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Plains Indian Smallpox

Indian genocide is a controversial subject on the internet and on this site. Genocide and Holocaust are words that are easy to throw around, often to grab a reader's attention, but proving them is something else. What one group calls genocide, another group may call progress. This statement is used in the same context as the man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

The argument for Indian genocide is based primarily on letters written by General Jeffery Amherst during the French and Indian War.Letters by General Amherst and Colonel Bouquet mentioning spreading smallpox to Indians does not mean that this was ever carried out.
Assumptions derived from letters and oral traditions are not proof of anything.

Crossposted at Native American Netroots &

Those who condone the above statement must also believe that such indigenous tribes as the Mandan-Hidatsa are liars and incorrect in their oral histories, but what they cannot deny is the intent to commit genocide was in fact there (all bold print is mine).

(c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life designed to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part


By the second half of the century, many of the combatants in America's wars of empire had the knowledge and technology to attempt biological warfare with the smallpox virus. Many also adhered to a code of ethics that did not constrain them from doing so. Seen in this light, the Amherst affair becomes not so much an aberration as part of a larger continuum in which accusations and discussions of biological warfare were common, and actual incidents may have occurred more frequently than scholars have previously acknowledged.

"Fort Pitt is in good State of Defense against all attempts from Savages," Bouquet reported, but "Unluckily the small Pox has broken out in the Garrison."3 By June 16, then, from sources unknown, smallpox had established itself at Fort Pitt. It is likely that Amherst knew of the situation by the end of June.

Bioterrorist Threats: Potential Agents and Theoretical Preparedness

Dr. John Bartlett filled in for Peter Jahrling of USAMRIID for a segment devoted to one of the likely potential bioterrorist agents, smallpox.[2] The use of this agent to intentionally cause human disease dates back to 1754 during the French and Indian War, when infected blankets were given to Native Americans as a "token of good fortune."

American Indian Prophecies. Kurt Kaltreider, PH.D. pp. 66-67

In 1779, George Washington sent orders to General John Sullivan concerning the need to attack and destroy the Iroquois Nations.

"The immediate objects are total destruction of their settlements, and capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex possible -"

Washington was also an advocate of germ warfare, first introduced by Sir Jeffery Amherst after whom the town of Amherst, Massachusetts, and Amherst College are named. The idea of germ warfare with smallpox was suggested to Colonel Henry Bouquet, after which Colonel Bouquet wrote back:

"I will try to inoculate the [Indians] with some blankets that may fall into their hands, and take care not to get the disease myself. As it is pity to expose good men against then, I wish we could make use of the Spanish method, to hunt them with English dogs, supported by rangers and some light horse, who would, I think, effectually extirpate or remove the vermin."

About 60 years later, Andrew Jackson took Colonel Bouquet's advice in his war against the Seminoles. 


During the Seminole War the Federal Soldiers used germ warfare weapons, such as leaving small pox infected blankets for the Seminole to take and catch the disease.
This was a tried and true tactic of warfare in the Americas. The British attempted this against Washington's troops at Yorktown and Europeans used germ warfare against native Americans in New England. At Yorktown, the National Park Service explains the role of Slaves as germ warfare weapons in the plaque reproduced here. I guess the incentive for slaves was 'you're free if you go cause small pox among American forces ... if you survive.'

The fact that Europeans brought the deadly diseases with them, through ship rats who found their way to the indigenous tribes for example, is well established.

Historical Viewpoints. "American Indians And European Diseases." Alfred W. Crosby pp. 48-49

Whether plague or typhus, the disease went through the Indians like fire. Almost all the seventeenth-century writers say it killed nine of ten and even nineteen of twenty of the Indians it touched -

In short, one does not necessarily have to accept a 90 percent death rate for a given village or area to accept a 90 percent depopulation rate.

So, the European settlers (not all were vicious like this) and General Jeffery Amherst knew what smallpox and the deadly diseases were already doing:depopulating the indigenous people.

First Nation History. Daniel M. Paul

The following is an excellent example of their racist mentality in action. In July 1763, General Jeffery Amherst, the Commander-in-Chief of British forces in North America, sent a memo to Colonel Henry Bouquet, a Huguenot in the service of England, asking:

"Could it not be contrived to send the Smallpox among the disaffected Tribes of Indians?"

Bouquet replied: "I will try to inoculate the Indians with some blankets that may fall into their hands, and take care not to get the disease myself."

General Jeffery Amherst and those settlers who thought likewise must have asked themselves some very disturbing questions -

Siege of Fort Pitt

(Wikipedia source, read accordingly)

Bouquet agreed, writing to Amherst on 13 July 1763: "I will try to inoculate the bastards with some blankets that may fall into their hands, and take care not to get the disease myself." Amherst responded favorably on 16 July 1763: "You will do well to inoculate the Indians by means of blankets, as well as every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race."[2]

As it turned out, however, officers at the besieged Fort Pitt had already attempted to do what Amherst and Bouquet were still discussing.

Maybe they asked, "How can we help speed the process?"

General Amherst and Germ Warfare. Bernhard Knollenberg:


Public Health Issues in Disaster Preparedness: Focus on Bioterrorism. By Lloyd F. Novick:

Query and Replies: Indians and Smallpox(8 posts)

I have been reviewing the documents in the latest volume of

The Papers of Henry Bouquet which has many interesting texts

on relations with various Native American tribes, and on frontier

warfare. A number of the texts deal with the decision to use

small pox as a deliberate form of germ warfare against the

Indians in the 1760s. I recall much coverage of the decimation

of the Indians by disease during the Columbus anniversaries,

but I am not familiar with the historiography on the deliberate

use of smallpox or other diseases as a weapon--or indeed the

historiography on the origins of germ warfare in general.

Would any of you be able to inform me of sources on this subject?

Thanks in advance. Elizabeth M. Nuxoll. The Papers of Robert Morris

Queens College, CUNY

Smallpox Blankets in History and Legend. Adrienne Mayor:


The Europeans wanted land, gold, silver, coal (in the future), and slave labor.

Since using the indigenous people's inability to cure themselves of the onslaught of disease didn't work as well as they wished it would have worked -

A People & A Nation. 4th Edition. p.38

In the pursuit of their conversions, the Jesuits sought to undermine the authority of the villiage shamans (the traditional religious leaders) and to gain the confidence of leaders who could influence others. The Black Robes used a variety of weapons to attain the desired end. Trained in rhetoric, they won admirers by their eloquence. Seemingly immune to smallpox, they explained epidemics among the Native Americans as God's punishment for sin, their arguments aided by the ineffectiveness of the shaman's traditional remedies for illness against that deadly disease.

- perhaps they hoped that death would solve all of their "problems."


See the reason of my bemusement is that I am a full blooded Oneida "Indian" (I will use that term for simplicity's sake although "First nations is our preferred term). For us first nations our heritage and being is well documented and it is imperative to have been listed on a government listing of Indians called the Dawles Rolls?

That the ones of us they couldn't kill with smallpox infected blankets they packed away on a reservation, robbed of our traditions, language and land.

Colorado professor fabricates Native history - Sunday, June 18, 2006

He (Ward Churchill) then pawned his lies to other scholars.

First, the army wasn't even posted around our villages at the time Churchill claims. And no proof exists, orally or in text, to show blankets came from a hospital.

But our tribal people have long said the spread of smallpox was intentional.

I recently talked with Gerard Baker, a Mandan-Hidatsa and leading oral historian for our tribes. Baker, park superintendent at Mount Rushmore, is a fluent Hidatsa speaker and comes from a traditional family. He's also lived and worked at many of our historical village sites along the Missouri.

Baker has talked with tribal elders and spent countless hours looking at the journals of the fur traders. He's convinced traders deliberately spread smallpox to eliminate us as middlemen in the trade network.

Shawnee History

Only an informer saved the garrison at Detroit, but Forts Niagara and Pitt were surrounded and isolated. In desperation, Amherst wrote the commander at Fort Pitt, Captain Simeon Ecuyer, suggesting he deliberately attempt to infect the Shawnee, Delaware, and Mingo besieging his fort with gifts of smallpox-infected blankets and handkerchiefs. Ecuyer took this as an order and did exactly that.
It proved particularly effective because the Ohio tribes had little immunity having missed the 1757-58 epidemic among the French allies contracted during the capture of Fort William Henry (New York). The Shawnee were fighting the Cherokee in Tennessee at the time, and they carried the disease to them, and then the Shawnee living with the Creek Confederacy. From there it spread to the Chickasaw and Choctaw, and finally the entire southeast. Before it had run its course, the epidemic had killed thousands, including British colonists.

To end this, history is written by the victors and one of the "victor's" techniques for hiding truth is hiding evidence, as it was in the case of theSand Creek Massacre.

Furthermore, to say "Assumptions derived from letters and oral traditions are not proof of anything" is calling those indigenous people who tell those oral traditions liars. So, I'm grateful for artists who have something to add to this "debate."


Stories of disease-infected blankets deliberately given to Native Americans surfaced after the first European contact and continue to circulate. The vitality of the "smallpox blanket" story is ensured by documented examples of germ warfare but also by its resonance with the classical Nessus shirt and other poison-garment/deliberate-contamination themes. The moral tension embedded in such tales derives from ambiguous definitions of the Other and boundaries of ethical behavior toward enemies.

Apologists for the Genocide attribute the majority of deaths to the introduction of disease epidemics such as smallpox and measles by unknowing Europeans.

Originally posted to Winter Rabbit on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:35 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  it doesn't take blankets (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RonV, entlord1

    To make a genocide.  Killing a native people is genocide, whether by blankets, bullets or ballots.  And brain washing any survivors to take away their heritage is just another step in the genocide dance.  It's been going on for countless thousands of years, not just white people are guilty, but black people, brown people, yellow people.  And of course, let's not forget how "religion" has always played such a kind and generous part in it all.

    •  Well It's Just One Diary On A Topic (8+ / 0-)

      in Indian peoples' history, because it's continually "debated" the same way there's "debates" on other matters of history, like evolution. One side is treated with credibility when it's flat out disproven.

      The fact of the matter is that 90% of Indian peoples were first extirpated by disease, and then separate, deliberate measures were taken to dispossess, starve and flat out slaughter the remaining 10%, usually in that order. That is a real genocide, yet you'll see people claiming Jewish or Armenian or whatever ancestry on this site pretending like this wasn't the ultimate genocide of known history. That it wasn't even a genocide. Seeming progressives put forth this assertion.

      So thank you, Winter Rabbit.

      These clowns claim to admire him [Cronkite] but do not wish to emulate him - GUGA

      by Nulwee on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:02:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Different Attitudes Among Colonial Peoples (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RonV, sberel, capelza, Winter Rabbit, sturunner

      Compared to all the major European settlers, the French are one of the least genocidal modern peoples.

      The Spanish instigated genocide mainly via disease and inhuman slavery: working Taino Indians so hard they'd starve to death, cutting off limbs or stabbings left to bring bodily rot or blood loss in a tropical climate. This brought the need to bring in African slaves in. Who, yes, as you almost noted, were actually killed, raped and the remainder sold by fellow Africans.

      The British preferred sneak attacks and various forms of treachery against the Indian peoples of the east, mass pillagings and rape, which was carried over by the Yankee soldiers, settlers and bounty hunters of the 19th century (before the Scots-Irish, Germans, Italians and other Europeans became a majority of white Americans).

      The French for the vast majority of their history preferred exploitation over dispossession, making millions off the fur trade. They did their share of barbarity in the region of Montreal, however. But First Nations people are still prevalent in almost all of Canada, at least compared to the Caribbean, (there are no full-blooded Tainos) eastern United States and southeastern South America.

      These clowns claim to admire him [Cronkite] but do not wish to emulate him - GUGA

      by Nulwee on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:09:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The French were not looking so much to settle (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RonV, sberel, capelza, Winter Rabbit

        except as necessary. The New World for them was to be exploited but they did not intend for it to be the dumping ground for their societies' unwanted

      •  In terms of germ distribution (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RonV, sberel, capelza, Nulwee, Winter Rabbit

        the French did contribute, though. As I understand it (and your knowledge on this may exceed mine) the reason the Pilgrims were able to establish themselves at Plymouth was because the first nation in the immediate area had been decimated by disease spread by a French crew.

        If I remember correctly it was not as deliberate an act as with the British. I think it was more putting some infected people off a ship, and if the first nation people got infected, so be it.

        While the French were not as agressive in their colonization, they were still contributors to the spread of European disease to the North American first nations.

        Live Free or Die-words to live by

        by ForFreedom on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:51:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sure (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RonV, sberel, capelza, Winter Rabbit

          As far as I'm aware, you're right on the spread of disease (we're forgetting STD's as well, aren't we?).

          However, I'm not talking about the spread of disease in and of itself, but the spread of disease as part of a process. It's one thing to kill 90% of people just via germs incidentally introduced, it's another when it's combined with inoculation, starvation, dispossession and massacres. The actions against the remaining 10% (not that the previous 90% were unharmed by Euroepans other than disease, btw) stain the history books as clear ethnic-cleansing. The only agreed-upon definitions of genocide I've ever come across meet that match of land theft, starvation, impounding, cultural rape, bodily harm and slaughter that happened to virtually every indigenous people of the Americas in combination.

          These clowns claim to admire him [Cronkite] but do not wish to emulate him - GUGA

          by Nulwee on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 04:20:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  It would be so much easier (4+ / 0-)

    if we knew for a fact that Europeans in North America distributed smallpox infected blankets to Native Americans, but unfortunately the evidence really is too slender to make a definitive statement that it occurred.  The most damning piece of evidence is Bouquet's letter, but even that only documents genocidal intent.  As I recall the evidence, there is not direct evidence that blankets were actually distributed at that time.

    While it is true that the Mandans believe infected blankets were distributed to them, historians who have studied the evidence closely have been unable to work out the logistics of how this might have happened.  Who was the sick person who brought the disease to Mandan country, where did that person fall sick, how did that person infest enough blankets to begin the distribution process?  All these questions are critical to determining what actually happened, yet historians working hard have been unable to come up with convincing answers to them.

    I disagree profoundly with your take on the Black Robes in Canada.  Their objective was to convert souls for Christ, not depopulate a territory for economic exploitation.  That is, their imperialism was of the cultural variety, not the economic kind.  In pursuit of their overarching objective of eliminating Native American culture, the Black Robes creatively adapted to the environment they found themselves in, and they happily exploited their relative immunity to the diseases that were decimating Native American populations.

    Despite your smear of working historians, that we are "apologists for the Genocide," you actually draw one of your strongest pieces of evidence from one such historian.  Alfred Crosby has written powerfully -- in both The Columbian Exchange and Ecological Imperialism, not to mention myriad articles -- of the Europeans' ignorance of the biological impact of interhemispheric travel.  The Spanish, who sought to exploit Native American labor power to build their wealth, tried as hard as they could (which given the state of medical knowledge in the sixteenth century wasn't very much) to save Native American lives from disease -- though they were less careful about protecting from overwork.

    The charge of intentional infection, given the current state of evidence, I'm afraid has to remain "not proven."  It's not at all clear that people in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries had the technical knowledge to knowingly spread disease.

    Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

    by litho on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 02:59:56 PM PDT

    •  Interesting (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RonV, capelza, Fire bad tree pretty

      The most damning piece of evidence is Bouquet's letter, but even that only documents genocidal intent.

      Enough, however, to qualify for at least a conspiracy to commit genocide, no?

      What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

      by Alec82 on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:08:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't doubt that Bouquet wanted (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fire bad tree pretty

        to engage in biological warfare, but I'm not at all certain that he would have been able to carry it out.

        As I recall -- it's been a while since I did the research on this -- there's no evidence of an epidemic anywhere near Fort Pitt while Amherst was in command there.

        You know, it's often said that Genghis Khan spread the plague by catapulting the bodies of dead victims into besieged cities, but the evidence for that bit of biological warfare also turns out to be less than convincing.

        The urge to do it is great, and the desire to see your enemies do it is also great -- so that you can more easily discredit them as less than human.  But the ability to actually carry it out is hard.  I don't think it was until the twentieth century that the technology existed to reliably engage in biological warfare.

        Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

        by litho on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:12:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I don't agree with you, but I agree wih you. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RonV, capelza, Fire bad tree pretty

      The professor mentioned herein used his ego so much as to be an easy target to dismiss it, but I believe the oral histories and I wasn't saying the Black Robes gave blankets. They did anything but "spread Christ," and the process of "conversion" had one goal - steal land. Thus, economic.

      She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

      by Winter Rabbit on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:09:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Jesuits in Canada (0+ / 0-)

        like the Franciscans and Dominicans in Spanish America before them were successful missionaries.  That is, they did convert people to Christianity.

        As much as I deeply disagree with their worldview, their religious objectives, and the tactics they used to achieve those objectives, I still respect them sufficiently to recognize they sincerely believed the religious doctrines they professed.

        You might want to read Inga Clendinnen's work on the Franciscans in Yucatan for an approach that both condemns Spanish tactics yet profoundly respects their religion.  That, by the way, is one of the best books on colonial Latin American history I've ever read.  I highly recommend it to everyone.

        Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

        by litho on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:17:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm sorry litho, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RonV, capelza, Fire bad tree pretty

          I don't respect anything about them in that time. There are still monuments to them in Santa Fe, but I respect your right to disagree with me. Peace.

          She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

          by Winter Rabbit on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:23:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe you're the right person to ask. Were the (0+ / 0-)

          Franciscans at all motivated to claim converts due to the pope's encyclical prohibitions of using the converts as slaves? Or is that wishful thinking on my part?

          •  My understanding is the Franciscans (5+ / 0-)

            shared the general sense that the discovery of America was god's reward to Spain for having expelled the Jews and Muslims in 1492.  Along with the worldly riches that came along with the continental conquests were all the millions of souls inhabiting the newly discovered lands.

            The Franciscans -- and most religious -- believed they were doing the lord's work by bringing those souls to Christ, and they furthermore believed it was their own sacred obligation to do that.

            You have Franciscans and Dominicans actively lobbying the king of Spain to ban Native American slavery.  I wouldn't say it was because of any papal ban, but rather that it flowed directly out of their worldview.  Take a look at the Valladolid debate for more.

            Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

            by litho on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 04:11:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  at that time the Church saw (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RonV, capelza, Winter Rabbit

        spreading the Gospel as also benefiting the Church in allowing it to recoup some of the riches and souls that they lost to secular rulers and the Protestant Church

    •  Where do you think the English (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RonV, capelza, Euripides9

      got their "permission?"

      Christopher Columbus: The Untold Story

      "We shall take you and your wives and your children, and shall make slaves of them, and as such shall sell and dispose of them as their Highnesses may command; and we shall take away your goods, and shall do all the harm and damage that we can." [11]

      The Doctrine of Discovery provided that by law and divine intention European Christian countries gained power and legal rights over indigenous non-Christian peoples immediately upon their "discovery" by Europeans. Various European monarchs and their legal systems developed this principle to benefit their own countries. The Discovery Doctrine was then adopted into American colonial and state law and into the United States Constitution, and was then adopted by the federal legislative and executive branches, and finally by the U.S. Supreme Court in Johnson v. M’Intosh in 1823. Johnson is still federal law today and the Doctrine of Discovery is still being applied to Indian individuals and the American Indian Nations notwithstanding its Eurocentric, religious, and racial underpinnings.

      Patent Granted by King Henry VII to John Cabot and his Sons find, discover and investigate whatsoever islands, countries, regions or provinces of heathens and infidels, in whatsoever part of the world placed, which before this time were unknown to all Christians...
      And that the before-mentioned John and his sons or their heirs and deputies may conquer, occupy and possess whatsoever such towns, castles, cities and islands by them thus discovered that they may be able to conquer, occupy and possess, as our vassals and governors lieutenants and deputies therein, acquiring for us the dominion, title and jurisdiction of the same towns, castles, cities, islands and mainlands so discovered;...

      She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

      by Winter Rabbit on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:19:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you're looking for a defense of Columbus (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RonV, Boreal Ecologist

        you're talking to the wrong person.  But traveling with Columbus, on the second voyage if memory serves, was Bartolome de las Casas, who did more to protect Native Americans from the depredations of Europeans than any other single individual in the sixteenth century.

        Native American slavery was formally outlawed in Spanish colonies in 1541, and though the law was little respected it did act as a constraint on Spanish behavior.

        My general point is that the history of European-Native American relations is complicated, and simply cannot be read as a straight line relationship of oppression.

        Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

        by litho on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:26:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Wrongs on all sides (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but likely many of the European peoples were not intending biocide.  Not to say that many took advantage of the the indigenous people weakened by disease.  

        With both European and Creek heritage this is a difficult question to wrestle with and it is undoubted that many were harmed.  I appreciate your diaries.

        Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

        by barbwires on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 04:11:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I probably have a unique perspective. One of my (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RonV, litho, barbwires

      relatives was one of the most important scientists of the last century--Fritz Haber, who got the Nobel in chemistry for elucidating the details of nitrogen fixation (photosynthesis.)  

      He was also one of the most lethal war criminals in history until WW II.  He developed the capability & delivery systems for poison gas for the Germans in WW I.  He personally triggered the attack at Ypers in Belgium against the allies.  Seeing it's success, he immediately (that day) took off for for the Russian front to do it again.  Immediately upon find this out, his wife (a scientist in her own right)  fatally shot herself in the chest.

      He was appropriately rewarded by history.  Since uncle Fritz was Jewish, the Nazis were not at all greatful, & he fled the Fatherland just ahead of the Gestapo.  

      It is not power that corrupts, but fear. Be fearless & show humility. (h/t)Aung San Suu Kyi

      by sturunner on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:48:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good points. But the straight out killing and (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RonV, capelza, Boreal Ecologist, Alec82

      dispossession of the native population etc would still qualify for genocide status, imho.

  •  It cannot be argued that US policy towards the (8+ / 0-)

    Plains Indians did not include genocide if not systematic genocide. Jackson's rampage through the South destroyed villages, livestock and crops, leaving the hostiles the choice to die from disease and starvation or surrendering.
    Civilian populations of women, children and elderly were targeted, both by Custer's 7th for example and by Fremont's punitive expedition of irregulars against the tribes.
    Added to this the US feeling that Indians were a separate species, not human, and they were included in many minds with the wolves, bears, cougars and other large predatory vermin to be exterminated

  •  ((hangs head)) (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RonV, barbwires, capelza, Winter Rabbit

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 03:50:20 PM PDT

  •  Colonists = genocide (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RonV, capelza, Winter Rabbit

    If a group of settlers enter a new land which they see to be bereft of what they accept as government, and what they accept as property titles, won't they always imagine limitless expansion?  Won't their leaders craftily gauge what they can get away with, and make long-term plans to displace or enslave the native population?

    After the historical records of the Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans, Rhodesians and Israelis, it is understandable that the Chinese are denounced as rapacious colonizers in Tibet and Sinkiang, but they could well say, "All you white nations today became rich from such actions - it's racist that no Asian is allowed to do the same!"

    The rich white nations can't close the window on future crimes by non-white colonists until we assess serious penalties on ourselves for our past crimes.  Otherwise we come off as hypocrites, as we do on nuclear proliferation.

  •  Maybe they did and maybe they didn't (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RonV, capelza, Winter Rabbit

    but my reading of Guns, Germs and Steel is that it would not have been necessary. Smallpox was spread sooner or later simply by the fact of contact.

    This is one of those cases where it might be better to focus on what can be less ambiguously established. Like, fer instance, it was their land, and our ancestors (well, not mine, so much) took it by force, and they and their descendent's have, in general, cheerfully violated our treaties ever since.

    Mr. Mountain Man's website, cited early in the diary seems a strange case. All the proud posturing about his diary not being "politically correct" and the gratuitous reference to Ward Churchill tells me the site has an axe to grind. I'd imagine some treaty or landclaim issue is getting in the way of his traplines, cattle ranch or water diversion.

    You'll pay me the 8s I won of you a-betting?

    by Boreal Ecologist on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 04:36:25 PM PDT

    •  (tipped and rec'd, by the way) nt (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RonV, sberel, capelza, Winter Rabbit

      You'll pay me the 8s I won of you a-betting?

      by Boreal Ecologist on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 04:38:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you Boreal Ecologist. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RonV, sberel, capelza

        I read the part in Diamond's book, where he takes a strange turn and - it's like he psycho analyzes the germs. I friend of mine working on his PHD, though not in this area, said he was criticized for that. I think many wish that germs did it all and the land was uninhabited, not saying that's you, just talking out loud. Churchill has done a lot of damage. I read after the case his research was vilified on this, then I couldn't find it. Wish he'd of kept his mouth shut and not falsified himself. Because now in the academic world, which I am not a part of, he can't be cited without opening the door to all his unprofessional behavior as a "you mean the guy who...?

        She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

        by Winter Rabbit on Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 04:48:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Darn it! I was gone yesterday and missed this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Winter Rabbit

    in a timely enough manner to rec and tip it.

    Exceelent dairy.

  •  Thank you for making the effort to provide this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Winter Rabbit

    information. I did not notice this diary until after it was too late to recommend it, but I appreciate it.

  •  Below is link documenting military decisions to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Winter Rabbit

    kill buffalo, in order to deprive Native Americans of a primary food source and cause them to starve.

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