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Native American Indian Policy: 1/3
by Jack Wellman
2007-10-17 10:22:27
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The Spanish had one of the earliest contacts with Native American Indians The Quiveran Plains Indians lived close to where Wichita, Kansas is now located in the central U.S. The Indians were mesmerized by Spanish missionary, Juan de Padilla. They grew to love him dearly. He had established a church for the Quiverian Council of Indians, but when Padilla tried to establish a church with a rival Indian tribe, the jealous Quiverans murdered him (said to be the first Christian Martyr in America).

Several sovereign Indian nations, since shortly after Jamestown was founded, were continually on the retreat. Broken treaty after broken treaty. Even before, the Spanish used them as slaves and the British would kill them on sight. Only the French held the confidence of Indians possibly because they treated them as more of an equal. The French were not there to settle, necessarily, but to trade and trap. Indians had no problems with them and even inter-married with them.

With the settlers expansion of the 1700 and 1800s, , the Indians were being pushed west out of the farming countries of Pennsylvania and New York. Gold fever in the northern Georgia Mountains, located on Cherokee lands, led Georgia to ignore even the Supreme Court’s order that the Cherokee had rights to that land. Gold was never found, but whites to claim the land was the real intent. This is the origin for the infamous “Trail of Tears” of the Cherokee Nation.

Indian removal policies contributed to the developing sectionalism between North and South. Georgia’s refusal to obey the Supreme Court reinforced the idea of States’ Rights over national subjugation. President John Quincy Adams directly told Georgia that they have no right to move into Cherokee territory and even threatened federal military action against Georgia, if necessary.

As far back as 1879, General Knox wrote to President Washington that America should treat Indians like Americans, and treat them as a sovereign nation. Ironically, Americans would claim for their cities, rivers, counties, states, etc. Indian names and tribes (i.e. Indiana, Kansas, etc.) as giving recognition and preservation to them.

An honourable attempt to help the Indians assimilate into the white culture was made by Colonel Daniel Morgan Boone. Morgan, son of the famous Daniel, established one of the earliest settlements in Kansas, in 1827, northwest of present day Lawrence. Officially, Daniel Morgan Boone was the father of the first white child born in Kansas in 1828, named Napoleon Boone. Boone taught the Indians agriculture and was well received by the Indians.

The United States record of ratifying Indian treaties is truly disturbing, although not all Americans felt Indians should be exterminated. Baptist Preacher Isaac McCoy in 1818 hoped to preserve Miami (Indiana and Ohio) Indians from extinction by turning them into farmers in Indian Territory (Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, etc). Much the same thing was hoped for the Michigan Territory Indians, like Potawatomies, Delaware, and Weas.

In fact, no intimidation or threat of force was necessary for William Clark (formerly of Lewis and Clark Expedition) in 1825, to convince Kansa and Osage Indians to allow their lands to be used for Indian reservations which eventually became part of the Indian territory of Kansas. In other cases, Indians gave up their lands for bribes, whiskey, or both.

Government officials sincerely felt that the “wooden psychology” of no wood, no settlers, would hold in Kansas and that the Indians would have this land forever. The Kansa are also known as the Kaw, and altogether, there are fifty-four different spellings for the Kansa Indians. This territory included much of what is now Kansas and the Indians would not be there very long.


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Emanuel Paparella2007-10-17 12:45:27
Edward Said had it on target: before you can say “I conquer therefore I am” you have to be able to say “I think therefore I am” by which he means that conquering and ethnic cleansings and genocides performed and then rationalized as “inevitable unstoppable progress” are first a state of mind and an ideology. If you inquire of the so called People’s Republic of China as to what they did to Tibet, they will reply: we removed medievalism and brought modernity and progress to a place steeped in misguided religion (everybody, especially in Europe, knows that “religion is poison”) and it is a travesty that the Dai La Lama should now be honored and awarded the congressional medal of honor. That award should go to the Chinese army who liberated him from his superstitions and obscurantism.

Emanuel Paparella2007-10-17 15:02:59
P.S. Your piece is quite correct, Jack, in tracing the origins of the predominantly racist policies on the indigenous populations of the American continent. Lest we forget, way before there was any independent nation on the continent, they were set up by none other than the European colonizers and imperialists: mostly English, French, Portuguese and Spaniards who failed to acknowledge a simple cultural reality, that what had occurred was not a discovery of an empty continent to be exploited but the meeting of two different cultures. The one which thought of itself as more “enlightened” and civilized acted in a most uncivilized manner. What further confused the natives was that double symbol of the sword and the cross which was blurred in the mind of the “conquistadores” looking for gold and loot. The award winning movie The Mission (starring Robert De Niro) is instructive in this regard.

Jack2007-10-17 21:33:22
Excellent summation of the colonizers and imperialists. You have the knack for "cutting to the quick" or the heart of the matter.

The Tibetan assimilation by China is a great example. Many looked at any other civilization outside their own (thru the ego/ethnocentric blinds)as "savages...beasts...brutes,of which we do the world a favor for exterminating them.

Leo2007-10-29 11:03:21
I think and feel that exterminating american indians
back then was extremely heinous.
Too bad I didn't live back then
things would have been different

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