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"YOUR HEROES ARE NOT OUR HEROES" 
Tall Oak  -Narraganset-

 

"What has happened has happened and can not be changed.  We must find a way to move forward, together"
Eli Tail   -Lakota- International Brotherhood Days,  1994

"American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anyone has ever said about it."
 James Baldwin-

"There's a destructive urge in people,  the urge to rage,  murder,  and kill,"  but,  "I still believe,  in spite of everything,  that people are good at heart."
-Anne Frank-

"
Memory says, "I did that."  Pride replies,  "I could not have done that."  Eventually, memory yields.  
 
 -Friedrich Nietzsche-

"What seems to matter most is the great silence,  the denial of any holocaust."
Carter Revard -Osage-

"The danger lies in forgetting."
Eli Wiesel

"The truth shall make you free."  
 
John 8:32

 

Christopher Columbus General Jeffery AmherstJohn Sutter Louis Agassiz
 King Ferdinand Georges de Buffon Brigham YoungU.S. GrantRobert Peary
Francisco CoronadoBenjamin Franklin Governor Leeland Stanford General George CrookTheodore Roosevelt
Governor Peter BurnettDr. Saxon Pope
Don Juan Onate The Militia MenSamuel Morton Phillip SheridanGutzon Borglum
Hernando DeSoto George Washington Horace GreeleyWilliam T. Sherman Harry S Truman
Ponce de Leon Thomas Jefferson General Pope George Armstrong Custer John Wayne
Captain John SmithMartin Van BurenAbraham Lincoln L. Frank Baum   Ronald Reagan
King James of EnglandDaniel BooneDoctor William MayoMark Twain William Renquist
The Pilgrims  Andrew JacksonJohn Evans"Pa" Engalls  Rush Limbaugh
 John WinthropCommisioners of Indian AffairsColonel John Milton ChivingtonSenator Henry L. DawesGeorge W.  Bush
Peter Minuit Oliver Wendell Holmes Colonel George ShoupThe Donner Party  

(NOTE: footnoted quotes and facts can be accessed on the "Sources" page)



1492

Christopher Columbus:

"So tractable, so peaceable, are these people that I swear to your Majesties there is not in the world a better nation. They love their neighbors as themselves, and their discourse is ever sweet and gentle, and accompanied with a smile; and though it is true that they are naked,  yet their manners are decorous and praiseworthy."  1)

"The King [the leader or "chief"] observes such a wonderful estate in such a dignified manner that it is a pleasure to see.  Neither better people nor land can there be.  The houses and villages are so pretty.  They love their neighbors as themselves and they have the sweetest speech in the world and they are gentle and they are always laughing" 1)                               -The Old Navigator,  Christopher Columbus-

Columbus  ran his flagship,  the Santa Maria,  aground on the island of Hispaniola on Christmas Eve in 1492. The Taino people helped rescue Columbus and his men and helped salvage the shipwrecked Santa Maria. The Taino people helped Columbus dismantle the wrecked flagship and erect a fort with the salvaged timbers. 40)

In his journals Columbus wrote of the peaceful,  generous nature of the Taino People. He noted their language did not have a word for war. 64)  He named them Indios,  and referred to the Taino People as, "Children of God."  But he also wrote, "I  could conquer  the whole of them with fifty men and govern them as I pleased." 1)  Columbus also noted that the Tanio People,  "....should be good and intelligent servants." 71).  91).

"Now I have ordered my men to build a tower and a fort.  Not that I believe it to be necessary for it is obvious that with these men that I bring,  I could subdue all of this island,  since the people are naked [without armor] and without arms.  But it is right that this tower be made so that with love and fear they will obey."  -Christopher Columbus-  1493.

When Columbus left Hispaniola he rewarded the Taino people by kidnaping 25 of them, and selling the handful of  survivors into slavery. 1). 40).

"In the name of the Holy Trinity, we can send from here all the slaves and brazil wood which could be sold."  
 
         -Christopher Columbus,  1496,  in a letter to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella - 1)

On Columbus's second voyage, he returned with 17 heavily armed ships 1500 men, cannon, guns, crossbows, and attack dogs. All of which he used to fulfill his wishes of conquest of these "Children of God." After his attempts of conquest and enslavement were met with resistance his descriptions of these people became less complementary. 39)  1)  64)

The Taino People were forced to pay a stipend to the Spanish.  All Taino People  living in the gold mining districts  that were over the age of 14 were required  to produce three ounces of gold,  four times a year.  39)  1)
Michele de Cuneo,
 a companion and compatriot of Columbus wrote in 1495 about Columbus' 1494 trip to the interior of San Salvador,  "..... his desire to search for gold,   was the main reason he had started on so great a voyage full of so many dangers." 1)

Columbus took care in his negotiations with  King Ferdinand and  Queen Isabella  to reserve 10% of all profits for himself. 39)

"Gold is most excellent; gold constitutes treasure; and he who has it does all he wants in the world,  and can even lift souls up to paradise." 39)          -Christopher Columbus-

 Other Taino People were levied taxes of food, cotton, and forced sex. Columbus would casually note in his journals that young girls of the ages 9 to 10 were the most desired by his men. 1)   A story recorded by Michele de Cuneo  is frightening proof of this abomination.  After Columbus and his men fought a battle on Santa Cruz with a small band of Native People,  Columbus presented  Michele de Cuneo with a captured  Taino girl that de Cuneo described as,  "....most beautiful."  The young maiden was taken by de Cuneo to his cabin where the young woman defended herself so fiercely that de Cuneo wrote,  "...I wished I had never started.  But to tell you the end of it,  I seized a rope and beat her well.  She cried out in such a way that you would not believe it!  Finally we reached an agreement...." 40)


For a more detailed account of the Spanish legacy of rape and sexual exploitation go directly to:   

                 THE LEGEND OF ITABA, THE CRYING INDIAN MAIDEN OF JATIBONICU      http://www.taino-tribe.org/page3.html


 Failure to produce tribute to the Spanish brought swift and terrible punishment. Those that did not comply were given an "attitude adjustment" that consisted of removal of their nose, ear, hand or foot. Those that actively resisted were burned alive. The Taino People were even forced to carry their oppressors,  to spare the Spanish the drudgery of walking. 1)

Under Columbus thousands of Taino People were sent back to Europe in servitude, the remainder were enslaved to the Spanish invaders. 1)  64)

So great was the death rate of Native slaves as they were being shipped from one location to the next, that Spanish historian Peter Martyr would write in 1516 that , "...a ship without compass, chart, or guide, but only following the trail of dead Indians who had been thrown from the ships could find its way from the Bahamas to Hispaniola." 1)

The Spanish under Columbus hunted the Taino People for sport and for dog-food for their attack hounds. 1)  40)  64)

So great were the cruelties and horrible the degradations that the Taino People suffered at the hands of Columbus and his men, that entire villages would bolt in panic at the sight of a single Spaniard. The whole populations of some villages would, upon the approach of Spanish soldiers, hurl themselves from cliffs, hang themselves, shoot one another with arrows, or take poison to avoid life under the boot of Spanish oppression. Others abandoned their cultivated fields and homes to hide in the forested hills where many thousands starved to death.

Pedro de Cordoba in a letter to King Ferdinand wrote in 1517,   "As a result of the sufferings and hard labor they endured,  the Indians choose and have chosen suicide.....Many when pregnant,  have taken something to abort and have aborted.  Others after delivery have killed their children with their own hands,  so as not to leave them in such oppressive slavery." 1)

James W. Loewen writes  that Columbus was not only the first to ship slaves across the Atlantic but that Columbus was the most prodigious slave trader in recorded history.  Over 5,000 Tanio People were exported by Columbus to Europe.

Before his death, Columbus,  recorded in his will,  "I presented [to Spain] the Indies.  I say presented,  because it is evident that by the will of God,  our Sovereign,  I gave them,  as a thing that was mine." 39)

After the surrounding Islands of the Caribbean were likewise depopulated, the African slave trade began to replace the now all but extinct Taino People.

Estimates of the Taino population of Haiti in 1492 range up to 8 million people. In 1496, according to the results of a Spanish census, the populace had dropped to approximately 3 million. By 1516 only 12,000 remained.  In 1542, 200 remained alive. By 1555, nearly all 8 million were gone. 1)

The Taino People of the Bahamas did not fare much better. Of an estimated populace of over 50,000 People, the Native population was reduced in the first hundred years after the arrival of the Spanish,  to nearly zero. 72)

"How much damage,  how many calamities,  disruptions and devastations of kingdoms have there been?    How many souls have perished in the West Indies over the years and how unjustly?  How many unforgivable sins have been committed? ......   What we committed in the  West Indies stands out among the most unpardonable offenses ever committed against God and mankind...." 1)
           
-Bartolome de Las Casas-  Spanish priest,  historian,  and compatriot of Christopher Columbus

In-spite of the  best efforts of Columbus and the Spanish colonialists,  the Taino People of the West Indies have survived. I urge you to visit   http://www.uctp.org/  or  http://www.taino-tribe.org/jatiboni.html   two websites of the Taino People.

One of the many ways in which Columbus is honored is through the "Knights of Columbus."  This organization does many admirable charitable works and it is through such works that the truth of Columbus' crimes against humanity remain hidden.  Contact the "Knights of Columbus," at   info@kofc.org and ask them to change the name of their organization.  Perhaps the "Knights of Las Casas," would better honor the good work this organization does as well as to remember the admirable,  although futile efforts of Las Casas to protect the Taino People from the inhuman treatment of Columbus and his compatriots.  Feel free to copy the above text and send it  to remind the good people at the "Knights of Columbus,"  that there are people who are aware of the truth.
 


 

 


KING FERDINAND AND QUEEN ISABELLA:  remembered by history as the benevolent monarchs that somewhat reluctantly financed Columbus' voyages to the Western Hemisphere.

King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella were in many ways typical of the monarchs of medieval Europe,  brutal, dictatorial and oppressive. They ruled over a kingdom that tortured, killed and expelled Jews and Muslims.
So confident in their right to dictate to others on how to live that  upon hearing  Columbus' reports of  the habit of daily bathing by the Taino People,  
Queen Isabella issued a command to these  new subjects that read, "They are not to bathe as frequently as hitherto." 1)   Queen Isabella, having proudly boasted that she had only bathed twice in her life, once on the day of her birth and again on the day of her marriage,  felt daily bathing to be excessive and decadent.

Ferdinand and Isabella financed Columbus' journeys because they considered it a business venture that would enrich their kingdom's coffers.  They were delighted to receive Columbus' gifts of  Native American slaves and eagerly embraced and encouraged the plunder and enslavement of hundreds of thousands of Native People on Spanish cotton and cane plantations and in gold and silver mines in the West Indies.  After appeals to the King and Queen's Christian beliefs by Bartolome de Las Casas,  Ferdinand and Isabella ordered Columbus in 1503, not to engage in the practice of slavery, although exceptions were made for those Indians that refused to convert to Christianity, or for Indians that resisted the Spanish in any manner.. 64)
From that point on  the Spanish employed the "economedia"  system of rule over the Taino People.  Under this system individual Taino People were not considered property but rather entire villages,  and regions were "entitled" to Spanish Lords.   While differing in name from slavery,  the result was the same. This form of servitude would be used by the Spanish for the next 400 years against Native Peoples from Tierra Del Fuego to northern California  and eastward across the American Southwest. 39)  31)  1)  
 
you must
".... recognize the Church as your Mistress and as governess of the World and universe,  and the high priest,  called the Pope....I tell you that with the help of God I will enter powerfully against you all.  I will make war everywhere and every way that I can.  I will subject you to the yoke and obedience to the Church and to his Majesty.  I will take your women and children and make them slaves, to sell and dispose of as his Majesty commands,  and I shall do all the evil and damage to you that I am able.  And I insist that the deaths and injuries that you will receive from here on will be your own fault and not that of his Majesty nor of the  gentlemen that accompany me."  31)  1)  These lines were part of the proclamation that Spanish "explorers" would read, in Spanish, to all tribes and bands of Native People they would encounter.  This proclamation became known as the,  "Requirement."  After reading this "Requirement",  to an uncomprehending tribe,  the Spanish would consider themselves absolved of all sins in the ensuing depravity and horror that would follow.  
 
King Ferdinand commanded his conquistadors in 1511,  "Get gold,  humanely if possible, but at all hazards,  get gold!" 69) History clearly records that Ferdinand's conquistadors obtained the gold he sought,  but fell somewhat short of his halfhearted hopes that Indians could be charmed out of their gold. Of course  Ferdinand and Isabella,  as primary "stock holders,"  of these royally sanctioned acts of piracy and plunder, rape and enslavement, murder and genocide,  were the main beneficiaries.  And it is no co-incidence that Spain's rise to prominence as a European power came after the Spanish had bled dry the West Indian, Central American, and South American Peoples.

Pedro de Cieza de Leon  wrote of the Spanish Conquistadores,  "....wherever Christians have passed , conquering and discovering,  it seems as though a fire has gone,  consuming everything." 31)

Official state and corporate plunder of the People and land of the "New World" as practiced by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella,  and described by Pedro de Cieza de Leon is a practice that continues to this day.



FRANCISCO CORONADO:  In the mid 1530's Coronado set in search of the mythic city of gold, Cibola.  In his search he came upon the Zuni city of Hawikuh , looted it, drove off the inhabitants,  and stayed until he exhausted the town's food supplies. Coronado then marched on the city of Tiguex and demanded food, shelter, blankets and women.  When the people of Tiguex resisted,  he slaughtered them.  The Spanish captured over one hundred men and burned them at the stake.  All the surviving women and children were taken as slaves and concubines.  The following year he forced a  man of the Pawnee Nation,  called the  "Turk," by his Spanish captors,  to guide them to "Quivira," another mythical land that the Spanish believed was rich in precious metals and silk.  When the Turk lead them to the open, windswept plains,  Coronado had The Turk garrotted to death for his failure to guide them to a place that did not exist. 31)  66)

FRANCISCO PIZARRO:  In 1533, the Spanish conquistador lured Inca ruler Atahaulpa into a meeting with him.  Pizarro seized the ruler,  and killed thousands of his followers and demanded that Atahaula pay for his freedom.  The Incan empire produced a room filled with gold to secure the release of their leader. Upon receipt of the ransom Pizarro promptly prepared for his captive to be burned alive. The flames induced Atahaulpa into a last minute conversion to Christianity. Pizarro then extinguished the flames and overcome with mercy and compassion had Atahualpa hung instead.
Pizarro himself, would years later as he ate dinner in the governors palace in Peru, die at the hands of friends of a fellow conquistador that Pizarro had defrauded and executed. 81).



 

1599

DON JUAN ONATE:   (Spanish explorer and military leader. A museum, a monument and a visitor center in Alcalde, N.M. were erected by U.S. taxpayers in his honor in 1992. Cuartocentenario, a year-long celebration to honor his memory, was held in 1997. The Acoma  and Tompiro People have other memories of him. )

In 1599 Onate invaded and conquered the Acoma Pueblo. After three days of slaughter over 800 men,  women, and children lay dead. Six hundred Acoma People were taken prisoner. Among other notable atrocities, he ordered the right foot cut off of every man over the age of twenty-five, and sentenced those that survived to twenty years of slave labor.  Two Hopi men that were visiting Acomo at the time, each  had a hand amputated  by the Spanish and were sent home to their people as a warning of the power and might of the Spanish.1) 77).

Later Onate would demand food and blankets from the Tompiro People. When the Tompiro people  did not immediately comply with Don Juan's demands,  Onate unleashed his soldiers.  After a six day battle the Spanish had destroyed  three towns and murdered nearly a thousand men, women, and children.  Another four hundred Tompiro people were captured and placed into slavery. 31)

In January of 1998, protesters chopped off the right foot of the statue erected to honor this man, and left a small shield with small clay feet attached to it. The shield was inscribed with the words, "The agony of defeat." 9)

While the statue of Don Juan Onate has lost its foot, it is apparent the Acoma and Tompiro People have not lost their sense of humor, or their understanding of history.



 

HERNANDO DESOTO:

On his sojourn across the southeastern U.S. he demanded food, gold and pearls of every Native tribe he met. And along this trail of robbery, he killed tens of thousands of Native people.  12). 77).

To view a more complete account of the legacy of Desoto,  view the excellent resource at http://www.webcom.com/sheppard/inset33.html



 

PONCE DE LEON:

Came to Florida, not to discover the fountain of youth, but rather, to capture Native people to sell into slavery in Haiti. 1)


Captain John Smith:

Hailed as a strong leader of the failing Jamestown colony,  he as a leader also should share responsibility for the grievous mistreatment of the local Native people

Captain Smith embraced the enslavement of Native people, including the practice of,  "taking any woman or girl." Smith  wrote admirably in 1624 of Columbus'  tactics in plundering the West Indies,  "...[The Spanish]  forced the treacherous and rebellious infidels to do all manner of drudgery work and slavery for them,  themselves living like soldiers upon the fruits of their labors." 31)  1)

The Jamestown colonists spent vast amounts of time digging random holes in the swampy ground the colony was situated on.  Obsessed in their search for gold, in this most unlikely of spots, the Jamestown colonists found little time for planting crops or hunting.

Unable to feed themselves,  the colonists raided Native settlements demanding food. They forcibly appropriated Native food stores and fields.

"I durst undertake to have corne enough from the Salvages for 300 men,  for a few trifles.  And if they should be untoward  (as it is most certain  they are) 30 or 40 good men will be sufficient to bring them all in subjection...." 31)    -Captain John Smith-

So complete was their inability to support themselves that in-spite of this robbery of Native food supplies, they began to starve. So desperate were the colonists,  that they resorted to digging  up the dead bodies of Native people from their graveyards and engaged in cannibalism. 1)  As a result of this appalling behavior, relations between the Jamestown colony and their Native neighbors, was less than friendly.

In 1623 the Jamestown colonists achieved the dubious distinction of being the first people to use chemical warfare on the North American continent. The colonists invited a leader named Chiskiak, his family and over two-hundred members of his band for a feast and treaty talks. Offering a toast of eternal friendship the colonists fed their guests poisoned food and drink. As these empty promises of peace and friendship echoed across the clearing Chiskiak, his family and his two-hundred followers,  keeled over dead. 1) 73)

The Jamestown colonists were not the last European settlers that used poison to eliminate their Native neighbors.  It became a common trick for armies and militias to leave in the field,  poisoned food,   in hopes that Native People would find it.

Captain Smith fabricated the story of Pocahontas saving his life.   He conveniently  waited until after the death of Pocahontas to tell this fanciful tall tale.  The resulting  story is one of the many  falsehoods  that Native People have had to endure over the ensuing centuries.



 

KING JAMES of ENGLAND:

Writing of the plague that befell the Native populace of the New World,  King James gave thanks to Almighty God  for sending, ".... this wonderful plague among the savages.."



1636
 

PILGRIMS, PURITANS, CHRISTIANS,  COLONISTS:
 

For many in mainstream America,  the Pilgrim experience at Plymouth,  the abandoned Native village of Pautuxet,  marks a beginning.  But for others,  it marks the beginning of an end. As a rule, the Pilgrims were more scrupulous in dealing with their Native benefactors than those that followed,  yet  they did not shy from cheating, and swindling their hosts.  The Pilgrims, as well as those that followed, engaged in grave robbing, 75). and used deadly force when it suited their needs,  irrespective of the tenets and teachings of the Holy Scriptures. The Pilgrims quickly became absorbed into,  and became part of,  the greater monolith of European colonialism that crushed,  exterminated, and exiled the First People of New England.

 

In 1636,  eager to appropriate land belonging to the Pequot people, an alliance was formed with the Narragansett People. Surrounding a Peqout village on the site of present day Mystic,  Connecticut, this force promptly set fire to the village and put to the sword all those that attempted escape.  In an hours time seven were taken captive,  seven escaped and between 600 to 700 lay dead.  31). 77).

William Bradford described the slaughter in these words, "It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire, and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stink and stench thereof; but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice and they gave praise thereof to God." 1)

The Narragansetts were mortified at the slaughter and pleaded in vain to Captain John Underhill, "It is naught, it is naught, because it is too furious and slays too many men." 1) The humanitarian concerns of the Narragansetts were rebuked. And in their witnessing the slaughter of the Pequot, the Narragansetts saw a portent and vision of what would befall their people in a few short years at the hands of the rapidly expanding colonies.

Underhill would later justify the killing of women and children by quoting the Holy Bible,  
"Sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents." 31)

It was not enough to merely slaughter the Pequot people . Hoping to wipe their memory from history,  laws were passed making it a crime to even utter the word Pequot. These efforts to shape history have only been partially successful. There are those that remember and are aware.

On December 19th 1675, six days before the celebration of Christmas, an armed force was lead into battle against the once friendly Wampanoag people, at the place that was to become known as, "The Great Swamp Massacre."

The Wampanoags, .were no longer willing to yield  land to the rapidly growing colonies. This transgression would be dealt with forcefully.   In the early morning hours this army attacked a sleeping village of mostly women, children, and old people. Setting fire to the village homes, and burning the Wampanoag people to death.  Over 2000 Wampanoag People were slaughtered at this place.

One Christian soldier,  sickened by the stench of burning flesh and horrified by the screams of the dying,, asked of his commander,   "Is burning alive, men, women, and children,  consistent with the benevolent principles of the Gospel?" 12).

Increase Mather  rejoiced in his writing,  that when survivors of this massacre "....came to see the ashes of their friends,  mingled with the ashes of their fort.... where the English had been doing a good day's work,  they Howl'd,  they Roar'd,  they Stamp'd,  they tore their hair,.... and were the pictures of so many Devils in Desperation." 31)

The leader of the Wampanoag,  Metacomet, a man the colonists called King Phillip, was killed shortly afterward.  The  body of Metacomet was drawn and quartered. Metacomet's severed head, was impaled on a iron spike which was driven into  the ramparts of a bridge.  This ghastly trophy  remained  upon the bridge for the next twenty years, a warning to those that might oppose the will and wishes of the Colonists. 12)

Those Wampanoag, unfortunate to be captured alive,  were placed on a slave ship bound for the Bahama's and sold into slavery, yielding a handsome profit for the colonies. Metacomet's wife and children were among  those sent into slavery.  They were never to see their homeland again.

Many rationalize the wars between the colonists and their Native neighbors as conflicts that resulted from two cultures that did not understand one another. This thinking is often stated along with the idea that if the Native People would have just adapted to the "superior" culture of the European people then all conflict would have been mitigated. Examination of the "Blue Laws," refutes this thinking.

The "Blue Laws" were designed not to "elevate" the Native People to the European concept of civilization but rather to reduce Native People to a level less than human. Among the various "Blue Laws" were statutes whose intent was to reduce social association of White and Native People.

Many within colonial communities, found the Native way of life more desirable than that of their own. These "converts" lived with and adopted the dress and life-ways of their Native neighbors. To eliminate this threat from within, the "Blue Laws"  forbade the wearing of Native dress, they forbade the practice of Native spiritual belief by both White AND Native Peoples, it was forbidden to wear ones hair long in the fashion of the Native People. Those that were convicted of violating these laws could expect the death penalty. 31)   1)

But perhaps most telling of all, in part as a result of the legacy of the "Blue Laws", the Massachusetts legislature in 1789 passed a law that forbade the teaching of reading and writing to the Native People. Violators of this law were also subject to the penalty of death.  1)

Today America recoils in horror as it examines the religious extremism and intolerance of the Taliban  legacy in Afghanistan.  But we  forget that we once had a Taliban in America,  they were called Pilgrims, Puritans, and Colonists,  and we honor and feast their memory each year at the holiday of Thanksgiving.

It is an ironic facet of the American Myth that the Pilgrims and Puritans are popularly held forth as an example of a people setting out in search of religious tolerance and cultural freedom. In truth these Europeans set out for a place were they would ultimately  enforce their own version of religious, cultural and political correctness upon others.

While there was a degree of cultural misunderstanding between the colonists and their Native benefactors, the understanding that did exist was far more complete than many would have us believe. But one conclusion is inescapable. The colonists understood that Native People stood in the way of their appropriation of land needed for expansion of the growing colonies. The Pilgrims, the Puritans, and their compatriots, like the other European people that followed them to America, would use any excuse, any method conceivable to take the land they desired.

 
WILLIAM BRADFORD, governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony:: the pious Mr. Bradford gave thanks to the creator for the devastating plagues that killed Native Peoples in staggering numbers.  Bradford credited the waves of sickness that afflicted the Natives to,  "...the good hand of God.." 75). 
  


JOHN WINTHROP, governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony:

Celebrated the plagues that wiped away the Native people as, "Miraculous."  1).


PETER MINUIT: Hailed by history as the man who bought Manhattan Island for 24 dollars worth of beads and trinkets. The actual story is somewhat different.

Minuit approached the residents of Manhattan island, the Weckquaesgeeks,  and explained to them that the Dutch wished to buy their homeland .The Weckquaesgeeks were not willing to sell.  This did not deter the determined and intrepid Minuit.  Minuit then went before the Canarsees,  a neighboring tribe,  and offered them payment for the homeland of the Weckquaesgeeks.

The concept of land ownership was foreign to Native People and it is unclear if the Canarsees understood that accepting payment for their neighbor's land would give the Dutch the rationalization  they were looking for to forcibly remove the Weckquaesgeeks from their ancestral homeland. It is clear however, that the Dutch knowingly defrauded the Weckquaesgeeks out of their homeland and then waged warfare against them to complete the fraud.

Today the "sale" of Manhattan to the Dutch for twenty-four dollars worth of beads and trinkets is humorously put forth as "evidence" of the naiveté of Native People. History seldom mentions the fraudulent actions of the Dutch and even less frequently mentions that the original inhabitants of Manhattan, the Weckquaesgeeks, were forcibly removed from their homelands by the Dutch. 1)
 


GEORGES de BUFFON: French naturalist and author of "Histoire Naturelle."

In 1749, Buffon wrote that American Indians while strong and hearty,  were also crafty,  cruel, filthy, unschooled,  promiscuous, cannibalistic,  remorseless,  with small sexual organs,  prone to impotence, and because male Indians lacked copious body hair and beards, de Buffon determined that Indian men were effeminate and lacked "ardor for the female."  He wrote that Indians had no family or social structure,  and that,  "....their heart is frozen,  their society cold,  their empire cruel." 64)



1763

GENERAL JEFFERY AMHERST, in whose honor  Amherst, Massachusetts and Amherst College is named:

One of the first Europeans to record on paper, the desire to give Native people, infected blankets and clothing, to hasten the spread of disease, sickness and death.
On July 16th, 1763 General Amherst  added a postscript to a letter he had sent to Colonel Henry Bouquet, "
You will do well to try to inoculate the Indians by means of blankets as well as to try every other method that can move to extirpate this execrable race.  I should be very glad to hear your scheme for hunting them down by dogs could take effect."  
Amherst would later bemoan the fact that the English did not have the required number of  war dogs to effectively employ what he referred to as the "Spanish  Method,"  of hunting and exterminating Native People.  
In an earlier letter to the same Colonel Bouquet Amherst wrote,  
"Could it not be contrived to send the 'smallpox' among those disaffected tribes of Indians?  We must on this occasion use every stratagem in our power to reduce them." 12) 77)
Commander of the local militia of Pittsburg,  William Trent,  would enter in his journals,  "....we gave them two blankets and a handkerchief out of the smallpox hospital.  I hope it will have the desired effect." It did.
This method of deliberate introduction of sickness, pestilence and death, would continue for nearly two hundred years,  with catastrophic results for the First People of America.
To read more detailed information on this subject please view http://www.nativeweb.org
 


 
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: Remembered as our most fondly regarded  "Founding Father."

When colonial governments employed the "Spanish method" of exterminating Native People, the jolly and avuncular Franklin wrote that the huge English Mastiffs,  trained to kill and tear a man to pieces, should be locked in a cage for a time before the hunt so that they may be,  "Fresher and fiercer for the attack."
52)
 But Franklin also recognized  the beauty and appeal of Native culture when he wrote, "No European who has tasted Savage life can afterwards bear to live in our societies."1)

 

 

 

THE MILITIA MEN: Remembered as common men, as hallowed heroes that rose up to overthrow the oppression of English rule,  they have other legacies as well.

On March 7, 1782, a group of Pennsylvania Militia Men under the command of Captain David Williamson, surrounded a  village of  Delaware Indians near today's town of Gnadenhutten, Ohio.  The Delaware had converted to the United Brethren Church, (Moravian),  a pacifist Christian faith.  Staying true to their new-found faith,  the Delaware had refused to take sides in the Revolutionary War, an action that made them friends on neither side of the struggle.
The Militia Men bound the captives, separated the women and children from the men, and placed the  groups in two buildings of the village. That night the Militia Men took a vote that determined the fate of the Delaware.  Learning of their doom, the Delaware spent the night singing hymns and saying prayers. The next morning,  March 8th, 1782, the Militia Men led the Delaware in pairs to a small cabin where they forced their bound captives to their knees, and crushed their skulls with a mallet. Two young boys,  playing dead,  were scalped but survived.  They alone lived to tell the story of the slaughter of their families. 


The White Moravian brethren of the slaughtered Delaware, erected a 37 foot marble shaft that is inscribed,  "Here triumphed in death ninety Christian Indians.  March 8, 1782."
For the 28 men, 29 women,  and 39 children,  butchered at the hands of the Militia Men,  this shaft silently bears witness to a forgotten moment in our struggle for independence from English tyranny.  56).    60).
http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=499

 

 

GEORGE WASHINGTON:

Known as the, "Father of our Country,"  he is known by a different name among the Onadaga People.  Washington is remembered  by the Onadaga as , "The Town Destroyer,"   and the killer of women and children. 12).   71).

 He once described Indian people as, "Having nothing human except the shape." 1). 
Washington would make a comparison between Native People and wolves in 1783,  
 "... both being beasts of prey, tho' they differ in shape,"  and in his words deserved,  "total ruin."   http://www.eyapaha.org

Having tried twice, unsuccessfully, to enter the British Army, he formed a militia, allied with the British, during the French and Indian War. It was Washington's hope and ambition that this alliance would result in a commission to the British Army.
Washington led this militia against a peaceful village of Native people and slaughtered the inhabitants in a manner so wanton and brutal as to cause mortification,  and condemnation even among his own allies in this war, the British.
This British mortification  and wounded sensibility over the slaughter of the villagers, was short lived however. Washington was rewarded by the British, after the war, with title to 80,000 acres of "Indian" land. It was suggested, by his British allies, that this land should be shared with the commoners that served Washington in his militia as payment for their services to the Crown.  Washington felt that dividing the land among his soldiers would be an insult to the honor of his officers and himself. Washington solved this dilemma, and spared himself insult,  by keeping title of the 80,000 acres for himself.
It was on this 80,000 acres that Washington started a slave plantation. Selling at inflated prices,  portions of this "Indian" land,  made him a rich and influential member of the British colonies. These riches and influence, along with his prior "militia" experience against the Native People, propelled him to become the leader of Colonial military resistance against the British crown during the War for Independence. 43).

During the Revolutionary War,  General Washington, sent General John Sullivan and 5000 men against the fiercely neutral Onondaga People in August of 1779.  Washington instructed Sullivan that no talks of peace were to be considered until all villages, homes,  fields, food-stores,  cattle herds and orchards of the Onondaga were destroyed.  Sullivan completed Washington's orders just as winter set in.  Hundreds of Onodaga People starved to death and died of exposure in the deep winter snows. 12). 71).
During Washington's darkest hour at Valley Forge,  when his troops faced starvation  and death by exposure, the Onieda People carried over 600 bushels of corn and many blankets to Washington's desperate troops.  After the war was over,  the generosity of the Onieda was re-paid by the confiscation of their lands.  The Onieda were scattered like leaves before a winter wind.  Some remained on a small parcel of land in New York,  others migrated to Wisconsin,  and the remainder found refuge in Canada.  12).

 


1808

THOMAS JEFFERSON:    "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just."

In 1808, a delegation of Cherokee people, pleaded with President Jefferson to make them citizens, so that they could be granted protection from renegade whites, that were robbing their farms, and business', and killing their people. Jefferson, the father of our democracy, denied their request. 1).

Jefferson wrote that the United States should,  "...now to pursue them [Indians] to extermination, or to drive them to new seats beyond our reach."     http://www.eyapaha.org

As President,  Jefferson suggested that Indian Chiefs be encouraged to go into debt to government trading houses so that the debt could be then paid for by forcing the Indians to cede their  lands to the United States.
64).

Located on Jefferson's slave plantation of Monticello, were burial mounds that contained the remains of thousands of Native People. Jefferson disinterred many of these bodies to satisfy his curiosity in anthropology. The descendants of these unearthed dead however, were less than satisfied with this behavior.

Jefferson defended his looting of Indian graves with the words,  "The dead have no rights." 64).

 

 

MARTIN VAN BUREN:
President Van Buren would write in 1837:
 "No state can achieve proper culture,  civilization  and progress as long as Indians are permitted to remain." 31).

 

 

DANIEL BOONE:
Boone organized "industrial" hunting parties into Shawnee and Cherokee hunting grounds,  killing hundreds of deer for their skins.  Twice he was  stopped by native leaders and warned that he and his men were not welcome and their hunting practices would not be permitted to continue.  Ignoring these warnings Boone pressed forward in his quest for riches.  Eventually Boone's persistence resulted in hostilities that resulted in the death of his son James.  Boone himself would later be captured and adopted into the Shawnee Nation.  Boone would return to his old habits and his white relations however.  He lost another son,  Israel,  to hostilities with Native Peoples.  Eventually when the First Nations were driven from Kentucky by the onslaught of white "civilization,"  Boone himself was stripped of ownership of  the lands that he had acquired with the blood of his sons.   In his later years an embittered Boone would write,  "I shun white men and seek the Indian.  I am but a common man......I am sorry for any Indian I ever killed,  for they were kinder to me than any white man."48).

 

 

ANDREW JACKSON: As a general, he lead an army against the Creek people. Defeating the Creek at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, he ordered his soldiers  to cut off the noses of the 557,  killed Creek warriors to make easier the tallying of the dead.  After removal of the noses of the Creek warriors, Jackson's troops skinned the bodies of the dead.  The skins were tanned and made into trinkets, and  souvenirs such as bridle reins. 6).

Defying the Supreme Court, as President, he forced the removal of the Choctaw and Cherokee Nations to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears.  Nearly one in four, or over 4000 Cherokee perished on this death march. 31).  1). 12). 11). 

The Choctaw fared better.  Only one in seven perished, or  approximately  2500 men, women and children. To add insult to injury the Choctaw were forced to pay the cost of, $5,097,367.50 for their own removal.  Their land in Mississippi was sold for $8,095,614.89.  The balance,  $2,998,000.00,  was kept by the US government.   71).

Jackson felt that conditions of the Cherokee removal, the "Trail of Tears," was so desirable that he noted,  "How many thousands of our own people would gladly embrace the opportunity of removing to the West on such conditions?" 64).  Let the record show that no U.S. citizen took Jackson up on his offer.

 

-

 

COMMISSIONERS OF INDIAN AFFAIRS:

        Lewis Cass (Secretary of War)  In 1832 Cass cut off funding of a smallpox vaccination program for         Indians of the Upper Missouri  fearing the pro British Blackfeet tribe may benefit.  Five years later a smallpox epidemic broke out and over 20,000 Native People perished. 67).
        William Medill (1845-1849)   Described Indians as,  "....ignorant, degraded, lazy, [with] no worthwhile cultural traits."   
        Luke Lea   (1850-1853) denounced Indians as barbarians that needed to be conquered so that their lands may be given to good "Christian People."
A group of Indian Commissioners wrote in the 1850's of the "Indian problem" in Calofornia,  "As there is no further West to which they can be removed,  the General Government and the People of California appear to have left but one alternative in relation to these remnants of once powerful and numerous tribes, viz: extermination or domestication."  
77).
        Dennis Nelson Cooley (1865-1866) referred to Pueblo Indians as,  "....miserable lizard eaters,"  and wrote that elimination of Indian culture was,  "....a laudable objective."
64).       
        Charles Burke  (1920's)   went so far as to publicly assail the Taos culture and religion and told the Taos People that their beliefs made them "half animals." 31).

 

 

OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES:   the celebrated author wrote in 1855,  in the poem  "Oration.":


"....this sketch in red crayons of a rudimental manhood,  to keep the continent from being a blank until the true lord of creation should come to claim it." 31).  64).
The difficulties between White America and it's First Peoples could in the opinion of Holmes be solved in but one way,  "...extermination." 75).

 

 

JOHN SUTTER (huge landholder in California on whose land was found the gold that started the California gold rush):

Enjoyed the easy life of luxury due to his extensive "ownership" of Indian slaves. In 1844  Sutter's manager,  Pierson Reading, wrote, "The Indians of California make as obedient and humble slaves as the Negro in the South."1).

 

 

BRIGHAM YOUNG   (apostle in the Latter Day Saint movement. Young was the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1847 until his death, the founder of Salt Lake City and the first governor of the Utah Territory, United States. Brigham Young University was named in his honor):

In 1857 Brigham Young ordered an armed force of Mormon men under the command of Mormon elder John D. Lee to, "...waylay our enemies, attack them from ambush, stampede their animals ,  take their supply trains.... to waste away our enemies."   Elder Lee followed Young's order in his attack on a wagon train in the infamous Mountain Meadows massacre.  The attack was deliberately fashioned to blame the attack on  Paiute Indians,  which helped inflame public attitudes against the First People of Utah.

 Twenty years later the truth of the conspiracy was brought to light.   It was widely reported at the time, that Brigham Young  believed that sacrificing Lee would pave the way for Utah's admittance as a state to the United States.  Lee was taken to the site of the Mountain Massacre and made to sit on his coffin. As the firing squad drew aim Lee cried out, "Center on my heart boys.  Don't mangle my body."  55).

On the 150th anniversary of the slaughter, in September of 2007, Mormon Apostle, Henry B. Eyring, issued an official expression of "regret" to the Paiute People for the actions of the church that orchestrated the murders and then conspired to place blame on the tribe for the massacre. 80).

The Mormon  faith decrees that American Indians are direct descendants of ancient Israelites.  Mormon anthropologist, Thomas Murphy, chairman of the anthropology department at Edmonds Community College in Lynnwood, Washington, conducted a scientific DNA study to determine the validity of this claim,  which came up negative.  On December 8, 2002, the church started excommunication hearings against Mr. Murphy for his attempts to bring light to the truth. After press coverage embarrassed the church it quietly halted its removal proceedings against Mr. Murphy 57).
  
additional link: http://articles.latimes.com/2006/feb/16/local/me-mormon16     88).

 

 

 
 
GOVERNOR LEELAND STANFORD  (governor of California,  Stanford University was named in his honor):

California was once the most densely populated Native population center in North America. During the administration of Governor Stanton rag-tag militias ranged across the countryside of California killing Native People to facilitate White settlers in the appropriation Indian lands.  77).

Between the years 1850 and 1863 it is recorded that an estimated 10,000 California Indians were sold into slavery or forced into indentured service.  Many of these slaves and servants were Native children that had been taken from their parents.

It has been estimated that the Native population of California was once in excess of 700,000 people. By 1840 this Native populace had plummeted to under 200,000 and by 1870,  after twenty years of American rule, their number had dwindled to 31,000.  A decline of nearly 8500 people per year.

 It has been argued by many historians that in California existed perhaps the most pervasive and murderous record of genocide in American history.  One California settler would write that parties of Anglo men would go out two or three times a week and kill an average of 50 or 60 Indians on each trip.  31).  One survivor of the Humboldt Villages  from Needle Rock wrote later, "About 10 o'clock in the morning some white men came.  They killed my grandfather, and my mother and my father. I saw them do it.  I was a big girl at the time. They killed my baby sister and cut her heart out and threw it in the brush where I ran and hid.... I didn't know what to do.  I was so scared that I guess I ran and hid there a long time with my little sisters heart in my hands,"  77).

 "Good Haul of Diggers,"  one  California newspaper rejoiced in a bold face headline after a local band of weekend soldiers exterminated  a band of Native People.  The United States federal government reimbursed California over $1,5000,000 for its efforts to rid the state of it's population of Native People.
 

 GOVERNOR PETER BURNETT:  (governor of California),  "A war of extermination shall continue between the races until the Indians are extinct."  70).


To view a more complete history of the First People of California go to:  http://www.indiancanyon.org/homeframe2000.html


 

SAMUEL GEORGE MORTON:  Regarded as among the foremost scientific minds in America in the mid 1800's
                                                        
Like many of his colleagues  of the 1800's Dr. Morton mined scientific evidence to fit a worldview dominated by Christian theology and Euro-centric bias. Morton believed that skull size determined cognitive ability. Aware of the danger of amassing a collection of skulls from Caucasian gravesites, Dr. Morton instead concentrated on acquiring skulls from American Indian burial grounds.  The world's best known biologist at the time,  Louis Agassiz,  wrote his mother that Morton's collection of over 600 skulls,  nearly all of which were Indian,  was alone worth a trip to America.  Morton's collection eventually grew to over 1,000 specimens.
Based on skull size and phrenology (bumps on the skull)  Morton determined that Caucasians were the highest race,  American Indians according to Morton had an inferior intellect.  Morton stated,  "The Indian brain was so deficient that the race would be impossible to civilize."  Morton also noted that, "....He who has seen one Indian tribe has seen it all."  Morton's work influenced anthropology for decades and his work was regarded as among the most advanced of it's time.
 After the death of Albert Einstein,  Einstein's  brain was removed, measured and found to be smaller than the average human brain and far smaller than the largest recorded brain size .  It was then that the long discredited work,  the nonsense, and bigotry of Samuel Morton and his generation of anthropologists was finally put to rest, once and for all.
64).

 

 

HORACE GREELEY: regarded as one of the most influential journalists of his time,  prominent opponent of slavery and the death penalty,  he would become the Democratic nominee for President in 1872. Perhaps best remembered  for his advice to Josiah Bushnell Grinnell,  "Go West young man, go West."

In 1859 Mr. Greeley wrote the following passage:   " To the prosaic observer,  the Indian of the woods and prairies is a human being who does little credit to human nature,  a slave of appetite and sloth, ...I could not help saying, 'These people must die out,  there is no help for them.  God has given this Earth to those who will subdue and cultivate it,  and it is vain to struggle against his righteous decree."
Mr. Greeley's opposition to the death penalty had its limits. He was not above calling for the extermination of a race of people.  Specifically, a  race of people that stood in the way of his own race's  self- proclaimed "Manifest Destiny." It is with some irony that I note his birthplace of Amherst, New Hampshire,  one of many towns named in honor of  Lord Jeffery Amherst,  the British General that deliberately introduced smallpox among the Native People of New England 

 

 

GENERAL POPE:  First commander of the Military Department of the Northwest,  and  later a Civil War leader in the Union Army:

"It is my purpose to exterminate the Sioux."  

  Later, after uttering these words, General Pope over-saw the  military trial of  the Santee-Dakota People,  arrested after their  desperate attempt to drive out the settlers in southwest Minnesota. The Santee-Dakota were slowing starving to death due to chronic shortages of promised government rations and rampant theft of government commodities by traders and corrupt government officials.  After a trader named Andrew Myrick told a council of elders,  "So far as I am concerned, if they are hungry let them eat grass or their own dung,"  92). the Santee-Dakota rebelled and drove off 1000's of settlers, killing hundreds before their rebellion failed against the weight of General Pope's Army. Of the 392 prisoners tried, 306 were sentenced to death.   So gross was the miscarriage of justice in these proceedings that all but 38 of the death sentences were commuted.

 


1862

 

ABRAHAM LINCOLN:

In my opinion the greatest man ever to hold the office of president.  I however in all fairness  must also point out the fact that after commuting the death sentences of 268 Dakota warriors in 1862,  he allowed the execution of 38 Dakota men at the largest mass hanging in U.S. history. Many of the condemned men played no part in the rebellion. One of the executed, was a man named Chaska. Chaska's sole involvement  in the rebellion , consisted of protecting a young white woman named Sarah Wakefield. To ensure the young lady's safety and to protect her honor Chaska went so far as to "take" Miss Wakefield as his wife.  After the hostilities ended Miss Wakefield courageously  but futilely defended Chaska's actions and conduct. Chaska, and his 37 condemned compatriots,  plunged through the trap doors of the gallows on December 26th, 1862,  the day after the Christian celebration of Christmas. 94).

In 1863 President Lincoln, at a conference with Native leaders from the Southern Plains, presented the leaders with Presidential Peace Medals. Attempting to persuade the  Native leaders of the superiority of White society he lectured them with the words,  "We are not as a race so much disposed to fight and kill one another as our Red Brethren."   Certainly these words must have bewildered the Native leaders as they were aware that over 300,000 men had died in the Civil War up to that point in time and another 300,000 would die before Lincoln himself was assassinated .

 

 

Doctor WILLIAM W. MAYO: frontier doctor

After the mass execution of the Dakota warriors in 1862, Doctor William Mayo  and other frontier doctors dug up the bodies of a number of the Dakota warriors. Taking the body of a man named Cut Nose,  Doctor Mayo returned the body to his office were he de-fleshed,  bleached and cleaned the bones.  He then wired the bones together so that he may have a "first rate"  display for his office.  His two sons developed a boyhood fascination with the skeleton,  a fascination that would develop into an interest and obsession for the study of medicine. These two sons of the grave robber,  William Mayo,  would one day open in Rochester, MN.  the world famous Mayo Clinic. 4).

 

 

JOHN EVANS:  ( administrator of Rush Medical College, co-founder of the city of Evanston, Illinois,  territorial governor of Colorado)
In the fall of 1864,  Black Kettle, White Antelope and other  leaders of a band of Cheyenne People,  marched into Denver to meet with the governor and  the Methodist minister, Colonel John Milton Chivington,  and  Colonel George Shoup the commander of the Colorado Third Regiment of Volunteers.   Black Kettle wanted to impress upon the governor  and the Colonels his desire for peace.  Black Kettle was to say,
" I want you to get all these chiefs here to understand that we are for peace and we have made peace and we may not be mistaken for enemies."
After Black Kettle left  the peace conference,  
Evans was overheard saying,  "What shall I do with the 3rd Regiment if I make peace? They were raised to kill Indians and they must kill Indians!"
Governor Evans would eventually help establish the University of Denver and the citizens of the state would honor him in death by holding a state funeral and naming one of North America's highest mountain peaks in his honor.

 

 

COLONEL JOHN MILTON CHIVINGTON  (The Bloody Preacher):

"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!"   -The Reverend John M. Chivington-

Chivington's,  3rd Regiment of Colorado Volunteers, was commissioned for 100 days and by late October of 1864 had exceeded their "commission," without engaging any "hostile" Indians.  The territorial newspapers had openly mocked Chivington and his volunteers by calling them,  "The Bloodless Third."  Chivington's inability to locate any Indians was resolved as he watched Black Kettle and White Antelope ride back to their village after their peace parley with Gov.  Evans in Denver.  Black Kettle had left specific directions to the location of his people,  who were camped nearby Fort Lyon.  The fort's commander,  Major Scott Anthony had invited Black Kettle and his people to camp nearby the fort so that they would not be mistaken for "hostiles."  
On November 29,  1864, Colonel Chivington,  and 750 men of the Colorado 3rd Regiment surrounded Black Kettle's village  on the banks of Sand Creek,  and marched upon it
. "Take no prisoners," ordered Colonel Chivington. Some of Chivington's junior officers made note of the large U.S. flag that flew over the lodge of Black Kettle and reminded Chivington of the promise made to Black Kettle by the United States that the flag would protect Black Kettle and his people from being mistaken for hostile bands.  Chivington replied,  " Scalps are what we are after....I long to be wading in gore!" 37).  64).

As the soldiers advanced upon the village, Black Kettle and his wife took up a large white flag and walked toward the advancing volunteers crying out for peace.  Black Kettle was shot,  his wife suffered nine bullet wounds.  Thinking her dead, Black Kettle left her in the bloody sand.   She would survive the massacre as would Black Kettle.
 White Antelope,  aged 75 years, at first raised his arms and shouted in English, "Stop!  Stop!"   When he realized the futility of his pleas he stood unarmed in front of his lodge,  crossed his arms and sang his death song, "Nothing lives long, Only the Earth and the mountains...."  77). The volunteers shot him dead.  A soldier dismounted and scalped White Antelope.  The soldier cut off White Antelope's nose,  ears,  and genitalia,  and vowed to make a tobacco pouch out of the scrotum. 37). 
The shooting  continued for over eight hours.  One-hundred-thirty-three Cheyenne People  were butchered , 98  of the slaughtered were  women and children.  The volunteers mutilated the bodies of the murdered Cheyenne people. Heads were hacked off,  fingers severed, scalps were  skinned from skulls,  private parts of men and women were cut away and placed in obscene manner.  Soldiers cut off the breasts of women and mounted them on sticks. Accounts tell that a pregnant woman had been sliced open and the fetus she carried was ripped from her womb.  Some of Colorado's finest stretched the private parts of butchered Cheyenne women over their saddle horns and around the brims of their hats. Lieutenant James Connor testified later that he did not find a single body that had not been mutilated. The 3rd Regiment paraded triumphantly through the streets of Denver, proudly displaying their gruesome booty.  Many of the body parts,  along with a rope of over 100 Cheyenne scalps were put on display at the Denver Opera House so that all could witness  Colonel Chivington's  triumph over the "savages."  After the display ended, the skulls and bones were carefully de-fleshed and sent to the Army Medical Museum in Washington, DC..  64).         
The territorial newspapers proudly reported the great victory and renamed the 3rd Regiment as the "Bloody Third."   The "Miner's Register" used the reporting of Chivington's work at Sand Creek to advise settlers on how to leave strychnine poisoned food near Indian trails so that Native People could be exterminated in the manner Minnesota settlers had poisoned over 100 Indian people a few years before. The article stated the efficiency and lower cost of poison as compared to gunpowder and lead.  37).
 "The Rocky Mountain News" recorded on December 22nd,  
"Cheyenne scalps are getting as thick here as toads in Egypt.  Everyone has got one,  and is anxious to get another to send East."  37).
The news was less well received back East however.  After an outcry from Eastern society over the slaughter and mutilation of women and children (those back East were nearly 100 years removed from their own murderous history)  an unrepentant Colonel Chivington defended the slaughter of children by declaring "Nits make lice."
Chivington was brought up on military charges in the spring of 1865  for his heinous crimes at Sand Creek.  But because he and the "Bloody Third,"  had only been commissioned for 100 days,  and the butchery at Sand Creek occurred after the commission  had expired. The military decided it had no jurisdiction in the matter.  Chivington's powerful political allies prevented him or any other soldier or officer of the "Third,"  from facing charges.
In 1866 Chivington's son drowned . After his wife died in August of 1867 Chivington married the widow of his son.  The marriage lasted less than two weeks.  His new wife fled to escape his brutality and abuse.
In 1883 Chivington was appointed Under Sheriff of Denver and was later elected County Coroner
 To his death in 1894 at the age of 73,  Reverend Chivington was adamant that he had carried out  "God's work."  Shortly  before his death he gave a speech in which he proudly boasted, "I still stand by Sand Creek."
The legacy of Reverend Chivington lives yet today.  During the 1980's,  a Colorado state legislator would proudly show his colleagues a "tobacco pouch" that was made from the scrotum of one of the Cheyenne men that had been butchered at Sand Creek. The legislator used the "pouch" as a candy bag.  After his death the family retained possession of the "family heirloom," and kept alive generations of family tradition.
 In memory of Colonel Chivington, and to honor his service to the citizens of Colorado and the advancement of civilization,  grateful pioneers would name a town after him.  A  nearby Methodist church carries his name to this very day.
Sand Creek remains all but forgotten,  part of a private ranch. Cattle graze today over the sandy ground that once ran red with blood.  Only the prayer flags and tobacco ties that hang on a barb wire fence,   placed there by descendants of the victims, serve as notice that this spot is hallowed ground.


POSTSCRIPT:  On April 25th, 2002,  Southwest Entertainment of Minneapolis, MN,  purchased the 1,465 acre Dawson Ranch for 1.5 million dollars. Southwest is planning to turn over title of the land to the Cheyenne-Arapaho tribes.  Ultimately the plan is to have the National Park Service administer the site as  a National Historic Site.  Jim Druck,  president of Southwest Entertainment,  was the driving force behind the purchase and transfer to the Cheyenne-Arapaho tribes.  Mr. Druck was one of the few non-Indian people invited to witness a reburial of Sand Creek victims whose bones had been discovered at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C..  "I said then I wanted to do something."    -Jim Druck-

 

 

COLONEL GEORGE SHOUP:( one of the founding fathers of Salmon, Idaho,  first territorial governor of Idaho and first elected governor of that state, first U.S. senator elected from Idaho)
Before George Shoup achieved the above mentioned accomplishments he had served as the  second in command of  The Third  Colorado Volunteers,  the unit responsible for the slaughter and mutilation of the Cheyenne and Arapaho People at Sand Creek.  
Shoup would brag in a letter that as a result of the whipping he and his men had administered, the Indians would lose their will to resist.  In fact it was after the atrocities at Sand Creek that warfare broke out all across the Plains.   Shoup's  political connections shielded him from criminal charges relating to the atrocities committed under his command.   Shoup was never brought to trial. 37)

 

 

LOUIS AGASSIZ:  regarded as America's foremost anthropologist of the mid 1800s
Given charge of a new museum at Havard University,   Agassiz wrote to Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton in 1865, "Let me have the bodies of some Indians....I should like one or two handsome fellows entire, and the heads of two or three more." The good doctor was kind enough to include detailed instructions for preservation of the bodies, "....in case the weather was not very cold."  64).

 

 

President U.S. GRANT:

As Commanding General of the Union Army,  Grant  was appalled by the slaughter at Sand Creek.  He said the actions of Colonel Chivington were nothing less than murder.  In October of 1868 however General Grant was quoted by the New York Times, "....the settlers and emigrants must be protected,  even if the extermination of every Indian tribe is necessary to procure such a result."  42).

Violating the separation of state and government President Grant issued an executive order  in 1870, that gave franchise to various religious denominations on the reservations.  The intent  of this executive order was to destroy Native spiritual belief and further hurry along the process of  "whipping the Indian out of the man." Some denominations went so far in making church services mandatory,  rations were denied those that did not attend services,  or were with-held from those that continued to practice their traditional beliefs.  In some cases, when denial of rations to a reluctant "convert" did not work,  rations were also denied to the relations, and family of the reluctant "convert" in an effort to prod the person along the path of Christianity.  It was in effect,  convert or starve,  an American version of feeding the "Martyrs" to the lions.

 After the Panic of 1873,  President Grant was looking for a way to divert  citizen's attention from the economic crisis gripping the country and the growing scandals that plagued his administration. President Grant ordered George Armstrong Custer to scout the Black Hills in search of gold, in direct violation of the treaty of 1868. One provision of the Treaty of 1868 stipulated that the government of The United States was responsible for keeping white settlers out of the Black Hills area. When thousands of miners invaded the Black Hills President Grant again violated the treaty and ordered the Army to do nothing.  It was his hope that hostility would break out.  It did,  thus giving the U.S. government the justification to make war upon the Lakota people. 23).

In the brutal winter of 1876,  President Grant ordered all Lakota People to move to the various agencies by January 31,  1876.  The order stated that all Lakota that did not move to the agencies by this date would be considered "hostiles."  Deep snow and temperatures that reached 45 degrees below zero prevented some of the messengers from even reaching the far flung winter encampments before the deadline passed. Those that received the order ignored it as foolishness and refused to place the lives of their elderly and young at risk and instead sent word that they would comply when the weather broke.  Regardless,  after the deadline passed, President Grant ordered the military campaign that ended the freedom of the Lakota People as well as led up to the demise of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and approximately one-third of his command at the place the Lakota called,  Greasy Grass.

As President,  Grant advocated and encouraged the slaughter of the buffalo.  Between the years 1870-1875 the buffalo were reduced in number from more than 15 million to less than 1 million.  44).   From 1874 through 1875 between ten to twenty tons of buffalo bones a day were shipped East on the Santa Fe Railroad alone. 55).

 After his gross violation of the Treaty of 1868 Grant sent military negotiators to force the Lakota to "sell" the Black Hills to the United States.  These very negotiators would write in 1876 of the sins that they were compelled to commit:   "....Our country must forever bear the disgrace and suffer the retribution of its wrongdoing.  Our children's children will tell the sad story in hushed tones,  and wonder how their fathers dare so trample on justice and trifle with God." 31).

 

 

GENERAL GEORGE CROOK:

In the spring of 1876 food had run out at many of the government agencies,   in-spite of the fact that many bands of the Lakota people had "stayed out."  The bands that had obeyed President Grant's ultimatum now found themselves beginning to starve.  Many of the bands left the agencies in search of game.  General Crook ordered one such band pursued by Colonel Joseph J. Reynolds.  Reynolds caught up with this  mixed band of Cheyenne and Oglala Lakota people and attacked the sleeping village at dawn on March 17th, 1876.  He drove off the Cheyenne and Lakota people, destroyed the village and what belongings and food they had,  and captured all the horses.  That night   the warriors snuck back and recaptured their horses and escaped.  General Crook was  less than pleased with Colonel Reynolds' conduct in the field and had Reynolds court-martialed.

 

 

GENERAL PHILLIP SHERIDAN:

Attributed with saying, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian." (The actual quote is, "The only good Indian I ever saw was dead.")
When legislation was proposed in Texas to protect the buffalo herds Sheridan rushed to Austin to protest.  He said, " The buffalo hunters have done more in two years to settle the vexed Indian problem than the entire U.S. Army has done in ten years.... Send them powder and lead if you will but for the sake of peace let them kill, skin,  and sell until the buffalo are exterminated."  55).

Ironically in later years General Sheridan  had this to say,  "We took away their country and their means of support, and it was for this and against this they made war. Could anyone expect less?" 1).


YOUR PEOPLE MAKE BIG TALK AND SOMETIMES MAKE WAR IF AN INDIAN KILLS A WHITE MAN'S OX TO KEEP HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN FROM STARVING.  WHAT DO YOU THINK MY PEOPLE SHOULD SAY WHEN THEY SEE OUR BUFFALO KILLED BY YOUR RACE WHEN YOU ARE NOT HUNGRY!
                                                -LITTLE ROBE-
    44).

 

 

GENERAL WILLIAM T. SHERMAN:

In a telegram to President U.S. Grant,    "First kill off the buffalo, then kill off the Indian.    We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, men, women, and children."

Ever the ruthless soldier and never one that could be mistaken as an "Indian lover," Sherman, never-the-less, was also quoted  in his astute observation when he described  a reservation as, "...a parcel of land inhabited by Indians and surrounded by thieves."

 

 

GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER:

After graduating last in his class at West Point and setting a record for demerits and reprimands Custer quickly proved his willingness to please his superiors and to succeed at any cost.  Rising quickly through the ranks,  Custer became the youngest man ever to attain the rank of General.   His reckless bravado resulted in many Civil War victories but at the cost of troops under his command suffering the highest casualty rate in the war. 35).  23).

One specific incident during the Civil War would provide particular insight into Custer's character.  In 1864, General U.S. Grant issued an order that stated that any men fighting under the command of Confederate Colonel John S. Mosby that were captured, should be summarily executed.  The order,  relayed through Union General Phil Sheridan,  was ignored by all but one of General Sheridan's subordinates,  and that lone exception was  General George Custer.  Custer captured six of Colonel Mosby's men in September of 1864 and had them shot to death on the streets of Fort Royal, Virginia.  34).   Soon after the end of  the Civil War Custer's ruthless behavior and naked ambition  would be brought to bear against the Plains People.

Anxious to prove himself an "Indian Fighter," Custer was given command of an army  with which he scoured the states of Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma,  hoping to engage any Indians that he might find. During this command Custer had deserters shot without benefit of hearings. This in-spite of the fact that Custer himself on numerous occasions deserted his command to be in the company of his wife or to go off on hunting expeditions.  In  September of 1867 Custer was court-martialed and convicted of abandoning his command and having deserters executed.  He was sentenced to a one year suspension without pay for these crimes. http://leav-www.army.mil/history/custer.htm

Ten months later General Phil Sheridan reinstated Custer to command a campaign against the Southern Cheyenne in Oklahoma.   Desperate for action that would redeem his honor, Custer came upon a peaceful camp of Southern Cheyenne camped along the Washita River, on November  28th,  1868.

This encampment was nearby  an U.S. army outpost and  under the leadership of the "Peace Chief,  Black Kettle."   The lodge of Black Kettle flew a large U.S. flag identifying the camp  as a "friendly village." Black Kettle was given this flag by the United States government and told that as long as it flew over his lodge he and his people would be under the protection of the United States Army.

Custer's scouts identified this small camp circle as a friendly village and warned the general not to attack. Custer ignored his scouts and ordered any man shot that attempted to prevent his plans for attack the next morning. As Custer planned the attack on the village he did not conduct reconnaissance of the village and surrounding area .

The next morning,   November 29th 1868,  marching to his favorite tune "Gary Owen," Custer and his soldiers attacked the village. The 67 year old Black Kettle and his wife  Medicine Women Later, walked toward the attacking cavalry,  carrying a white flag and calling out for peace. Black Kettle and Medicine Woman Later were shot down and killed. Their bodies and the white flag were trampled under the hooves of the horses and into the bloody mud, as the Calvary advanced on the village.

 Black Kettle, always a voice for peace and accommodation with the Whites,  was to be betrayed in his trust a second time.  First at the Massacre of Sand Creek when his people were butchered by the Methodist preacher John Chivington  and a second  and final time along the banks of the river known as the Washita. One-hundred and three Cheyenne people, died there along with Black Kettle and his wife.  Ninety-two of the dead were women, children,  and old people unable to flee the advance of Custer and his troops.

As the Cheyenne warriors fought a rear-guard action to protect the fleeing villagers, Custer ordered a contingent of 18 men under the command of Lt. Joel Elliot to cut off the escape route of the terrified villagers. The Cheyenne were running in the direction of the rest of the strung-out encampment of Cheyenne and Arapaho people. There were, unknown to Custer because of his lack of reconnaissance, over 6000 other Native People camped further downstream on the Washita this day.

Lt. Elliot and his men rode into the face of warriors riding down to investigate the sounds of gunfire coming from Black Kettle's camp. As the sounds from this ensuing battle made its way to Custer's position, Custer realized he was in grave danger. He abandoned his position and left Lt. Elliot and his men without support. Lt. Elliot and his men were all killed.

Custer skillfully manipulated the reporting of these facts and escaped responsibility for abandoning Lt. Elliot and his men.  Custer was hailed as a hero for his actions .  The fact that he had knowingly attacked a peaceful camp of Indian people and murdered over 100 Cheyenne men, women, and children, did little to tarnish the luster of his growing popularity with the American People.  After the massacre at the Washita, Custer was mentioned as a possible candidate for President by the press and many prominent politicians.

In 1873, Colonel D.S. Stanley,  Custer's superior officer on a surveying expedition along the Yellowstone, would write to his wife about Custer,  " [Custer is] a cold-blooded, untruthful and unprincipled man .... universally despised by all the officers of his regiment." 35).  

Colonel Custer would, three years later, confirm Stanley's assessment of him.  Blinded by ambition he recklessly unleashed an uncoordinated attack on a gathering of Lakota, and Northern Cheyenne People on June 25th, 1876 at the place called the Greasy Grass. Remembering the lessons of Sand Creek and the Washita massacres,  the Lakota, and  Cheyenne,   fought back.  Custer's ambition and reckless actions led 267 soldiers, 34 Lakota and 7 Cheyenne People to their deaths that hot day in June.

 Colonel Stanley would eventually rise on his merits to the rank of Brigadier General. But history seldom mentions the steady Colonel Stanley and all but forgets his prophetic assessment of Custer's character.  Custer would in defeat,  rise to mythic status  in Western history and folklore of that of a gallant American hero, and defy  in death an accounting of his life.

Elizabeth Bacon Custer,  the Colonel's widow, devoted the rest of her life, to a largely successful attempt to rehabilitate the image of her late husband.  She wrote of her efforts:  "There will come a time when tradition and history are so intermingled that no one will be able to separate them."  
51).  
Mrs. Custer lived until 1933, and died just two days short of her 91st birthday.  To quote Robert Paul Jordan, " ....she remained George Custer's greatest admirer,  brooking no detractions,  singing his praises in three books. She described  their military life  and adventures simply and clearly and with something less than the whole truth."
54).


 To view  the  1876 Chicago Tribune's opinion of Colonel Custer and his actions at the Greasy Grass hit on the hyperlink below.

(click here to view more on the Battle of the Greasy Grass) 


 

HENRY CLAY (Secretary of State)  described Indians as follows, "...not an improvable breed."  destined to an extinction that "...will be no great loss to the world." 77). 
  

 

 

L. FRANK BAUM: (editor of the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer)

In 1890, Baum, first after the assassination of Sitting Bull, and again after the slaughter of 300 Lakota People (mostly women and children) at Wounded Knee, called for the extermination of all remaining Indian people.
Mr. Baum wrote after the assassination of Sitting Bull,  "....and what few are left are a pack of whining curs who lick the hand that smites them.  The Whites, by law of conquest,  by justice of civilization,  are masters of the American continent,  and the best safety of the frontier settlements will be secured by the total annihilation of the few remaining Indians. Why not annihilation?  Their glory has fled,  their spirit broken,  their manhood effaced;  better that they die than live the miserable wretches that they are."  Two weeks later, after the slaughter of 300 Lakota people at Wounded Knee,  Mr. Baum wrote,  "The PIONEER has before declared that our only safety depends upon the total extermination of the Indians.  Having wronged them for centuries we had better,  in order to protect our civilization,  follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and un-tamable creatures from the face of the Earth.  In this lies safety for our settlers ....." 9).


Ten years after these calls for  murder, racial cleansing and genocide, Baum wrote the gentle children's classic,
"The Wizard of OZ."  The story of  L. Frank Baum is a classic example of art imitating life: in the novel,  the gentle man behind the curtain was not the fearsome Wizard  that he pretended to be,  the author of the novel was not the gentle writer that many wistfully remember.

 

 

MARK TWAIN:  In 1871, America's favorite author and humorist would write of the Gosiute People of the Great Basin area:  ".... [the Gosiutes are] the wretchedness type of mankind I have ever seen up to this writing....The Bushmen and our Goshoots are manifestly descended from the self-same gorilla, or kangaroo, or Norway rat,  whichever animal-Adam the Darwinians trace them to." 31).  
Nineteen years later,  in 1890,  Twain would write,  "....I have been an author for twenty years and an ass for fifty-five." 38).   Although I disagree and condemn the first quote of Twain's,  I concur with the second.

 

 

"Pa" ENGALLS:

The real life person portrayed by Michael Landon in "Little House on the Prairie," was an illegal squatter on land the U.S. government set aside for Native People. He had hoped that the government would vacate the Indian title to his homestead so that he, like many before him in similar circumstances would gain "ownership" to land that had been deeded to the original people of this country.  To his bitter disappointment, he and his family were removed by the government in a rare action that actually followed the treaty law as it was agreed upon.

 

 

Senator HENRY L. DAWES:

 Senator Dawes complained of  Indian society,  "There is no selfishness,  which is at the bottom of civilization." 19).    Senator Dawes was the author of the "General Allotment Act,"  which broke up the tribal land masses into individual allotments, perhaps the single most harmful legal maneuver ever foisted upon the Native people.

 

 

The DONNER PARTY:

Sympathetically remembered as people that were reduced to cannibalization of the dead in order to survive,  the complete story is somewhat different.  

The party,  overburdened by material goods and far behind time,  pressed forward into the ill-fated mountain pass against the advice and council of their two Indian guides.   Although the two Indian men had been rebuked in their warnings they refused to abandon the party.  As the snows came as predicted by the two Indian guides, the party floundered in the snow, and  starvation set in.   Some of the Donner party expressed their intent to consume the bodies of their deceased partners.  The two Indian guides were abhorred and sickened by such thoughts and strongly voiced their disapproval,  which earned them the attention of the hungry pioneers.  Perhaps to  silence any dissent over the plans to cannibalize the dead,  talk soon turned to killing the two guides and consuming them as well.   One  member of the Donner party  warned the two Indian guides of this talk.  The two horrified guides attempted to remove themselves from the snow-bound mountain pass but in their weakened condition  were only able to place a short distance between themselves and their recently nourished pursuers.  They were overtaken, shot, butchered, parceled out, and devoured.

Some cynics say that, "No good  deed goes unpunished."   Certainly in the example of the two Indian guides of the Donner Party,  this was true.  They paid with their lives for their humanitarian concerns in attempting  to protect the members of the Donner Party from their own self-inflected  disaster.

But in a larger sense, this tragedy is a microcosm of Native and White relations.  The two Native guides helping and guiding the  Anglo newcomers, until the time in which the newcomers  inevitably would turn on their benefactors.

 


1900
 

ROBERT PEARY, famed Polar explorer:

Peary  speciously discredited  Frederick Cook,  and two Native men's, Etukishook and Ahwelah, successful accomplishment of reaching the North Pole in 1908 a year before Peary's  8th and final attempt in 1909. It has since been determined that Peary's last attempt itself most likely fell well short of  the Pole.

Peary, a man driven to achieve fame at any cost, respected the Native People of the Polar regions only to the extent that they served his means. In 1897, in Greenland, Peary robbed a number of Native  graves and sold the remains to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Peary, knowing of the susceptibility of Native People to civilization's microbes, also transported six living Natives to be studied at the museum.  Within one year, 4 of the 6 Natives had perished. 87)                                                                                                                                   

 

THEODORE ROOSEVELT:

"I don't go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians,  but I believe nine out of ten are,  and I shouldn't like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth."
                           -Old Rough and Ready-  Theodore Roosevelt   79).

Perhaps the most undeserving recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize of all time, Roosevelt, described the slaughter, the butchery and debauchery that occurred at Sand Creek in 1864, "as righteous and beneficial a deed as ever took place on the frontier." 79).

Roosevelt stated that the near extermination of the American Indian, "was as ultimately beneficial as it was inevitable." 79).

 He also believed that "degenerates, criminals and feeble minded persons be forbidden to leave offspring behind them."  He feared the better classes of American's were in danger of being outnumbered by the "unrestricted breeding of utterly shiftless....and worthless ,"  people. It is not a long stretch from "Theodore Rex's" elitist views to Hitler's final solution.  Pierre L. van den Berghe rates Roosevelt as among the modern world's top three racist statesmen,  the other two being Hendrik Verwoerd,  architect of South Africa's system of apartheid,  and Adolph Hitler, leader of Nazi Germany.
79).

 President Roosevelt eagerly described the Dawes Act as,   "...a mighty pulverizing engine to break up the tribal mass." 31).

 As President he issued numerous executive orders that transferred over 2.5 million acres of Indian Reservation lands to the National Forest System.
 
He is fondly remembered as the founding father of the National Park system and hailed as a visionary that loved the beauty of nature. Roosevelt
once said,  "I hate a man that would skin the land."  It is supreme irony that he could see the beauty of Nature,  but could not recognize the beauty and dignity of the First People of that land,  a people that had preserved the natural wonder of that very same land for tens of thousands of years. But whatever his shortcomings in cross-cultural understanding may have been,  he certainly understood the tendencies,  traits, and desires of his own culture.  For it was his own culture,  from which he wished to shield the "last wild places."

 

 

DR. SAXON POPE: ( famed for his fascination with the art of the bow and arrow  and one of the two men the "Pope and Young  Archery Records" are named for):

Became fascinated with the bow and arrow after his friendship with the last of the Yahi People,  the man known as Ishi. He once wrote that Ishi, "... was the best friend I had in the world."    As a close friend of Ishi , Doctor Pope was aware that Ishi was vehement in his wishes that in the event of his death,  no autopsy was to be preformed  in accordance with Ishi's religious beliefs.  After a long bout with tuberculosis, in the care of Doctor Pope,  Ishi died on March 25th, 1916. Doctor Pope,  having received a strongly worded letter from Dr A.L. Kroeber that stated,  "...science can go to hell,"  yielded to science the dignity of this man,  Ishi,  that he once described as his, "best friend in the world."  After performing the autopsy upon Ishi's body, Doctor Pope removed the brain, placed it in a jar of formaldehyde,  and sent it to Washington,  D.C.  were it languished,  forgotten on a shelf,  in the Smithsonian for the next 84 years.  In August of the year 2000, Ishi's brain was returned to his homeland where it was given back to the Earth, by the Yani People, relatives of Ishi's now extinct tribe. 27).  3).

 

 

GUTZON BORGLUM:

Hailed by this country, as the man who supervised the carving of Mount Rushmore, he is remembered in a different way by the Lakota People. Borglum was an avowed white supremacist and racist. Before carving Mount Rushmore he joined the Ku Klux Klan and rose through its ranks to serve in the inner sanctum of the Klan's highest advisory board, the Imperial Kloncilium. He wrote stilted prose hailing the conquest of the Lakota People and rejoiced in the illegal confiscation of their land, upon which, in the heart of their most holy ground, the Black Hills, was carved the monument we know as Mount Rushmore. In the lavish, taxpayer funded Mount Rushmore Interpretation Center these facts are nowhere to be found. But the Lakota People remember, and so should we. 19).

 


1950

 

HARRY S TRUMAN:   "Give 'em hell Harry"  certainly gave  Indians hell in 1950 when he appointed the hard-line Dillion S. Myer as Commissioner of Indian Affairs.  

Myer had served the nation in WWII  as the man in charge of internment  and resettlement of Japanese-Americans.  Myer's aggressive and paternalistic attitudes were thus brought to bear on  Native People and set in motion an attitude towards Native People that would outlast the decade.  Myer saw fit to interfere in tribal elections, sold Indian land without consent,  removed BIA officials that defended Native rights, and supported  an act that would have allowed Indian Service employees to be armed and given the authority to arrest and imprison Native People without a warrant.  Myer would state: "We must proceed,  even though Indian co-operation may be lacking in certain cases." 31).
Myer's legacy  eventually lead to the disastrous Eisenhower era policy of "Termination."
Truman's appointment of Myer as Commissioner of Indian Affairs, set back relations between the Federal government and First Nations and reversed many of the positive steps of Franklin Roosevelt's administration,   Truman's personal makeup was however far more admirable. When John Rice of the Winnebago Tribe,  a veteran of WWII  was killed in action in Korea,  his widow was refused permission to bury her husband in a plot she had bought in a Sioux City, Iowa,  because the cemetery was reserved for whites only.  Truman was outraged to learn of this matter and had the Rice family invited as honored guests in Washington, DC,  and arranged for John Rice to be buried in Arlington, National Cemetery with full military honors.
 61).

 

JOHN WAYNE, the most iconic Western actor in Hollywood history:

"I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them.  There were great numbers of people who needed new land and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it to themselves." 93).

Mr. Wayne also said, "Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid."  http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnwayne104005.html  It seems his reputation for toughness is well deserved.

 

RONALD REAGAN:  The Great Communicator: 

While campaigning in South Dakota during the 1980 presidential campaign,  candidate Reagan promised to uphold treaty law and to fulfill America's obligation to Native People.  Reagan quickly broke these promises upon becoming President. As president, Reagan cut funding to Indian programs in unprecedented proportions.
Indian Appropriations accounted for .04% of the federal budget when Reagan took office  In 1982 2.5% of
all federal budget cuts came entirely from that meager .04% of the Federal budget. 77).

 Reagan's Secretary of the Interior,  James Watt,  
called Indians  "social misfits" whose homelands were "examples of the failure of socialism." 31).


While visiting Russia,  Reagan was questioned about the status of Native Americans.  Reagan responded with the following  paternalistic, insulting, and indefensible, display of ignorance and confusion:
    "Let me tell you just a little something about the American Indian in our land.  We have provided millions of acres for what are called preservations,  or the reservations I should say.  They from the beginning,  announced that they wanted to maintain their way of life as they had always lived,  there in the desert and the plains and so forth,  and we set up these reservations so they could and had a Bureau of Indian Affairs to help take care of them, at the same time we provide education for them,  schools on the reservations,  and they are free,  also,  to leave the reservations and be American citizens  among the rest of us,  and many do.  Some still prefer,  however,  that early way of life and we've done everything we can to meet their demands on how they want to live.  Maybe we made a mistake.  Maybe we should not have humored them in that wanting to stay in that kind of primitive lifestyle.  Maybe we should have said,  'No,  come join us,  be citizens. "31).

In all fairness,  Reagan was probably unaware of the level of understanding  and concern for  Native Americans by people outside our country's borders.  He was obviously caught off-guard and un-prepared,  which explains  in part,  the nearly incoherent syntax and bewildering logic of his answer.  However, his lack of understanding of history,  his insensitivity,  his Euro-centric sense of superiority, his disdain for Native culture and Native People,  was to our collective shame,  a fair representation of the nation and the people he served as president
.
Of course there is another more ominous and damning explanation of his disjointed, rambling response. Reagan may have well understood the indefensible record of our nation in its treatment of Native People.  Perhaps he clearly understood the ramifications of admitting the truth but could not bring himself to tarnish the image of America that he saw as,  "A great shining city on a hill."  It is ironic,  that in  Russia,  in the land Reagan once called the "Evil Empire,"  he was confronted with the opportunity to understand how the term "Evil Empire" could  justifiably be applied by others to  describe the country and nation that  he served as Commander in Chief.

 

 

WILLIAM RENQUIST: most recent past Supreme Court Chief Justice

While a young man in Phoenix, Arizona, he set up outside a polling place on election day and questioned Black, Hispanic and Indian people on their qualifications to make an informed decision in the election booth. After complaints were filed with the local police over this illegal action he was ordered by a police officer to remove himself and cease this activity or risk arrest.

As a member of the Supreme Court he referred to all Indian law cases as, "S!#T cases."

He was regarded by many Native People and advocates of treaty rights as unsympathetic at best to Native interests. His rulings and opinions ran against Native nations and contrary to previously established rulings in treaty law.

 

 

 RUSH LIMBAUGH:      (Hosts the most popular radio talk show in America,  also regarded as a world class gasbag, pill-popping blowhard, and  shameless, self promoting, self absorbed, namedropping sycophant)  -In my opinion-

"I don't give a hoot that [Columbus] gave some Indians a disease that they didn't have an immunity against." 17).        (Quote from his best selling book, "The Way Things Ought To Be." pg. 45).    

"There are more American Indians alive today than there were when Columbus arrived or at any other time in history. Does this sound like a record of genocide?" 17).(Quote from his best selling book, "I Told You So." pg. #68). Rush must be using the "new math" to arrive at this conclusion. Most experts today, feel that in the United States and Canada alone, there were in 1492, approximately 10 to 20 million Native Americans.1). By 1900 there were less than 250,000 Native people left alive, a decline of  well over 98%. At the time the "all knowing" Rushkie wrote this book there were approximately 2,300,000 enrolled native people and an additional 1,000,000 other Indian people of various degrees of Native blood. Using a very, very, generous figure of 3,000,000 Native people, there were at the time of this quote at least 15,000,000 fewer Native people alive as compared to 1492, a decline of  at least 83%.

"Columbus saved the Indians from themselves."17). (Quote from his radio show.) Left to themselves the Taino People, over a period of thousands of years,  formed a peace loving,  prosperous civilization that numbered in the millions. After 50 years of Spanish domination they were reduced in number to nearly zero. It is my hope that the United States or any other nation ever again has to face such a "savior."
 

Bruce Whelan, the Lakota leader of South Dakota's Shannon County Republican Party, took issue with Limbaugh's comments - "I am kinda wondering what history books Rush Limbaugh was reading from."

  http://www.sandiego.indymedia.org/en/2004/04/103951.shtml
 

 


2000

 

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:

While campaigning for president,  Bush stated that he believed states had higher legal authority than tribal governments,  a view that is in direct conflict with established constitutional law.  Bush later retreated from this indefensible position.


             "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."  
                                                      -President-elect George W. Bush- 12/18/2000  50).


 In November, 2001, at the height of the conflict in Afghanistan,  Bush quietly rescinded a Clinton-era executive order that streamlined the cumbersome process tribal governments were required to complete while using their own money to buy back their own lands and returning the land to trust status.  Approximately 66%  of tribal land holdings were removed from tribal control after the passage of the "infamous"  Dawes act in 1884.  First Nations have attempted to buy back as much of this "lost reservation land" as possible but have been thwarted and impeded by the legal barriers placed in their way.  The Clinton-era executive order would have greatly aided First Nation's attempts to recover their own land.  The Bush administration bent to the will of State-attorney Generals, municipalities and governors that were concerned of a loss of tax revenues and feared, among other things,  the possibility of "low income housing" being placed on such land. Ron Allen,  vice president of the National Congress of American Indians said, " ....quite frankly they are afraid of Indians.  They are afraid of Indian power,  they don't trust tribes and they don't trust tribal government,  and it really has racist overtones."  The Bush  administration, claiming the wording of the Clinton-era order was unclear,  promised to issue a similar order with less ambiguous language.  Months later,  no action has yet been taken on this promise. 47).

In December of 2001, an organization of tribal governments from across the nation met with Bush's Secretary of the Interior,  Gale Norton,  to protest the Bush administration's proposed re-organization of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  The tribal leaders protested that tribes were not consulted in the process and had serious questions about the plan.  After the gathering unanimously rejected the proposal,  Norton told the gathering that the plan would proceed without their support or consent. 48).

In 2003, the Bush administration, effectively stopped completion of a decade long project, named Mni Wiconi.. The ambitious project was designed to pipe treated water from the Missouri River to the arid Pine Ridge Reservation. Mni Wiconi, which means "water of life," would have brought water to what has been historically America's most economically depressed county.
Many of the 35,000 people on Pine Ridge do not have running water and many of the wells on the reservation are polluted by septic system percolation or contaminated by nitrates. It is not uncommon for many of the Lakota People on Pine Ridge to get their water delivered by truck or transported in jugs.
As the pipeline was laid across the arid landscape of South Dakota, it brought water to Indian as well as non-Indian residents. The project was nearing completion in 2002, an election year.
George W. Bush hand-picked John Thune in 2002 to unseat incumbent Democratic Senator Tim Johnson. An effort to register voters in the Indian communities of South Dakota resulted in large numbers of new voters, that voted overwhelmingly in favor of Johnson. Pine Ridge voters voted in particularly high numbers.. The "Indian vote" propelled Johnson to the slimmest of victories. Thune's loss did not go unnoticed by the Bush White House.
Within months, the Bush administration, slashed funding to Mni Wiconi, that stopped the work on the project just as the pipeline was reaching the borders of Pine Ridge. Without access to a dependable supply of fresh water, Pine Ridge has little hope of economic development. Stopping the project just as it nears its destination is a cut of the cruelest sort, that perpetuates conditions normally associated with third world nations long suffered by the people of Pine Ridge.

George Bush describes himself as a, "compassionate conservative," and wears his Christian faith on his sleeve.  Call the President, and remind him that exacting political retribution and revenge on America's most destitute ethnic group is neither compassionate nor Christian. 63). http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2003/03/17/news/local/news04.txt

 

James Loewen writes,  "The antidote to feel-good history is not feel-bad history,  but honest and inclusive history."  This web page,   by it's nature and practical limitations of space and brevity cannot fulfill Mr.. Loewen's more expansive goal of inclusiveness.  For that, on our "Sources" page,  I urge readers of this site to obtain copies of the quoted  research materials.

 
 If you wish to find a balance to the dark side of Indian/White relations that is documented above, I urge  you  to view another page on our site,  "Heroes History Forgot."  This page was started in recognition of the need to convey the message that not all European People bent to the tyranny of the prejudice of their time and of the larger society. This page is reserved for men like Thomas Morton,  who threatened the Separatist way of life by recognizing Native People as human. Morton's principled beliefs caused him to suffer the disgrace of deportation in 1628 from the Pilgrim community for his sins of embracing the humanity of his fellow man.
 
It is important to recognize and honor the heroic defiance of people like Thomas Morton,  just as we must also remember and reflect on mankind's collective sin of inhumanity to our fellow man. By not acknowledging, by not remembering, by not reflecting on past sins, we are sure to repeat them.

 

The Bureau of White Affairs is a fictional representation of History which offers a twist on the roles of Native American and White people, offering a glimpse of how it may be to walk a mile in their moccasins.