Tuesday, November 30, 2021

What Nobody Tells You About Indians and Other Native Americans

Every time I hear about the tragedy (the tragedies) suffered by the Indians of North America (whether at Thanksgiving or at other times), I bring up some variant of the following questions: 

Do the calamities also include the theft of the lands of the Apaches? Does the genocide, real or alleged, of the Native Americans also concern the extermination of the Huron tribe (Huronia)?

This type of question usually boondoggles the leftist, whose eyes grow like saucers and who waffles trying to reply, since in his eagerness to sum up American and world history by meting out simplified explanations in one-sentence platitudes (that conveniently, and invariably, happen to be damning towards Americans, i.e., white Americans), he has neither had nor taken the time to think any details through as he attempts to display his alleged expertise as a modern-day genius.

The problem, of course, is that the lands of the Apaches were stolen by the Comanches.

While the Hurons were wiped out by the Iroquois. 

Or, as Allan W Eckert put it regarding another neighboring tribe of the Iroquois (aka the League of the Six Nations of the Iroquois), this one from northwesternmost Pennsylvania,

the Six Nations annihilated [the Erighs or the Eries] — every man, woman, and child being slain, the tribe was wiped out of existence.

But apart from that — apart from those tiny and utterly inconsequential details that we can posthaste proceed to forget and ignore — it is surely indisputable to posit that all "Native Americans" are, and were, spiritual peacemakers in harmony with nature and with the Earth, as well as something akin to Tibet's Buddhist monks. (And with that said, let's turn off the sarcasm faucet…)

After conquering the Aztec and the Inca empires, in addition to large parts of South America as well as all of Central America, why did the Spanish armies not march further into North America (where the English had remained along the Atlantic coast while the French were focused on Québec and had barely crossed West across the Mississippi)? 

The answer is the Comanche tribe, which was (I am prepared to apologize for the upcoming un-PC term beforehand) the bloodthirstiest people the Spanish superpower had ever encountered, and which brought the Spaniards' advance to an abrupt halt in Tejas (in Texas).

Indeed, in his position as a military historian and a professor at the Sandhurst Military Academy, John Keegan described the Comanches as the fiercest warriors the planet has ever known. 

Incidentally, what do the names of the Indian tribes mean, anyway? They all mean the same thing (albeit in their respective languages) — the "people." And what was most tribes' names (again, in their respective languages) for their neighbors? The "enemy."

A few examples: The tribe which was called the Navajo by their neighbors (and thus by their enemies) called them selves the Diné, while the Iroquois (the "atrocious people" or the "murderers" — see the paragraph about the Huron tribe above for an explanation thereof) called themselves the Haudenosaunee (the "house builders"). As an aside, history recalls most of the tribes' names from what they were called by their neighbors, as white explorers and pathfinders would encounter the neighbors first and ask them the name of the tribe that they would meet when continuing their travels ahead.

Before we continue: here emerges an interesting question — cannot we say that the Native Americans show the extent of their indisputable humanity, as they seem to be quite familiar with that good ol' expression, the (wait for it) "enemy of the people" — just like "civilized" people did and do in Europe and the rest of the developed world (not least with Communists, Nazis, and similar bloodthirsty — please excuse the expression again — groups)?

In that perspective, this provides a response to the question, isn't it sad that the Indians never managed to unite against their white oppressors. The answer is that the quote that is often attributed to Philip Sheridan — "The only good Indian is a dead Indian" (what the general actually said was somewhat different) — would better describe the tribes' description of one another (The only good Sioux is a dead Sioux, etc…) When a group of warriors happened upon a group of enemies (not excluding women out berry-picking), they would kill them all (see also the Little Bighorn) and scalp them all (unless, in some cases, there happened to be young children who could be integrated into the tribe). This explains the "intolerant" attitude of White settlers, explains Time-Life's The Frontiersmen. In the 18th century,

frontiersmen, who had seen the bodies of pregnant women slit open by war parties and the fetuses of unborn babies left impaled on poles beside them, were not inclined to ponder the political attitudes of any Indian if granted opportunity for revenge.
On one memorable occasion, a group of Iroquois marched for days on end to raid another village while the latter's warriors were away (probably on their own raid). They launched their raid, and escaped with booty including a group of young boys as prisoners. When the raided camp's warriors came home a day or so later, the fathers, overcome with grief, immediately set upon chasing down the raiders on their own return home with their young prisoners boasting perhaps 24 hours' advance time. Every time they came to the remains of a camp where the Iroquois had bivouacked, they discovered to their horrors a thick pointed branch stuck into the ground upon which the Iroquois had in turn stuck… the decapitated head of one of the children. Cruelty? Sadism? Simply a form of cultural diversity? You decide…

Did the Indians really kill all of their enemies? No, that is not entirely correct.

Who doesn't know the “trail of tears and death," when Andrew Jackson expelled tens of thousands of Indians from East side of the Mississippi? During one 1,200-mile trek, "thousands … died from exposure, malnutrition, and disease" and the grounds were littered with the bodies of "red-skins" and "Negroes." Wait a minute, what did you say? "Negroes"? Blacks? What do you mean by that?! Oh, you didn't know? The Cherokees, who are often presented as one of prime examples that Indians were, or could be, civilized (they had their own alphabet and newspapers), practiced slavery.  Yes sir. And do not forget that a number of these Indians enlisted during the Civil War — on the side of the Confederacy. For sure, this was one of the “Five Civilized Tribes” (besides the Cherokee, the Chickasaw, the Creek, the Seminole, and the Choctaw) and, as it happens, one of the main slavery rebellions and escape attempts of the 19th century was a slave revolt against the cruelty of one particularly nasty Cherokee slave-owner.

Yup. I know, I know: I'm sorry I brought it up — slavery, as we all know, is only a shameful activity — everything is only a shameful activity — when practiced by Whites and (in the modern era) by capitalists, and never by "Reds" or Blacks (not excluding on the African continent) or for that matter, communists (also Reds, in a way) in China or the Soviet Union, with their slave-based laogais and gulags.

Those are historical facts liberals and Europeans don't know about and do not like to focus on, because if they can't depict the Indians as harmless, Buddhist-monk-like beings interested in nothing but peace and harmony with the Earth and with the forces of nature — as angelic and innocent victims — it becomes much harder to depict (white) Americans as monstrous beings and their policies (past as well as present) as of a criminal nature beyond any iota of redemption.

The funny thing — which also answers the question regarding Indian unification — is that the various Indian tribes were better treated by the whites than by their "red" neighbors. You can say what you want about Wounded Knee or Sand Creek, or reservations, as well as Indian schools that took their kids away, they were better (or, if you prefer, less bad) than what their Indian enemies had in store for them.

Thus it was natural that "Injuns" enlisted as scouts in the U.S. Cavalry to serve against their archenemies. In any case, it was such a warrior culture that made whites "reluctant," to say the least, to show "respect" for the Indians and their civilization (or lack thereof?) and which earned the latter, not entirely unreasonable, the moniker of "savages."

Finally: how exactly were the Indians' lands "stolen"? Even today, when a European decides to spend a holiday for a road trip through a country (or parts thereof) with 330 million inhabitants, he is amazed about haw large and empty that nation is (even on the East Coast — try driving from the greatest metropolis on the continent, New York City, to Niagara Falls). In the book Under Bjælken about Denmark's Crown Prince and future King, Jens Andersen writes that "that which Frederik and his friend Holger Foss best remember [from their 1993 road trip through the U.S. in a red Cadillac Eldorado Convertible], besides the numerous encounters with helpful and hospitable Americans, was the colossal monotony — mile after mile."

Related: Beginning in the early 19th century, why did one tenth of the Danish population, one quarter of the Swedish population, and one third of the Norwegian population emigrate to the United States? Because so many these "white privileged" blondes with blue eyes were so dirt-poor that they did not to live in, and did not want their children "to grow up in, slavery."
How, then, would it have been 150 or 250 years ago, when an Irish or German family in a chariot rolled slowly across a territory with 100 times fewer people? Most Indians were nomads and had never established cities or villages. Even for those who could be described differently, such as the Haudenosaunees (the long "house builders," that is, the Iroquois), it was necessary, due to a cultivation practice which ended up destroying the land, to uproot the village after at most 21 years and move it dozens of miles away. (So much for the "image of a Native American environmental ethic [which], however appealing, is more myth than reality.") 

Indeed, back in 1756, Bougainville wrote in his diary that "It is a shame that so fine a countryside should be without cultivation." Many years earlier, the chief agent of the Penn family, James Logan, had heard complaints that "it was against the laws of God and nature that so much land should be idle while Christians wanted it to labor on and raise their bread."

Whether it is Bedouins, Gypsies, or those whom Alexis de Tocqueville called "the wandering race of aborigenes," it has always been extremely difficult for nomads to live side by side with settlers. For instance, Indians, Gypsies (or Roma), or Bedouins are, or were, uniformly depicted as thieves. Today, this is automatically considered racist, but the universality of the charge should make you pause to think… And then you might come to this conclusion: when you have no permanent neighbors, a cavalier attitude towards those whom you rarely (and only briefly) meet and towards their possessions, then theft might in fact not a wholly illogical by-product of one's way of life. 

From Roman times, at least, it has been a reasonable rule (no, not a white/European rule; an entirely common-sense rule) that you cannot claim land as your own unless you devote a minimum of time inhabiting it and tending to it.

Let us imagine a wagon slowly pulled by oxen in the vast no-man's land. What does the family from Scotland or Sweden encounter day after day, week after week, other than dense virgin forests or monotonous prairies? At one time, the family finds a spot, maybe by a creek, upon which it decides to settle down. Then, perhaps after five or six months after their cabin has been built and their fields plowed without their ever seeing another soul, white or otherwise, is it strange, when a single solitary warrior, perhaps two or three, appear one day and claim that this land belongs to their tribe, that they answer, "But we have done so much to cultivate these plots — can't you just ride around them?"

To this must be added another remark: that it can also sound strange (if not an outright showcase for double standards) that it should be sinful to "steal" and to build upon the (untouched) lands that "belong to" the "noble" Indians, while it feels completely natural to confiscate the developed property (fields, gardens, buildings, mansions, castles, etc) of the white world's yucky "noblemen," and in general try to milk the rich with one tax after another.

Finally, an apology. Or, rather, two apologies. I wish to apologize for the fact that I believe in facts and the truth, and I wish to apologize for the fact that I do not believe in the leftists' hysterical fairy tales.

Let us end this post with a passage from John Keegan's Warpaths and the military historian's remarks on the Indians' incapability "to defend what they held dearest, their freedom to roam as nomads inside territories they did not claim to own but nevertheless sought to use and enjoy by exclusive right":

Little wonder that the European immigrants who made their way onto the Great Plains in the nineteenth century, Slavs of Eastern Europe, Russians from the Steppe, peoples whose history was suffused with memories of oppression by galloping, sword-wielding, slaven, Magyar, Mongol, and Turkish nomads, should have felt so little pity in their hearts for those other Mongoloid nomads whose interest in life seemed to subsist in hunting, pillage, and war.

 … There is much that is tragic in the story of native America's conflict with the European interlopers, particularly in the treatment of the Indians of the temperate forest lands east of the Mississippi by the young republic; the displacement of the Five Civilized Tribes to an utterly alien environment reeks of racialism.

Yet the pretensions of the Plains Indians to exclusive rights over the heartland of the continent cannot, it seems to me, stand. Their claim, the claim of less than a million people, to possess territories capable of supporting not only millions more directly settled, but of still more millions outside America waiting to be fed by those territories' product, is the claim not of oppressed primitives but of the selfish rich,

The Plains Indians were indeed primitives; but their primitivism was of the "hard," not "soft," variety. Here were not shy, self-effacing marginalists, like the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, the Semai of the Philippine jungles, or the pygmies of the African rainforests, but proud, warrior nomads, who had taken from the Europeans what they coveted as a means to support their way of life, the horse and the gun, and then refused Europeans any share of the lands which horse and gun equipped them … to exploit. 

Related History Posts:
• What Caused Secession and Ergo the Civil War? Was It Slavery and/or States' Rights? Or Wasn't It Rather Something Else — the Election of a Ghastly Republican to the White House?
• During the Winter of 1860-1861, Did the South's Democrats Obtain Their Aim — the Secession of 7 Slave States — Thanks to Elections Filled with Stealth, Lies, Voter Fraud, Intimidation, Violence, and Murder? (Wait 'til You Hear About… Georgia's Dark Secret)
• Wondering Why Slavery Persisted for Almost 75 Years After the Founding of the USA? According to Lincoln, the Democrat Party's "Principled" Opposition to "Hate Speech"
The Greatest Myth in U.S. History: Yes, the Civil War Era Did Feature Champions of States' Rights, But No, They Were Not in the South (Au Contraire)
• Harry Jaffa on the Civil War Era: For Democrats of the 21st Century as of the 19th, "the emancipation from morality was/is itself seen as moral progress"
• Why Does Nobody Ever Fret About Scandinavia's — Dreadful — 19th-C Slavery Conditions?
• A Century and Half of Apartheid Policies: From Its 1828 Foundation, the Democrat Party Has Never Shed Its Racist Past
• The Confederate Flag: Another Brick in the Leftwing Activists' (Self-Serving) Demonization of America and Rewriting of History
How to Prevent America from Becoming a Totalitarian State
• Inside of a month, Democrats have redefined riots and election challenges from the highest form of patriotism to an attack on democracy — And by “democracy”, they mean the Democrat Party
• Why They Don't Tell You the Whole Truth: The 1619 Project Summarized in One Single Sentence


RKV said...

Beautiful work. Bravo!

Kepha said...

Thank you.

And, especially consider, one reason why Cortez' 600 Spaniards could conquer the whole Aztec Empire was that they found Indian allies very thick on the ground.

When beaten by Hernan Cortez,
A Tlaxcaltec suddenly says,
"Although we got beaten,
Nobody got eaten!
This guy named Cortez should be Pres!

"Lest time we got beat by Mexica,
One who got et was mi chica.
So now, I've surmised,
I should get baptized,
By that brown-robe, down by the creek-a!

"So now I will take macuahuitl,
Get into line, and my feet'll
Go off with the Spanish.
To West we will vanish,
And crush the Aztec like a beetle!"

The Historian now doth surmise
While sleepily rubbing his eyes,
If you're bent on conquest
You then must first request
Some sturdy, trustworthy allies.

And it is also noteworthy that however the Spaniards might've treated other conquered Indians, they consistently treated the Tlaxcaltec as allies, allowing them to learn to ride horse and use European weapons, ordering that their well-born persons be addressed as Don or Dona according to sex, and handing out patents of nobility to their leading people. Most Nahuatl-speaking communities north of central Mexico are not "Aztec", but descend from Tlaxcaltec soldiers who garrisoned those places for the Spanish.

And then there were the Crow and some Shoshoni who were more than happy to aid the US Army against the Lakota...