skills needed in college classrooms and, in the long-term, imperils, rather than strengthens, American democracy.

So can college educators overcome these multifaceted challenges to teaching Native American history? I think we can. Most students are thirsting for a more inclusive history of the United States and want to grapple with the significance of an American history in which American Indians are woven into the brutal story of the nation's settler colonial past.

Starting with misconceptions and cultural stereotypes can be a useful entry point to encourage students to think about the political (and politicized) uses of history. Engaging with the legends of Pocahontas or Squanto, for instance, makes it possible to think about how Europeans and Euroamericans have represented Native Americans in the service of nation-building propaganda.

The college classroom should also be a space where students can analyze the often-brutal aspects of American history. Take, for instance, the history of colonial warfare and disease transfer. For some time historians such as Paul Kelton have exposed the limitations of Alfred Crosby's famous "virgin soil thesis." In my classes, I provide students with an opportunity to read and reflect on Crosby's famous thesis and to compare his analysis with primary sources—written and oral—of disease outbreaks among Native communities in Eastern North America. The result of such analysis is a much more complex history in which students begin to see the active ways indigenous people understood and treated illness.

While we as college educators should not shy away from the more uncomfortable facets of American history, we also need to introduce students to the strength of indigenous communities and the significance of native cultures and traditions surviving and thriving in our current century. For example, recent media interest in Native American two-spirit people opens our classrooms to original discussions about gender, sexuality, and LGBTQ studies. Alternatively, exposing our students to both primary and secondary sources about indigenous concepts of kinship enables us to underscore the enduring significance of reciprocity in native cultures in ways that contrast it with the Western intellectual tradition of individualism and capitalistic accumulation.

The challenges to teaching Native American history in college classrooms are broad ranging they are cultural, institutional, and political in nature. But these challenges are not insurmountable. Indeed, a liberal education that views pedagogy as a means of engaging, intervening, and rethinking the place and roles of native people in American history constitutes an empowering educational experience for our students and cultivates a more open and democratic historical discourse. Such a broadening and deepening of our students' historical perspectives about Native American history may indeed be closer than we think.

Gregory Smithers teaches Native American history at Virginia Commonwealth University. His most recent book is The Cherokee Diaspora: An Indigenous History of Migration, Resettlement, and Identity (2015).

(1) Joshua Keating, "Why Is the Pope of the Poor Canonizing a Spanish Colonialist? Slate, September 23, 2015, http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/09/23/junipero_serra_why_is_the_pope_of

(2) Joseph Berger, "Confederate Symbols, Swastikas, and Student Sensibilities," New York Times, July 31, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/02/education/edlife/confederate-symbols-swastikas-and-student-sensibilities.html.

(3) Carol Spindel, Dancing at Halftime: Sports and the Controversy over American Indian Mascots (2000).

(4) Shannon Speed, "'Pro-American' History Textbooks Hurt Native Americans," Huffington Post, November 21, 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shannon-speed/proamerican-history-textb_b_6199070.html.

(5) Susan Sleeper-Smith, Juliana Barr, Jean M. O'Brien, and Nancy Shoemaker, Scott Manning Stevens eds., Why You Can't Teach United States History without American Indians (2015).

Forced Removal On The Trail Of Tears

Library of Congress In 1830, Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act which allowed the federal government to relocate thousands of tribes into what was called “Indian Country” in Oklahoma.

As the 18th century turned into the 19th, the government programs of conquest and extermination grew more organized and more official. Chief among these initiatives was the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which called for the removal of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole Tribes from their territories in the Southeast.

Between 1830 and 1850, the government forced nearly 100,000 Native Americans off of their homelands. The dangerous journey to “Indian Territory” in present-day Oklahoma is referred to as the “Trail of Tears,” where thousands died of cold, hunger, and disease.

It’s not known exactly how many Native Americans died on the Trail of Tears, but of the Cherokee tribe of 16,000 some 4,000 died on the journey. With nearly 100,000 people in total making the journey, it’s safe to assume that the Native American death count from the removals was in the thousands.

Time and again, when white Americans wanted native land, they simply took it. The 1848 California gold rush, for example, brought 300,000 people to Northern California from the East Coast, South America, Europe, China, and elsewhere.

Library of Congress A female shaman from California’s Hupa tribe, photographed in 1923 by Edward S. Curtis.

Historians believe that California was once the most diversely populated area for Native Americans in U.S. territory however, the gold rush had massive negative implications for Native American lives and livelihoods. Toxic chemicals and gravel ruined traditional native hunting and agricultural practices, resulting in starvation for many.

Additionally, miners often saw Native Americans as obstacles in their path that must be removed. Ed Allen, interpretive lead for Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, reported that there were times when miners would kill up to 50 or more Natives in one day. Before the gold rush, about 150,000 Native Americans lived in California. 20 years later, only 30,000 remained.

The Act for the Government and Protection of Indians, passed on April 22, 1850, by the California Legislature, even allowed settlers to kidnap natives and use them as slaves, prohibited native peoples’ testimony against settlers, and facilitated the adoption or purchasing of native children, often to use as labor.

California’s first Governor Peter H. Burnett remarked at the time, “A war of extermination will continue to be waged between the two races until the Indian race becomes extinct.”

With more and more native people ripped from their homelands, the reservation system began — bringing with it a new era of the Native American genocide in which the Native American death toll continued to rise.

Native American History in Kansas

When Christopher Columbus discovered America, the continent north of Mexico was inhabited by four great groups of aborigines, to whom was given the general name of “Indians,” the discoverers believing they had circumnavigated the earth and arrived at the eastern border of India. The Algonquin group, probably the most important of the four, inhabited a triangle which may be roughly described by a line drawn from the mouth of the St. Lawrence River to the Rocky Mountains, then by a line from that point to the Atlantic coast near the Neuse River, and up the coast to the place of beginning. Also, within this triangle lived the Iroquoian group, whose habitat was along the Lakes Erie and Ontario shores, extending to the lower Susquehanna River and westward into Illinois.

South and east of the triangle were the tribes of the Muskhogean stock, the Creek, Choctaw, etc. West of all these lay the Siouan group.

Kanza Chief White Plume by Charles Bird King about 1822.

When the first white men visited the region now comprising the State of Kansas, they found it inhabited by four tribes of Indians: the Kanza or Kaw, which occupied the northeastern and central part of the state, the Osage, who were located south of the Kanza the Pawnee, whose country lay west and north of the Kanza, and the Comanche, whose hunting grounds were in the western part of the state.

A handbook issued by the Bureau of American Ethnology in 1907 defined the Kanza as “A southwestern Siouan tribe.” Their linguistic relations are closest to the Osage and are also close with the Quapaw. In the traditional migration of the group, after the Quapaw had first separated therefrom, the main body divided at the mouth of the Osage River, the Osage moving up that stream and the Omaha and the Ponca crossing the Missouri River and proceeding northward, while the Kanza ascended the Missouri River on the south side of the mouth of the Kansas River.”

The 15th annual report of the Bureau of American Ethnology said: “According to tribal traditions collected by Dorsey [Indians of The Southwest, 1903], the ancestors of the Omaha, Ponca, Quapaw, Osage, and Kanza were originally one people dwelling on the Ohio and Wabash Rivers, but gradually working westward. The first separation took place at the mouth of the Ohio River. Those going down the Mississippi River became the Quapaw or “dawn stream people,” those who went up became the Omaha or “upstream people.”

After the Kanza separated from the Omaha and Ponca and established themselves at the mouth of the Kansas River, they gradually extended their domain to the present northern boundary of Kansas, where they were met and driven back by the Ioway and Sauk tribes, who had already come in contact with the white traders from whom they had received firearms. The Kanza, being without these superior weapons, were forced back to the Kansas River. Here, they were visited by the “Big Knives,” as they called the white men, who persuaded them to go farther west. The tribe then successfully occupied some 20 villages along the Kansas Valley before settling at Council Grove before they were finally removed to the Indian Territory in 1873.

Juan de Onate, Spanish Conquistador

The first white man to acquire a knowledge of the Kanza Indians was Spanish Conquistador Juan de Onate, who met them on his expedition in 1601 and referred to them as the “Escansaques.”

Although French missionary Jacques Marquette’s map of 1673 showed the location of the Kanza Indians, the French did not actually come in contact with the tribe until 1750, when the French explorers and traders ascended the Missouri River to the mouth of the Kansas River, where they met with a welcome reception from the Indians.

These early Frenchmen gave the tribe the name of Kah or Kaw, which, according to the story of an old Osage warrior, was a term of derision, meaning coward, and was given to the Kanza by the Osage because they refused to join in a war against the Cherokee. Another Frenchman, Etienne Venyard Sieur de Bourgmont, who visited the tribe in 1724, called them the “Canzes” and reported that they had two villages on the Missouri River, one about 40 miles above the mouth of the Kansas River and the other farther up the river, both on the right bank. These villages were also mentioned by Lewis and Clark nearly a century later.

George J. Remsburg, who was regarded as an authority on matters relating to the Kanza Indians, said the grand village of the tribe was located where the town of Doniphan now stands and was known as the “Village of the Twenty-four.” After the white settlers induced them to remove farther west, the principal village of the tribe was near the southwest corner of Pottawatomie County. In the spring of 1880, Franklin G. Adams, Secretary of the Kansas Historical Society, had surveyed this village. In his report, he stated that the old village was “about two miles east of Manhattan, on a neck of land between the Kansas and Big Blue Rivers.

The 15th annual report of the Bureau of American Ethnology said there was a Kanza village at the Saline River’s mouth and that the first treaty between them and the United States was concluded there. After the treaty of 1825, the tribes moved east again and in 1830 had two villages near the mouth of Mission Creek a short distance west of Topeka. The village of American Chief, containing some 20 lodges and 100 followers, was on the west side of the creek about two miles from the Kansas River. Hard Chief’s village, nearer the river, had some 500 or 600 inhabitants, and a third village that of Fool Chief was located on the north side of the Kansas River, not far from the Menoken Union Pacific Railroad station.

In 1847, several remnants of the tribe were ordered to what was known as the “diminished reserve” at Council Grove. Concerning this movement on the part of the government of the United States, George P. Morehouse, in his Kanza Indians and Their History, said: “It was not only a blunder, but it was criminal after cheating them out of their Kansas Valley homes, to remove them to Council Grove. Here, they were placed near a trading center on the Santa Fe Trail, where their contact with piejene (fire-water), the whiskey of the whites, and other vices, proved far more injurious than any knowledge of civilization received could overcome. Here, they were totally neglected religiously, and only experiments of a brief nature undertaken for their education.”

Among the Kanza, the gentile system prevailed. There were seven tribal subdivisions, and these were still further divided into 16 clans, including Manyinka (earth lodge), Ta (deer), Panka (Ponca), Kanza, Wasabe (black bear), Wanaghe (ghost), Kekin (carries a turtle on his back), Minkin (carries the sun on his back), Upan (elk), Khuga (white eagle), Han (night), Ibache (holds the firebrand to the sacred pipe), Hangatanga (large Hanga), Chedunga (buffalo bull), Chizhuwashtage (peacemaker), Lunikashinga (thundering people).

Ethnologically, the Osage were closely allied to the Kanza. Geographically they were divided into three bands — Pahatsi (great), Utsehta (little), and the Santsukhdi band, which lived in Arkansas. Marquette’s map of 1675 showed the tribe located on a stream believed to be the Osage River, and other explorers and writers located them in the same place. In 1686 Donay mentioned 17 villages of the Osage. Father Jaques Gravier, eight years later, wrote from the Illinois Mission that the tribe had but one village, the other 16 being mere hunting camps occupied only at intervals. Iberville, in 1701, gave an account of a tribe of some 1,500 families living in the region of the Arkansas River, near the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, and like them, speaking a language that he took to be Quapaw.

French explorer Jean La Harpe said the Osage were a warlike tribe that kept the Jean La Harpe Caddooan tribes in a state of terror. However, when the Illinois Indians were driven across the Mississippi River by the Iroquois, they found shelter with the Osage Nation.

Osage Indians by George Catlin.

Early in the 18th century, French traders visited the Osage and made peace treaties with the tribe that lasted for years. In 1714 some of the Osage warriors assisted the French against the Fox Indians at Detroit, and in 1806 a Little Osage chief named Chtoka (Wet Stone) told Lieutenant Zebulon Pike that he was at the defeat of General Braddock in 1755, with all the warriors of his tribe that could be spared from the village.

Some historians believe that that the Osage Nation was originally one people. According to Lewis and Clark, about half of the Great Osage, under a chief named Big Track, migrated to the Arkansas River about 1802 and laid the foundation of the Santsukhdi band. Two years after this separation, Lewis and Clark found the Great Osage, numbering 500 warriors, in a village on the south side of the Osage River, and the Little Osage, numbering 250 or 300 warriors, about six miles distant on the Arkansas River and one of its tributaries called the Vermilion River. The present Osage reservation was established in 1870.

The Indian name of the tribe was Wazhaze, which the French corrupted into Osage. A tribal tradition relates that originally the nation consisted of two tribes — the Tsishu or peace people and the Wazhaze or true Osage. The Tsishu lived on a vegetarian diet, while the Wazhazelatter, being a war people, ate meat. After a time, the two tribes began to trade with each other. The Tsishu later met a warlike people called the “Hangda-utadhantse,” with whom they made peace, and all three were then united under the general name of Wazhaze. After the consolidation, the tribe was divided into 14 bands — seven of the former Tsishu, five of the Hangda, and two of the Wazhaze, so that the number of bands of the peace people and the war people were equal.

The Pawnee Nation was a confederacy of tribes belonging to the Caddoan family and called themselves Chahiksichahiks, “men of men.” As the Caddoan tribes moved northeast, the Pawnee separated from the main body somewhere near the Platte River in Nebraska, where their traditions say they acquired territory by conquest and where the Siouan tribes subsequently found them.

There is some question about the origin of the name “Pawnee.” The word Pani, which has become synonymous with Pawnee, means “slave.” From this tribe that the Algonquian tribes about the great lakes obtained their slaves, some writers maintain that the word Pawnee is equivalent to the word slave and that the tribal name resulted from the fact that so many members of it were subjected to a state of bondage.

The tribal organization of the Pawnee was based on the village communities, which represented subdivisions of the tribe. Each village had its name, its hereditary chiefs, a shrine, priests, etc. The dominating power in their religion was Tirawa (father), whose messengers were the winds, thunder, lightning, and rain. Pawnee lodges were of two types — the common form of skins stretched over a framework of poles and the earth lodge. The latter was circular in form, from 30 to 60 feet in diameter, partly underground, and elaborate religious ceremonies usually accompanied its construction. Among the men, the only essential articles of wearing apparel were the breechcloth and moccasins, though a robe and leggings supplemented these in cold weather or on state occasions. After marriage, a man went to live with his wife’s family, though polygamy was not uncommon.

Pawnee Chief Pes-ke-le-cha-co by Charles Bird King, 1841.

Juan de Oñate, in his account of his expedition in 1601, says the Escansaques and Quivirans were hereditary enemies, and Professor Dunbar of the Kansas Historical Society demonstrated almost to an absolute certainty that the Quivirans mentioned by Oñate were the Pawnee, who were also the inhabitants of the ancient Indian province of Harahey. The first Pawnee to come in contact with the white man was the one whom the Spaniards of Coronado’s Expedition called “the Turk.” Soon after the expedition of Oñate, the Spanish settlers of New Mexico became acquainted with Pawnee through their raids into the white settlements for horses. For two centuries, the Spaniards tried to establish peaceful relations with the tribe, but with only partial success. Consequently, in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Pawnee villages were so remote from the white settlements that they escaped the influences generally so fatal to the aborigines.

In 1702, the estimated Pawnee population was about 2,000 families. When Louisiana was purchased from France by the United States a century later, the Pawnee country was south of the Niobrara River in Nebraska, extending southward into Kansas. On the west were the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, on the east were the Omaha, and south were the Otoe and Kanza. Soon after the Louisiana Purchase, the Pawnee came in contact with white traders from St. Louis. In September 1806, at the Pawnee village in Republic County, Kansas, Lieutenant Pike lowered the Spanish flag and raised the United States flag. In 1838 the number of Pawnee was estimated at 10,000, but in 1849 the tribe was reduced to about 4,500 by a cholera epidemic. Five years before this, however, they ceded to the United States their lands south of the Platte River and were removed from Kansas. Between 1873 and 1875, what remained of the tribe was settled upon a reservation in the Indian Territory. At that time, there were about 1,000, representing four tribes of what was once the great Pawnee Confederacy.

Comanche Hunting Buffalo by George Catlin

The Comanche or Padouca, who inhabited western Kansas in the early part of the 18th century, were an offshoot of Wyoming’s Shoshone, as shown by their language and traditions. The Siouan name was Padouca, by which they were called in the accounts of the early French explorers, notably Bourgmont, who visited the tribe in 1724. As late as 1805, the North Platte River was known as the Padouca Fork. At that time, the Comanche roamed over the country about the headwaters of the Arkansas, Red, Trinity, and Brazos Rivers in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. According to a Kiowa tradition, when that tribe moved southward from the country about the Black Hills, the Arkansas River formed the Comanche country’s northern boundary.

For nearly two centuries, the Comanche were at war with the Spaniards of the southwest and made frequent raids as far south as Durango. They were generally friendly with the Americans but did not like the Texans. The Comanche was probably never a large tribe, as they did not settle down in villages but lived as nomadic buffalo hunters, following the herds as they grazed from place to place. They were fine horsemen, the best riders on the plains, full of courage, had a high sense of honor, and considered themselves superior to the tribes they associated with. In 1867 they were given a reservation in southwestern Oklahoma, but they did not go to it until after the outbreak of the plains tribes in 1874-75.

The Cheyenne belonged to the Algonquian family. They are first mentioned in history by the name of “Chaa,” some of them visiting La Salle’s Fort on the Illinois River to invite the French to their country where beaver and other fur-bearing animals were plentiful. They inhabited the region bounded by the Mississippi, Minnesota, and upper Red Rivers. According to a Sioux tradition, the Cheyenne occupied the upper Mississippi country before the Sioux. When the latter appeared in that locality, there was some friction between the two tribes, which resulted in the Cheyenne crossing the Missouri River and locating about the Black Hills, where Lewis and Clark found them in 1804.

From there, they drifted westward and southward, first occupying the region about the headwaters of the Platte River and next along the Arkansas River in the vicinity of Bent’s Fort, Colorado. A portion of the tribe remained on the Platte and the Yellowstone Rivers and became known as the Northern Cheyenne.

Cheyenne Chief Eagle Feather

The Cheyenne have a tradition that when they lived in Minnesota, before the coming of the Sioux, they lived in fixed villages, practiced agriculture, made pottery, etc.. Still, everything was changed when the tribe was driven out, and they became roving hunters. About the only institution of the old life that remained with them was the great tribal ceremony of the Sun Dance.

In 1838 the Cheyenne and Arapaho attacked the Kiowa on Wolf Creek, Oklahoma, but two years later, peace was established between the tribes, after which the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa Comanche, and Apache were frequently allied in wars against the whites.

The northern Cheyenne joined the Sioux in the Sitting Bull War of 1876. In the winter of 1878-79, a band of the northern Cheyenne was taken as prisoners to Fort Reno, Oklahoma, to be colonized with the southern Cheyenne in Oklahoma. The chiefs Dull Knife, Wild Hog, and Little Wolf, with about 200 followers, escaped and were pursued to the Dakota border, where most of the warriors were killed.

In February 1861, the Cheyenne and Arapaho relinquished their title to lands in Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, and northwest Kansas, and in 1867, the southern Cheyenne were given a reservation in western Oklahoma. They refused to occupy it however, until after the surrender of 1875, when some of their leaders were sent to Florida as a final means of quelling the insurrection. In 1902, the southern Cheyenne were allotted lands in severalty. Two years later, the Bureau of Ethnology reported 3,300 members of the tribe — 1,900 southern and 1,400 northern.

Arapaho Warrior by Edward S. Curtis

The Arapaho, a plains tribe of the Algonquian group, was closely allied with the Cheyenne for almost a century. They were called by the Sioux and Cheyenne “Blue Sky Men” or “Cloud Men.” An Arapaho tradition tells how the tribe was once an agricultural people in northwestern Minnesota but were forced across the Missouri River, where they met the Cheyenne, with whom they moved southward. Like the Cheyenne, they became divided, the northern Arapaho remaining about the mountains near the Platte River’s head and the southern branch drifting to the Arkansas River. In 1867 the southern portion of the tribe was given a reservation with the southern Cheyenne in Oklahoma. By 1892 they had made sufficient progress to justify the government in allotting them lands in severalty and the rest of the reservation being thrown open to white settlement. The northern branch was established in 1876 on a reservation in Wyoming.

Between the years 1825 and 1830, the Kanza and Osage tribes withdrew from a large part of their lands, which were turned over to the United States. This gave the national government the opportunity of establishing the long talked of Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River. Congress, therefore, passed a bill providing that the country west of the Mississippi River that was not included in any state or organized territory of the United States to be set apart as a home for the Indians. This Indian Territory joined Missouri and Arkansas on the west and was annexed to those states for judicial purposes. During the decade following the bill’s passage, several eastern tribes found what they thought were permanent homes within the present State of Kansas. Among them were the Shawnee, Delaware, Ottawa, Miami, Chippewa, Kickapoo, Sauk and Fox, Wyandot, and others.

The Shawnee were the first to seek a home in the new territory. The early history of the Shawnee tribe is somewhat obscure, though it was known to be an important tribe in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, South Carolina, and along the Savannah River in Georgia. Some writers claim that the Shawnee were identical with the Erie of the early Jesuits, and attempts have been made to show that they were allied to the Susquehannock of the Iroquois family. Their language was that of the central Algonquian dialects — similar to that of the Sauk and Fox –and the Delaware had a tradition that made the Shawnee and Nanticoke one people.

The Shawnee’s recorded history began in about 1670 when there were two bodies, some distance apart, with the friendly Cherokee Nation between. In 1672 the western Shawnee were allied with the Susquehannock in a war against the Iroquois. Twelve years later, the Iroquois made war on the Miami tribe because they were trying to form an alliance with the Shawnee for the purpose of invading the Iroquois country.

About the middle of the 18th century, the eastern and western Shawnee were united in Ohio, and from that time to the Treaty of Greeneville in 1795 were almost constantly at war with the English. They were driven from the head of the Scioto River to the head of the Miami River. After the Revolutionary War, some of them went south and formed an alliance with the Creek Indians, with whom they were closely connected, their language being almost identical. Others joined with a portion of the Delaware tribe and accepted a Spanish invitation to occupy a tract of land near Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

In the early part of the 19th century, the Shawnee in Indiana and Ohio, with some of the Delaware, joined the movement of the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh and his brother, Tenskawata (the Prophet), to unite the tribes of the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys in a general uprising against the whites. General Harrison effectually crushed the conspiracy at the Battle of Tippecanoe on November 4, 1811. In the War of 1812, some of the Shawnee fought with the British until Tecumseh was killed at the Battle of the Thames.

The fall of their great war chief broke the warlike spirit of the tribe, and the Shawnee sued for peace. In 1825 the Missouri Shawnee sold their lands and received a reservation in Kansas south of the Kansas River and bordering on the Missouri River.

The Ohio Shawnee sold their lands near Wapakoneta in 1831 and joined their brethren in Kansas, the mixed band of Shawnee and Seneca coming in about the same time. Some of the tribe in 1845 withdrew from the Kansas reservation and went to the Canadian River in Oklahoma. They became known as the “Absentee Shawnee.” In 1867 those with the Seneca moved to the Indian Territory, and in 1869 the main body was incorporated with the Cherokee Nation.

The Shawnee tribe consisted of five divisions, which were further divided into 13 clans, the English names of which were the wolf, loon, bear, buzzard, panther, owl, turkey, deer, raccoon, turtle, snake, horse, and rabbit. Of these, the Clan of the Turtle was the most important, especially in their mythological traditions.

The Delaware, formerly the most important confederacy of the Algonquian stock, occupied the Delaware River’s entire valley. They called themselves the Lenape or Leni-Lenape. The English gave them the name of Delaware, and the French called them Loups (wolves). They were divided into three bands — the Munsee, Unami, and the Unalachtigo — though it is probable that some of the bands in New Jersey may have formed a fourth group.

About 1720, the Iroquois tribe assumed authority over the Delaware and forbade them to sell their lands. This condition lasted until after the French and Indian War. Then they were gradually crowded westward by the white men and began to form settlements in Ohio, along the Muskingum River with the Huron.

Here they were supported by the French and became independent of the Iroquois. They opposed the English with determination until the treaty of Greeneville in 1795. Six years before that treaty was consummated, Louisiana’s Spanish government gave the Delaware permission to settle in that province, near Cape Girardeau, Missouri, with some of the Shawnee tribe.

In 1820 there were two bands — numbering about 700 — in Texas, but by 1835 most of the Delaware were settled upon their Kansas reservation between the Kansas and Missouri Rivers. Their title to this reservation was finally extinguished in 1866, and on April 11, 1867, President Johnson approved an agreement by which the Delaware merged their tribal existence with the Cherokee Nation.

In 1820 there was found an ancient hieroglyphic bark record giving the traditions of the Delaware tribe. This old record was translated and published in 1885. It gives an account of the creation of the world by great Manito and of the flood, in which Nanabush, the Strong White One, grandfather of men, created the turtle, on which some were saved. This book is known as the “Walam Olum.”

The Munsee, one of the three principal divisions of the Delaware, originally occupied the country about the Delaware River’s headwaters. By what was known as the “walking purchase,” in about 1740, they were defrauded out of the greater portion of their lands and forced to move. They obtained lands from the Iroquois on the Susquehanna River, where they lived until the Indian country was established by the act of 1830, when they removed to what is now Franklin County, Kansas, with some of the Chippewa. The Bureau of Ethnology report for 1885 says the only Munsee then recognized officially by the United States were 72, living in Franklin County, Kansas, all the others having been incorporated with the Cherokee Nation.

According to one of their traditions, the Ottawa were once part of a tribe to which also belonged the Chippewa and Potawatomi, all of the great Algonquian family. They moved as one tribe from their original habitat north of the great lakes and separated about the straits of Mackinaw. Another account says that when the Iroquois destroyed the Huron Indians in 1648-49, what was left of the Huron found refuge with the Ottawa, which caused the Iroquois to turn on that tribe. The Ottawa and the Huron then fled to Green Bay, where they were welcomed by the Potawatomi, who had preceded them to that locality.

The tribe is mentioned in the Jesuit Relations as early as 1670, when Father Dablon, superior of the mission at Mackinaw, said: “We call these people Upper Algonkin to distinguish them from the Lower Alkonkin, who are lower down in the vicinity of Tadousac and Quebec. People commonly give them the name of Ottawa because, of more than 30 different tribes which are found in these countries, the first that descended to the French settlements were the Ottawa, whose name afterward attached to all the others.”

After a time, the Ottawa and Huron went to the Mississippi River and established themselves on an island in Lake Pepin. They were soon driven out by the Sioux and went to the Black River in Wisconsin, where the Huron built a fort, but the Ottawa continued east to Chequamegon Bay. In 1700 the Huron were located near Detroit, and the Ottawa were between that post and the Saginaw Bay. The Ohio Ottawa were removed west of the Mississippi River in 1832.

The following year, by the Treaty of Chicago, those living along the west shore of Lake Michigan ceded their lands there and were given a reservation in Franklin County, Kansas, the county seat of which bears the name of the tribe. In 1906 there were about 1,500 Ottawa living in Manitoulin and Cockburn Islands, Canada 197 under the Seneca school in Oklahoma and nearly 4,000 in the State of Michigan.

The Chippewa or Ojibway formerly ranged along Lake Superior and Lake Huron’s shores, extending across Minnesota to the Turtle Mountains in North Dakota. At the time America was discovered, the Chippewa lived at La Pointe, Ashland County, Wisconsin, on the south shore of Lake Superior, where they had a village called Shangawaumikong.

Arrowmaker an Ojibwa/Chippewa brave by the Detroit Photographic Company, 1903.

Early in the 18th century, the Chippewa drove the Fox tribe from northern Wisconsin and drove the Sioux west of the Mississippi River. Other Chippewa overran the peninsula lying between Lake Huron and Lake Erie and forced the Iroquois to withdraw from that section. There were ten principal divisions of the tribe scattered through Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota, with more than 20 bands. Before 1815, the Chippewa were frequently engaged in war with the white settlers, but they remained peaceful after the treaty of that year.

In 1836, what was known as the Swan Creek and Black River Chippewa sold their lands in southern Michigan and moved to the Munsee Reservation in Franklin County, Kansas. In 1905 the Bureau of Ethnology estimated the number of Chippewa in the United States and Canada at 30,000, about one-half of which were in the United States.

The Miami, one of the most important of the Algonquian tribes, was called by some of the early chroniclers the “Twightwees.” The region over which they roamed was once outlined in a speech by their famous chief, Little Turtle, who said: “My fathers kindled the first fire at Detroit then they extended their lines to the headwaters of the Scioto then to its mouth then down the Ohio to the mouth of the Wabash River, and then to Chicago over Lake Michigan.”

The men of the Miami tribe have been described as “of medium height, well built, heads rather round than oblong, countenances agreeable rather than sedate or morose, swift on foot and excessively fond of racing.” The women spun the thread of buffalo hair, of which they made bags in which to carry provisions when on a march. Their deities were the sun and the thunder, and they had but few minor gods. Six bands of the Miami were known to the French, the principal ones being the Piankashaw, Wea, and Pepicokia.

French Explorer Sieur de La Salle first mentioned the Piankashaw in 1682 as one of the tribes gathered about his fort in the Illinois country. Chauvignerie classed the Piankashaw, Wea, and Pepicokia as one tribe but inhabiting different villages. The Miami were divided into ten bands — wolf, loon, eagle, buzzard, panther, turkey, raccoon, snow, sun, and water — and the elk and crane were their principal totems.

Early in the 19th century, the Piankashaw and Wea were located in Missouri, and in 1832 they agreed to remove to Kansas as one tribe. About 1854, they were consolidated with the Peoria and Kaskaskia, and in 1868 the consolidated tribe was removed to a reservation on the Neosho River in northeastern Oklahoma. Numerous treaties were made between the main body of the Miami and the United States, and in November 1840, the last of the tribe was removed west of the Mississippi River. Six years later, some of them were in Linn County, Kansas, and others had confederated with the Peoria and other tribes. In 1873 they were removed to the Indian Territory.

The Sac and Fox, usually spoken of as one tribe, were originally two separate and distinct tribes, but both of Algonquian stock. The Sac (or Sauk), when first met by white men, inhabited the lower peninsula of Michigan and were known as “Yellow Earth People.” At that time, the Fox lived along the southern shore of Lake Superior and were called the “Red Earth People.” There is a tribal tradition that before the Sac became an independent people, they belonged to an Algonquian group composed of the Potawatomi, Fox, and Mascouten tribes. After the separation, the Sac and Fox moved northwest, and in 1720 were located near Green Bay, Wisconsin but as two separate tribes. Trouble with the Fox led to a division of the Sac, one faction going to the Fox and the other to the Potawatomi. In 1733, some Fox, pursued by the French, took refuge at the Sac village near Green Bay, Wisconsin. Sieur de Villiers made a demand for the refugees’ surrender, but it was refused, and in trying to take them by force, several of the French were killed. Governor Beauharnois of Canada, then gave orders to make war on the Sac and Fox. This led to a close confederation of the two tribes, and since then, they have been known as the Sac and Fox.

Sac Chief Black Hawk by John T. Bowen, 1838

In the early days of the confederacy, there were numerous bands, but in time these were reduced to 14. Black Hawk, the Sac War Chief, was a member of the thunder clan. After several treaties with the United States, the Sac and Fox in 1837 ceded their lands in Iowa and were given a reservation in Franklin and Osage Counties of Kansas. In 1859 the Fox returned from a buffalo hunt to find that in their absence, the Sac had made a treaty ceding the Kansas reservation to the United States.

The Fox chief refused to ratify the cession and, with some of his trusty followers, set out for Iowa from which some of the Fox members had previously returned. They purchased a small tract of land near Tama City, Iowa, and later made more purchases until the tribe owned some 3,000 acres. From that time, this faction of the Fox had no further political connection with the Sac. In 1867, the Kansas reservation passed into the hands of the United States Government, the Indians accepting a reservation in the Indian Territory, and in 1889 they were allotted lands in severalty.

The Ioway were a southwestern Siouan tribe belonging to the Chiwere group, composed of the Ioway, Otoe, and Missouri tribes, all of which sprang from Winnebago stock, to which they were closely allied by language and tradition. Old Ioway chiefs said that the tribe separated from the Winnebago on Lake Michigan’s shores, and at the time of the separation, received the name of “gray snow.”

Afterward, they lived on the Des Moines River, near the pipestone quarry in Minnesota, at the Platte River’s mouth, and on the Little Platte River’s headwaters in Missouri. In 1824, they ceded their lands in Missouri and in 1836 moved to a reservation in the northeast corner of Kansas. When this reservation was ceded to the United States, the tribe removed to central Oklahoma, where, in 1890, they were allotted lands in severalty.

The Kickapoo, a tribe of the central Algonquian group, is first mentioned in history about 1670 when Father Allouez found them living near the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers portage. Ethnologically, the Kickapoo were closely related to the Sac and Fox, with whom they entered into a scheme to destroy Detroit in 1712. When the Illinois Confederacy was broken up in 1765, the Kickapoo had their headquarters for a time at Peoria, Illinois. They were allied with Shawnee Chief Tecumseh in his conspiracy early in the 19th century, and in 1832, took part in the Black Hawk War.

Five years later, they aided the government in the war with the Seminole. After ceding their lands in central Illinois, they moved to Missouri and still later to Kansas, settling on a reservation near Fort Leavenworth. About 1852, several Kickapoo joined a party of Potawatomi and went to Texas. Later they went to Mexico and became known as the “Mexican Kickapoo.” In 1905, the Bureau of Ethnology reported 434 Kickapoo — 247 in Oklahoma and 167 in Kansas.

Among the Kickapoo, the gentile system prevailed, and marriage was outside of their bands. In summer, they lived in bark houses, and in winter, in oval lodges constructed of reeds. They practiced agriculture in a primitive way. Many fables of animals characterized Their mythology, the dog was especially venerated and regarded as an object of always offering acceptable to the great Manitou.

The Potawatomi belonged to the Algonquian group and were first encountered by white men in the vicinity of Green Bay, Wisconsin. They were originally associated with the Ottawa and Chippewa as one tribe, the separation taking place about Lake Huron’s head. Subsequently, the three tribes formed a confederacy for offense or defense, and when removed west of the Mississippi River, asked to be united again. They sided with the French until about 1760, took part in the Pontiac Conspiracy, and fought against the United States in the American Revolution. The Treaty of Greeneville put an end to hostilities, but in the War of 1812, they again allied themselves with the British.

Between the years 1836 and 1841, they were moved west of the Mississippi River, those in Indiana having to be removed by force. Some escaped to Canada and lived on Walpole Island in the St. Clair River.

In 1846 all those in the United States were united on a reservation in Miami County, Kansas. In November 1861, this tract was ceded to the United States. The tribe accepted a reservation of 30 miles square near Horton, Jackson County, Kansas, where their reservation continues to stand today. From government reports in 1908, about 2,500 Potawatomi in the United States, 676 of whom were in Kansas.

The 15 bands of the tribe were the wolf, bear, beaver, elk, loon, eagle, sturgeon, carp, bald eagle, thunder, rabbit, crow, fox, turkey, and black hawk. Their most popular totems were the frog, tortoise, crab, and crane. In the early days, they were sun-worshipers. Dog flesh was highly prized, especially in the “feast of dreams,” when their special Manitou was selected.

Kiowa Chief Kicking Bird by William S. Soule, about 1872.

The Kiowa once inhabited the region on the upper Missouri and the Yellowstone Rivers. Next, they allied with the Crow but were driven southward by the Cheyenne and Arapaho to the country about the upper Arkansas and Canadian Rivers in Colorado and Oklahoma. They are first mentioned in history by Spanish explorers about 1732, and in 1805 Lewis and Clark found them living on the North Platte River. About 1840, they allied with the Comanche with whom they were afterward frequently associated in raids on Texas and Mexico’s frontier settlements. In 1865 they joined with the Comanche in a treaty which ceded to the United States a large tract of land in Colorado, Texas, and southwest Kansas, and three years later, they were put on a reservation in northwest Texas and the western part of the Indian Territory.

The Quapaw, a southwestern tribe of the Siouan group, were separated from the other Siouan tribes when the Quapaw went down the Mississippi River settling in Arkansas. In contrast, the Omaha group, which included the Omaha, Kanza, Ponca, and Osage, went up the Missouri River. There is a close linguistic and ethnic relation between the Quapaw and the other four tribes, and their name derives from Ugakhpa, or “downstream people. When encountered by the French, they were described as having made considerable advances in culture, evidenced by their villages and structures.

The Quapaw were close allies of the French in colonial Louisiana, and during the later Spanish regime, they helped defend the colony from invasion by Indians allied with the English. The Quapaw tried to maintain a policy of peaceful co-existence with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Still, they were forced to surrender their Arkansas lands to the U.S. government in 1818 and 1824. In 1833 old maps show that some of them lived on a small strip in southeastern Kansas, extending from the Missouri line to the Neosho River. In 1839, the Quapaw Reservation was established in Indian Indian Territory, which is currently utilized today. There are about 2,000 tribal members, most who live near Miami, Oklahoma.

The Otoe, one of the three Siouan tribes forming the Chiwere group, were originally part of the Winnebago, from whom they separated near Green Bay, Wisconsin. Moving southwest in quest of buffalo, the Otoe went up the Missouri River, crossed the Big Platte River, and in 1673 were living on the upper Des Moines or upper Iowa River.

Lewis and Clark, in 1804, found them on the south side of the Platte River, 30 miles from its mouth, where, having become decimated by war and small-pox, they lived under the protection of the Pawnee. The Otoe were never an important tribe in Kansas history, though, in March 1881, they ceded to the United States a tract of land, a small portion of which lies north of Marysville in Marshall County.

By the treaty of New Echota, Georgia, on December 29, 1835, the Cherokee Nation ceded the lands formerly occupied by the tribe east of the Mississippi River and received a reservation in southeastern Kansas. The tribe never assumed an important status in Kansas affairs, and in 1866 the land was ceded back to the United States. The Cherokee tribe was detached from the Iroquois at an early day and for at least three centuries inhabited Tennessee, Georgia, southwestern Virginia, the Carolinas, and northeastern Alabama. They were found by De Soto in the southern Alleghany region in 1540 and were among the most intelligent of Indian tribes.

Last but not least of the Indian tribes that dwelt in Kansas were the Wyandot, or Wyandot-Iroquois, who were the successors to the power of the ancient Hurons, who originally lived on the northern shore of Lake Ontario. About the middle of the 18th century, the Huron Chief Orontony moved from the Detroit River to the lowlands about Sandusky Bay. Orontony hated the French and organized a movement to destroy their posts and settlements, but a Huron woman divulged the plan. The Handbook of the Bureau of Ethnology said: “After this trouble, the Huron seems to have returned to Detroit and Sandusky, where they became known as Wyandot and gradually acquired a paramount influence in the Ohio Valley and the lake region.”

In January 1838, several New York tribes were granted reservations in Kansas, but the vast majority refused to occupy the lands — only 32 Indians came from New York to the newly established Indian Territory. Some 10,000 acres were allotted to these 32 Indians in the northern part of Bourbon County. In 1857 the Tonawanda band of Seneca relinquished their claim to the Kansas reservations, and in 1873 the government ordered all the lands sold to the whites, including the 10,000 acres in Bourbon County because the Indians had failed to occupy them permanently.

During the French and Indian War, the tribe was allied with the French, and in the Revolutionary War, they fought with the British against the colonies. For a long time, the tribe stood at the head of a great Indian confederacy and was recognized as such by the United States government in making treaties in the old Northwest Territory. They claimed the greater part of Ohio, and the Shawnee and Delaware tribes settled there with Wyandot consent. In March 1842, they relinquished their title to Ohio andMichigan lands and agreed to move west of the Mississippi River. On December 14, 1843, they purchased 39 square miles of the Delaware Reserve’s east end in Kansas. There, they organized a Methodist church, a Free Masons’ lodge, a civil government, a code of written laws that provided for an elective council of chiefs, the punishment of crime, and social and public order maintenance.

Soon after the Wyandot came to Kansas, efforts were made in Congress to organize the Territory of Nebraska to include a large part of the Indian country. The Indians realized that if the territory was organized, they would have to sell their lands, notwithstanding the government’s treaty promises that they should never be disturbed in their possessions and that their lands should never be incorporated in any state or territory. A congress of the Kansas tribes met at Fort Leavenworth in October 1848 and reorganized the old confederacy with the Wyandot at the head. At the Congress session in the winter of 1851-52, a petition asking for the organization of a territorial government was presented, but no action was taken. The people then concluded to act for themselves, and on October 12, 1852, Abelard Guthrie was elected a delegate to Congress, although no territorial government existed west of Missouri. At a convention on July 26, 1853, which had been called in the interest of the central route of the proposed Pacific Railroad, a series of resolutions were adopted which became the basis of a provisional territorial government, with William Walker, a Wyandot Indian, as governor.

On January 31, 1855, tribal relations among the Wyandot were dissolved, and they became citizens of the United States. Simultaneously, the 39 sections purchased in 1843 were ceded to the government, with the understanding that a new survey was to be made and the lands conveyed to the Wyandot as individuals, the reserves to be permitted to locate on any government land west of Missouri and Iowa.

In the social organization of the Wyandot, four groups were recognized — the family, the gens, the phratry, and the tribe. A family consisted of all who occupied one lodge, at the head of which was a woman. The gens included all the blood relations in a given female line. When the tribe was removed to Kansas, it was made up of eleven bands, which were further divided into four groups.

Researcher James Mooney said the Wyandot were “the most influential tribe of the Ohio region, the keepers of the great wampum belt of union and the lighters of the council fire of the allied tribes.” But, like the other great tribes that once inhabited the central region of North America, the Wyandot have faded away before the civilization of the pale-face. The wigwam has given way to the schoolhouse, the old trail has been supplanted by the railroad, and in a few generations more, the Indian will be little more than a memory.

Compiled by Kathy Weiser/Legends of Kansas, updated February 2021.

About the Article: The majority of this historic text was published in Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Volume I edited by Frank W. Blackmar, A.M. Ph. D. Standard Publishing Company, Chicago, IL 1912. However, the text that appears on these pages is not verbatim, as additions, truncation, updates, and heavy editing has occurred.

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Native American History

The human history of the Americas extends at least 12,000 years into the past, to the time of the last Ice Age, when an ice sheet up to 2.5 miles high covered much of North America, and mammoth and saber-toothed tigers roamed the land.

During this vast period of time, Native people have not only survived but thrived, developing sophisticated cultures for understanding their world and technologies for utilizing it's resources. Prehistoric Native societies have at times maintained living standards enviable in many ways, even when compared to modern times.

The scale of Native American civilization was also comparable to contemporary civilizations in other parts of the world. The Mississippian culture, named for the Mississippi River valley where it probably originated around 1,100 years ago, spread over much of eastern North America. Cahokia, the largest known Mississippian city, was larger than the city of London in 1250 AD.

Native history has also significantly influenced the history of the United States of America. For example, some historians credit the Chickasaw for making the U.S. an English-speaking country due to their opposition to the French and their alliance with the English prior to and during the French and Indian War, and some say that if the federal government had dealt differently with the state's rights issues leading up to the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the Civil War might have been avoided.

Follow the links below to learn more about this fascinating part of America's heritage.

Leonard Peltier

1944- Leonard Peltier is currently serving a double life sentence for murder. However, many people in the United States and throughout the world believe he was wrongfully charged and is instead a political prisoner, convicted of murder on the basis of his beliefs and Native American activism.

Leonard Peltier was born September 12, 1944, and raised by his French-and Oujibwa-speaking grandparents, until he was sent to a Native American boarding school. As a young man, he became active in the American Indian Movement (AIM), a Native American civil rights organization. He came to national prominence after a June 1975 shoot-out on Pine Ridge Reservation near Oglala, South Dakota, which left two Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents dead.

The FBI quickly arrested four Native Americans. One was released for insufficient evidence and two were aquitted on the grounds of self-defense. Peltier, however, was extradited from Canada and convicted on two counts of murder. He has since been given an additional sentence for an escape attempt.

The FBI charges, and the courts have upheld, that Peltier was involved in the shooting that killed the FBI agents. However, the FBI has been accused by international human rights organizations of instigating violence against the Lakota community prior to the firefight and fabricating evidence afterward. Peltier has been refused a retrial, despite court findings that the FBI withheld evidence that may have exonerated him.

Watch the video: Native American History for Kids. An insightful look into the history of the Native Americans (July 2022).


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