It has always been puzzling to me that practically everyone is aware of the tragedy in Nazi Germany known simply as "the holocaust", but so few people know about the almost incomprehensible genocide that was committed against the Native American Indians in the Americas.
Although there is no conclusive record, the estimated number of victims from the holocaust in Nazi Germany rests at about 6 million people, including an estimated 1.5 million children, while the estimated total amount of Native American Indians is as high as a mind numbing 100 million men, women and children!
Without negating the legitimate suffering of the Jewish victims of the Nazi regime, if we were to make a comparison (because the holocaust is the most famous genocide in history), the Native American genocide - which also included the rape of women, torture of both adults and children, as well as slavery, and other savage acts - is not only more dramatic based on numbers alone, but has also been far more crippling in the long term than the effects of the holocaust on the Jewish community, which today actually boasts some of the most powerful and rich families and people in the world.
This story starts with Christopher Columbus, who has been propagated as a hero for centuries. It is interesting that he actually noted how kind hearted the native peoples were to him and his men when they arrived. Rather than returning this kindness like a normal human being, Columbus being the imperialist psychopath that he actually was, found this to be perfect grounds to steal from them and manipulate them which he documented in his personal log as follows;
"They ... brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things... They willingly traded everything they owned... They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane... . They would make fine servants.... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want."
This was just the beginning though, Columbus began to force the Natives, 13 years and older, into labor to find gold. He gave them quotas that if not met, he would torture them, usually by chopping off their hands which resulted in them slowly bleeding to death. The atrocities committed by Columbus and his mean demonstrate that history has certainly been written by the victors, and the victors do not want the Native American's side of the story to be told.
It is important though to now dive head first into the divide and conquer mantra that all Europeans are responsible for this madness. We would probably never of even known about these atrocities had it not been for a Spanish historian and social reformer by the name of Bartolomé de las Casas who made no reservations in documenting the inhumanity of Columbus and his men;
"Slaves were the primary source of income for the Admiral (Columbus), with that income he intended to repay the money the Kings were spending in support of Spaniards on the Island. They provide profit and income to the Kings. (The Spaniards were driven by) insatiable greed ... killing, terrorizing, afflicting, and torturing the native peoples ... with the strangest and most varied new methods of cruelty."
Estimates for the exact number of natives killed is almost impossible to truly establish because of how long ago it was and the lack of credible documentation. Estimates vary from as low as about 10 million to as high as 100 million. What is not difficult to establish though, is that this was indeed an act of methodical genocide.
Sheer brutality was not the only method of extermination though, a large amount of natives were actually killed through one of earliest recorded instances of biological warfare, in which the small pox virus was spread to the natives.This was documented in correspondence between Sir Jeffrey Amherst, commander of the British forces in North America and Colonel Henry Bouquet at Fort Pitt;
“You will do well to try to inoculate the Indians [with smallpox] by means of blankets, as well as to try every other method, that can serve to extirpate this execrable race.”
They moved forward with this plan as corroborated by numerous sources including The Journal of William Trent.
Unfortunately the Native American community is plagued by its inhumane suffering from the past, including forced indoctrination through schooling, and is still struggling to recover. In fact, many Native leaders believe that they are still being oppressed by the American government and other authorities. This is easy to believe when we actually learn that police brutality against native Americans is worse than African Americans but the media is dreadfully silent about it. Likewise, there history is still largely kept secret and omitted from the history books.
So please, share this story and lets be a voice for a people who have had their voice stolen.
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