Friday, September 28, 2012

Native American Day

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By Terry Orr

The fourth Friday of each September is set aside to celebrate Native Americans.  Last year we focus on some of the background of Native Americans, their Tribes, and a few of the more prominent people.  This year’s article is more about some of the injustices they have had to endure over the past 500 years.

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A curious mind can be dangerous at times and yet others leading to enlightenment.  There has been one question on my mind this month – “How many Native Americans were killed by the US government?”
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Estimates:
Two studies have been conducted that attempt to number the natives killed by the United States. The first of these was sponsored by the United States government, and while official does not stand up to scrutiny and is therefore discounted (generally); this estimate shows between 1 million to 4 million killed. The second study was not sponsored by the US Government but was done from independent researchers. This study estimated populations and population reductions using later census data. Two figures are given, both low and high, at: between 10 million and 114 million Indians as a direct result of US actions. Please note that Nazi Holocaust estimates are between 6 and 11 million; thereby making the Nazi Holocaust the 2nd largest mass murder of a class of people in history.

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REF:
American Holocaust: D. Stannard (Oxford Press, 1992) - "over 100 million killed" "[Christopher] Columbus personally murdered half a million Natives"
For four hundred years--from the first Spanish assaults against the Arawak people of Hispaniola in the 1490s to the U.S. Army's massacre of Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee in the 1890s--the indigenous inhabitants of North and South America endured an unending firestorm of violence. During that time the native population of the Western Hemisphere declined by as many as 100 million people. Indeed, as historian David E. Stannard argues in this stunning new book, the European and white American destruction of the native peoples of the Americas was the most massive act of genocide in the history of the world.
Stannard begins with a portrait of the enormous richness and diversity of life in the Americas prior to Columbus's fateful voyage in 1492. He then follows the path of genocide from the Indies to Mexico and Central and South America, then north to Florida, Virginia, and New England, and finally out across the Great Plains and Southwest to California and the North Pacific Coast. Stannard reveals that wherever Europeans or white Americans went, the native people were caught between imported plagues and barbarous atrocities, typically resulting in the annihilation of 95 percent of their populations. What kind of people, he asks, do such horrendous things to others? His highly provocative answer: Christians. Digging deeply into ancient European and Christian attitudes toward sex, race, and war, he finds the cultural ground well prepared by the end of the Middle Ages for the centuries-long genocide campaign that Europeans and their descendants launched--and in places continue to wage--against the New World's original inhabitants. Advancing a thesis that is sure to create much controversy, Stannard contends that the perpetrators of the American Holocaust drew on the same ideological wellspring as did the later architects of the Nazi Holocaust. It is an ideology that remains dangerously alive today, he adds, and one that in recent years has surfaced in American justifications for large-scale military intervention in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

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God, Greed and Genocide: The Holocaust Through the Centuries: Grenke (New Academia Publishing 2006)
What are the similarities between the mass extermination of idolaters in the Old Testament, the burning of witches in the Middle Ages, the extermination of native Americans, the mass killing of the Armenians at the hand of the Turks, the Holo- caust of the European Jews, and the communist eradication of the enemies of the people both in the Soviet Union and Cambodia? Are these to be seen as unique cases, or as the result of a recognizable pattern. The author provides insight into these questions, basing his argument on the latest sources. He maintains that the study of the dynamics that lead to mass destruction may provide a better understanding of the holocaust as a recurrent phenomenon.

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Holocaust: Critical Concepts in Historical Studies: Cesarani, (Routledge 2004)
Since the end of the 1980s the field of Holocaust studies has burgeoned, diversified, and experienced a series of important controversies. Drawing on the best research of the past sixty years, this collection brings together the most significant secondary literature on the Nazi persecution and mass murder of the Jews. Care is taken to set the work in a context of historical breadth and depth.

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So on this day of recognition of the Native Americans Day and in preparation of the Native American Heritage Month in November – please take some time and do a little research and get a better understanding of these great people.  Thank you! [from last year’s article]

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References and Links:

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