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America’s Genocide: The Destruction of the Indian Nations

America’s Genocide: The Destruction of the Indian Nations

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Published by Louis Cepeda
The systematic destruction of the Indian people and their cultures by the European settlers to the New World.
The systematic destruction of the Indian people and their cultures by the European settlers to the New World.

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Published by: Louis Cepeda on Dec 04, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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America’s Genocide: The Destruction of the Indian Nations
Louis CepedaHistory 1210Dr. RichardDecember 2, 2008
2The systematic destruction of American Indians and their cultures by Europeansbeginning in the 1600s continues to be
a major stain on our nation‟s history and the kind
of controversy that is still very much alive five centuries later. While there were friendlyand close relationships between early settlers and native people, the insatiable need andgreed of the new Europeans for land and control soon turned to bloody conflict andcertain death for Indian tribes from New England to California. Given the unenviablechoice of relocating or facing certain death, the great Indian nations began to disappear introubling numbers, dropping from
an estimated 10 to12 million in population at the startof the 17
to less than 10% of that total by the end of the 19
century.The question of whether this system of removal and extermination, sanctioned inmost cases by our government over a long period of our nation
‟s history
, constitutes aform of genocide remains a topic of debate even today. According to Article Two of thePrevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide adopted by the United Nations in1948
, genocide includes “the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole
or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:(a) Killing members of the group;(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about itsphysical destruction in whole or in part;(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to anot
her group.” (“
Resolution 260 (III)
3Certainly the idea of committing genocide seems repugnant to modern America,but the reality is that a significant part of the development of our nation was madepossible by the cruelty of slavery and the indiscriminate stealing of Indian lands andkilling those who resisted. While slaves were freed in the mid 19
century and theirpopulations continued to grow, Native Americans were less fortunate. Forced to live onreservations where the land lacked both agricultural promise or good hunting grounds,the surviving Indians became little more than prisoners to their white overseers. Manydied of starvation and diseases.
Of course, it wasn‟t always th
at way.As a matter of fact, long before the white man set foot in the New World, Indiantribes roamed the entire American landscape hunting buffalo and seeking fertile lands tocultivate for food. They had a deep respect for nature and the environment, believing that
the “
world was made up of interdependent and equal beings: Humans and other beingshad separate mortal functions but equal spiritual identities (what might be termed equal
Although Indian nations often fought bloody conflicts with each other, thegoals were never to dominate or exterminate the losing side. The wars were generallyover territorial or hunting rights. Ownership of land was never the main objective of theirfights.The demise of the Indian people and their cultures increased after the landing of the Pilgrims in 1620. Already devastated by the introduction of smallpox by earlierEnglish and Spanish explorers, tribes like the Wampannoags, Narragansetts andNipmucks in New England, found themselves at odds with the new religious-mindedsettlers on issues of worship, land ownership and trade. Soon outnumbered andincreasingly forced to live under white ma
rules, the Indians fought back and lost.

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