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Old November 10th, 2012, 08:49 PM   #101

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I appreciate the point, but i think this is rather irrelevant. The UN and the word genocide didn't exist in the 19th century. Rather, what i think is more relevant is how did this go so horribly wrong? And the root of that, imho, as far as European are concerned, can be found at the end of the 15th century. And for the native Americans a sincere need of reflection on their part as well, the way they had lived in all it's aspects was going to affect how the new arrivals were going to treat them as a whole.

Then again, perhaps it was inevitable. Two groups so different in almost every aspects, except in their humanity. All that was needed was some little spark to ignite it all into a contest of complete conquest and subjugation. In that, i think by the mid-18th century that it was far too late to correct any missteps and mistakes, made by both groups, to reverse what was coming in the 19th century.
They didn't exist in the 19th Century, that is true, but when Lemkin lobbied for the law to be written, he left things fairly open that one could go back and accuse any country of genocide if there was any evidence of such action. For Lemkin, it was a point of justice. If a man murders another man, he doesn't automatically get off the hook after a certain number of years.

And that was ultimately why the US ammended the law when they finally signed it. At the time the rivalry with the USSR was still high and we were just coming out of Vietnam. The fear was that the Soviets would lay down a charge of Genocide for treatment of the Native Americans, and win. The resulting consequences would open up a vast "sea" of trouble as to determine what to do after that...

As for how things went wrong... I think the greatest failing is that both sides failed to fully understand the other. The failure to understand and acknowledge one another helped encourage the conflicts that would come later and thus the exact mistakes made by each side.
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Old November 10th, 2012, 09:27 PM   #102

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They didn't exist in the 19th Century, that is true, but when Lemkin lobbied for the law to be written, he left things fairly open that one could go back and accuse any country of genocide if there was any evidence of such action. For Lemkin, it was a point of justice. If a man murders another man, he doesn't automatically get off the hook after a certain number of years.

And that was ultimately why the US ammended the law when they finally signed it. At the time the rivalry with the USSR was still high and we were just coming out of Vietnam. The fear was that the Soviets would lay down a charge of Genocide for treatment of the Native Americans, and win. The resulting consequences would open up a vast "sea" of trouble as to determine what to do after that...

As for how things went wrong... I think the greatest failing is that both sides failed to fully understand the other. The failure to understand and acknowledge one another helped encourage the conflicts that would come later and thus the exact mistakes made by each side.
Couldn't the US have just accused the Soviets of ethnic cleansing and genocide in regards to all the Tatars, North Caucasus peoples, Volga Germans, and Ukrainians that were either killed or sent off to central Asia?
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Old November 10th, 2012, 09:42 PM   #103

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Originally Posted by Sam-Nary View Post
They didn't exist in the 19th Century, that is true, but when Lemkin lobbied for the law to be written, he left things fairly open that one could go back and accuse any country of genocide if there was any evidence of such action. For Lemkin, it was a point of justice. If a man murders another man, he doesn't automatically get off the hook after a certain number of years.

And that was ultimately why the US ammended the law when they finally signed it. At the time the rivalry with the USSR was still high and we were just coming out of Vietnam. The fear was that the Soviets would lay down a charge of Genocide for treatment of the Native Americans, and win. The resulting consequences would open up a vast "sea" of trouble as to determine what to do after that...

As for how things went wrong... I think the greatest failing is that both sides failed to fully understand the other. The failure to understand and acknowledge one another helped encourage the conflicts that would come later and thus the exact mistakes made by each side.
Couldn't the US have just accused the Soviets of ethnic cleansing and genocide in regards to all the Tatars, North Caucasus peoples, Volga Germans, and Ukrainians that were either killed or sent off to central Asia?
It is impossible to make any sort of justice stick in a modern sense to the alleged crimes committed in the past for long dead people. The problem here again, if this is so... for example, then Germans alive today who were born after 1950 might as well be equated with all the crimes committed by Nazi party. If we follow this line of reasoning, then there is no real room for justice for anyone at all. Everyone loses if there is no room for progress on these sort of issues.

Or the Turks treatment of Armenians about a hundred years ago. Are they all descendants genocidal maniacs? Of course not, but that is the label that will be applied to any majority population that happened to have gotten ahead during the development of the nation states. And that is not really justice that would suit anyone, except to further animosity, and who really wins?
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Old November 10th, 2012, 10:10 PM   #104

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It is impossible to make any sort of justice stick in a modern sense to the alleged crimes committed in the past for long dead people. The problem here again, if this is so... for example, then Germans alive today who were born after 1950 might as well be equated with all the crimes committed by Nazi party. If we follow this line of reasoning, then there is no real room for justice for anyone at all. Everyone loses if there is no room for progress on these sort of issues.

Or the Turks treatment of Armenians about a hundred years ago. Are they all descendants genocidal maniacs? Of course not, but that is the label that will be applied to any majority population that happened to have gotten ahead during the development of the nation states. And that is not really justice that would suit anyone, except to further animosity, and who really wins?
You have a very good point, and it would be a good explanation for why trying to apply it would be a nasty can of worms. It probably wasn't the reasoning that the politicians in the US that signed the law against Genocide were thinking of, but looking at it today, the reasoning is a good one...

John Chivington died in 1894. George A. Custer died in 1876. William T. Sherman died in 1891. Phillip Sheridan died in 1881... and these are just the military figures that would top the lest of men that could be considered responsible. I'd imagine that the list of civilian/government officials that could also be charged died around the same timeframe, and perhaps a little later into the 20th Century as the policy that made the Reservations so abominable weren't changed until FDR's presidency... and the ones that put it all in place were all out of office by 1905.

Legally, the law would allow it, but the consequences would fall on people who are today just as innocent as the people that were victimized in the 1800s.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 04:36 AM   #105

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@Rongo: The scale an intent is important here. Wars were waged among rival tribes over things like resources, revenge, etc, same as everywhere else. But wholesale slaughter of entire peoples or forced assimilation of entire tribes was not practiced on a scale like what the colonists did to the natives. The only known examples of entire tribes being wiped out (violently, not talking about disease doing the whole job) that I can think of off the top of my head are the aforementioned Beothuks and Erie people...
And the same can be said of the European/Americans. The VAST majority (80% or more) of Native Americans were wiped out by disease. There are few, if any, examples of entire tribes being wiped out by the European/Americans. Instead there are numerous examples of small-scale attacks (some of them which were certainly morally reprehensible) on villages and settlements. But the Native Americans were no different. We've already seen the Crow Creek example, but here's some more:

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In the September, 1680, a force of 500 Iroquois and 100 of their allies (Voeglin and Jones says the allies were Shawnee while Schlarman contends the Iroquois allies were Miami) attacked the great Illinois village at Kaskaskia (on the Illinois River, near present-day Peoria--not to be confused with the Kaskaskia on the Mississippi that was occupied by George Rogers Clark during the American Revolution). The timing of the attack could not have been worse for the Illinois. Many of the warriors, led by Chief Chassagoac, were far to the south at Cahokia for a religious festival. Tonti who lived among the Illini had begged Chassagoac not to go, fearing an attack, but go the Illini did. Only about 500 Illini warriors remained, and they had only about 100 guns among them and only 400 rounds of ammunition for them. Most were armed with bows and tomahawks. Not only did the Iroquois and their allies enjoy numerical superiority, they also enjoyed superior firepower as they were all armed with guns. The Illini evacuated old men, women, and children down the Illinois River six miles to an island where they could hide until the battle was over. The Illini went out to meet the attackers. When the Iroquois advanced across the plain between the Illinois River and The Vermillion River, the Illini ambushed them. The Iroquois fell back, but soon returned to the attack. Tonti approached the Iroquois with a wampum belt, hoping to negotiate a peace treaty. He was stabbed by an Iroquois warrior but not fatally. The Iroquois forced Tonti to evacuate up the Illinois to Lac du Illinois. Then the attack recommenced. After about eight days of fighting, the Illinois were driven back to their village. Matson contends that the village was surrounded by a log palisade; that the Illini tore down cabins and such to reenforce it. But Father Membre (quoted in Jones and Voeglin and cited by Blasingham, claims that the village lacked both stockade and entrenchments. In either event, the Iroquois overcame the Illinois after fierce fighting.

The surviviors fled down the Illinois River to the Mississippi while the Iroquois tortured and burned their captives. The scaffolds of the dead were pulled down and the corpses mutilated. Then the Iroquois pursued the Illini down the river. The Iroquois discovered the women and children hidden on the island. When La Salle returned in December, he found the burned bodies of the Illini women still bound to stakes while the bodies of the children lay nearby. As late as 1829, many human bones could be found on the island, mute testament to the tragedy that had happened there. When the fleeing Illini reached the mouth of the Mississippi, the Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and Chinkoa went north up the river. The Omouahoa, Coiracoentanon, Moingwena, and Chepoussa went down the river. The Peoria crossed the Mississippi to the other side. Only the Tamaroa Tapouaro, and Ispeminkia remained to hunt at the mouth of the Illinois. They were again attacked by the Iroquois and suffered about 700 killed or captured.


Source: The Iroquois Wars
.....
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Centuries before his time, according to the native tradition, the ancestors of the Huron-Iroquois family had dwelt in this locality, or still further east and nearer to the river's mouth.

As their numbers increased, dissensions arose. The hive swarmed, and band after band moved off to the west and south.

As they spread, they encountered people of other stocks, with whom they had frequent wars. Their most constant and most dreaded enemies were the tribes of the Algonkin family, a fierce and restless people, of northern origin, who everywhere surrounded them. At one period, however, if the concurrent traditions of both Iroquois and Algonkins can be believed, these contending races for a time stayed their strife, and united their forces in an alliance against a common and formidable foe.

This foe was the nation, or perhaps the confederacy, of the Alligewi or Talligewi, the semi-civilized "Mound-builders" of the Ohio Valley, who have left their name to the Allegheny river and mountains, and whose vast earthworks are still, after half-a-century of study, the perplexity of archaeologists.

A desperate warfare ensued, which lasted about a hundred years, and ended in the complete overthrow and destruction, or expulsion, of the Alligewi. The survivors of the conquered people fled southward, and are supposed to have mingled with the tribes which occupied the region extending from the Gulf of Mexico northward to the Tennessee river and the southern spurs of the Alleghenies.
...
The time which has elapsed since the overthrow of the Alligewi is variously estimated. The most probable conjecture places it at a period about a thousand years before the present day.


Source: Native American Indian Legends - The Huron-Iroquois Nations - Iroquois
......
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The only people of this stock remaining to be noticed are the Attiwandaronks, or Neutral Nation. They dwelt south of the Hurons, on the northern borders of Lakes Erie and Ontario. They had, indeed, a few towns beyond those lakes, situated east of the Niagara river, between the Iroquois and the Eries. They received their name of Neutrals from the fact that in the war between the Iroquois and the Hurons they remained at peace with both parties.

This policy, however, did not save them from the fate which overtook their Huron friends. In the year 1650 the Iroquois set upon them, destroyed their towns, and dispersed the inhabitants, carrying off great numbers of them, as was their custom, to be incorporated with their own population. Of their language we only know that it differed but slightly from the Huron.


Source: Native American Indian Legends - The Huron-Iroquois Nations - Iroquois
The Native Americans were wiped out by disease, warfare among themselves, and warfare with the white settlers. And although the deaths at the hands of the whites made up only a small fraction of their total deaths, the white man gets blamed for them all.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 04:41 AM   #106

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...Both have Europeans involved in their extinction. Someone previously mentioned the Iroquois being responsible for the fate of the Erie, but that's only partially true. The Erie met their lamentable fate in a war started by European powers and it was the British who encouraged the Iroquois to wipe out their neighbors entirely in exchange for continued support...
This sounds a bit too much like "the devil made me do it" to me. Do you have any references to support this? Here's a French Jesuit account of the massacre of the Erie Nation and the motivation behind it. I don't see anything in there about British involvement, and if there was, I'm sure the French Jesuits would have known about it:

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Although Iroquois hostility prevented the French from visiting this area themselves, the Relation of 1653/54 stated: "They [the Iroquois] tell us . . . that the Eries have taken arms against them (we call the Eries the Cat Nation, because there is in their country a prodigious number of wildcats, two or three times as large as our tame cats, but having a beautiful and precious fur). They tell us that an Iroquois town has already been set on fire and destroyed at the first attack . . . they [Iroquois] are inflamed and are arming to repulse the enemy, and are, therefore, obliged to seek peace with us. This Cat Nation is very populous. Some Wyandot, . . . have scattered everywhere since the destruction of their country (1649/50). . . . It is said that they have 2,000 men."

In 1654 the Iroquois lashed out to the west, somewhere toward the south shore of Lake Erie. The Jesuit Relation of 1656 gives a vivid account of this short war, during which the Seneca inflicted severe losses on the Erie. Along with a few subsequent references to Erie refugees or captives among the Iroquois, that constitutes all of the existing documentation.


Source: Encyclopedia of Cleveland History:ERIE INDIANS
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Old November 11th, 2012, 04:45 AM   #107

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...And I can think of no tribe that forced all rivals to be assimilated. Adoption of captives was not based on a desire to wipe out the culture of their rivals, but out of a sense of grieving, replacing their own losses with new people, who'd be eventually treated as family in every sense. It was also probably because like most people they were generally uneasy at the thought of killing everybody in a rival village, even if it sometimes happened anyways...
With all due respect, this is a gross double standard. Where in the UN resolution is there a provision for excuses for "cultural genocide"? And if you're going to make excuses for the Native Americans, why not make excuses for the white race also? You seem to imply that capturing and indoctrinating children is OK if done by Native Americans to alleviate their own grief over their own lost warriors. I'm sorry, but I think that's a pretty poor excuse for kidnapping a child. And I have to point out that it could just as easily be said that the children were captured and indoctrinated into the tribe to REPLACE the tribe's losses and to become a new generation of warriors who would fight FOR them and not AGAINST them.

But while we're making excuses for "cultural genocide", I will point out that when the European/Americans assimilated Native American children into their culture it was under the sincere (but misguided) belief that they were bringing them culture, civilization and Christianity, all things that they believed would improve their life dramatically in this world and give them "eternal life" in the "next world". This is one of the problems with projecting modern definitions of "genocide" on past generations. They didn't know then what we know now.

Last edited by Rongo; November 11th, 2012 at 05:11 AM. Reason: assimilated
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Old November 11th, 2012, 05:21 AM   #108

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John Chivington died in 1894. George A. Custer died in 1876. William T. Sherman died in 1891. Phillip Sheridan died in 1881... and these are just the military figures that would top the lest of men that could be considered responsible.
I find this turn in the conversation somewhat interesting. Instead of the usual 'whites did it', we have an actual list of accused. I think it would useful to try and list those figures who might actually be considered guilty of genocide and what are the acts committed. In other words, for how many of these men can an actual case of genocide be made?

For instance, the case of British soldiers at Fort Pitt who famously tried to use smallpox infested blankets? What elements must be met? Particularly with regard to intent? Should their intent be deemed to 'kill all the Indians and wipe out their race' or might their intent be considered 'to break the siege and threat of death we are currently under from the Indians'?

Yes, an instance of biological warfare has been brought to the attention of the court. Does is meet the elements of the warcrime of genocide?
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Old November 11th, 2012, 09:35 AM   #109
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the native Americans stole, murdered, and raped just like the whites...how come I only hear about how the whites were evil??
Because the (so called) progressives find it useful to highlight the most negative aspects of american history in order to rob americans of their national heritage, making it easier to impose their own "progressive" ideals.

This process is involved in practically every aspect of american life and it is carried to an extreme that becomes laughable to those whose view of history has been informed by other than "progressive" shills.

Two little things regarding how inconsistent the criticisms are come to mind.

One is that there are more americans claiming descent from Native Americans now then there were at the nations founding in 1776. Compare those numbers to the numbers of Jews living in Germany in 1933 compared to the number of Jews living in Germany in 1945 to see the difference between reality genocide and agitprop genocide.

Two, the Native american way of life was not one way of life for all tribes, nomadic tribes did see their way of life disappear, sedentary tribes did not see their way of life disappear. Traditional measurements of poverty if applied to Native americans of the 18th cent. would be a lot higher than today, especially since some wealth back then was measured in slaves.

Much of native american ways have been incorporated into american life, things such as cleanliness, the warrior spirit, some things have fallen away
I can remember reading a book where one tribes term for the white settlers was translated as, "the people who smell bad".

Another thing we see is that much of the tribalism of native americans has been incorporated into sports, when sports started making tremendous inroads in american life around the times of 1890s the Native american practice of totems was either consciously or unconsciously used, hence many sports teams have names reflecting a totem, bears, cowboys, indians, spartans, vikings, the same progressive goats who cry big alligator tears about the loss of native culture also are self righteously offended by the use of "degrading stereotypes" their term for the naming of totems for the various sports teams.

In fact probably the first super athlete in american history was a Native american name of Jim Thorpe.

If one wants to know a more balanced view of these sorts of things I would recommend history books written before the educational establishment became nothing more than the propaganda arm of the "progressive movement".
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Old November 11th, 2012, 12:07 PM   #110

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*sigh*

It appears that now it's time for the conspiracy theories to start popping up. No, there's no grand conspiracy among progressive to "ruin the American heritage" or whatever. And I do not recall alleging that there was some concerted Nazi-like effort to commit genocide upon the entire race, but there did exist more independent drives on a lower level of authority to wipe out everyone in given regions and at times these efforts were given government assent and even support. The government also gave support to efforts to oppress them to ridiculous degrees and while extinction wasn't explicitly the main goal ethnic cleansing was considered to be the standard way of doing things, hence the moving tribes this way and that onto poor plots of land where they were severely regulated. And even sedentary peoples had their way of life changed dramatically. Forced conversions, suppression of native languages, removal from their homes, etc.
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