Was violence between American Indian tribes worse than violence between whites and Indians?

Oct 2019
17
America
Generally speaking, was violence between American Indian tribes worse than violence between whites and American Indians in terms of war crimes perpetrated?
Before Europeans came no. Afterwards still no but the wars definitely intensified. Due to the european demand for beaver pelts the Mohawk tribe of the Iroquois went on agressive military campaigns to the west to gain more beaver to sell to the french. And the French and Indian War tore apart the confederation quite brutally. However compared to the American wars against the plains natives that was really nothing. And if you look at the spanish conquests all that seems like even less.
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,975
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
Whites did not commit genocide on native Americans.
They did not Intentionally give Natives measles and smallpox any more than the Natives intentionally gave Europeans syphilis.

Resettling cherokees to Oklahoma was certainly theft of their land, cruel, abusive and racist... but it was NOT annihilation.


Meanwhile there is ample evidence that native Americans did their level best to annihilate other native tribes... and they did their fair share of massacring- e.g. Jamestown.

The only difference in the outcomes in this conflict was the accident of which side had superior technology.

And you can not exonerate Native Americans of a crime they lacked the weaponry to commit.
Red Cloud, during the Bozeman trail war was told that if he killed every white person he saw in his lands, they would just send more- to which he replied that the Lakota would just kill all them as well.

A genocide would have been laughably easy for the United States to commit... and yet they did not. They actually feted Red Cloud in Washington and New York, and chronicled their people and what was being done to them. They were given reservations and even efforts ( though ill guided) were made to educate them and teach them to farm in hope they might assimilate.

Sorry- you can accuse the whites in North America of all sorts of inequities- of usurpation, or racism, or reneging on treaties, of economic exploitation, and cruelty and even indifference.
All of which they are guilty of.

But genocide? sorry. Never happened.

And Every Native American male was considered to be a warrior, first.

Every people on earth has blood on their hands.
Every culture is capable of the same horrors- and humanities.
What you say is mostly accurate. However, you over simplify a bit when you write:

And Every Native American male was considered to be a warrior, first.
There were and are hundreds of Indian nations, tribes, bands, and groups in the USA, each with its own culture.

A large percentage of those ethnic groups had warrior cultures were the way for a young man to acquire wealth and prestige and possibly become a chief when he was older was to steal for outsiders and fight and kill outsiders. Thus all societies with a warrior culture were constantly in a state of usually low level war with all outside groups except for a few groups which were their allies. Those warrior groups, like pirates in western civilization, were enemies of all humanity, except for those groups they were allies with, and were also often friendly to strange, exotic people like white men at first, though how long such friendly relations lasted depended on the behavior of both groups.

Another large percentage of Indian ethnic groups didn't have warrior cultures. Their men were expected to fight to defend the group if it was attacked, but they weren't expected to occasionally go and attack other groups. Instead those groups had non aggressive foreign policies and expected to be at peace with every other group, except for such groups as might attack them. So those groups would usually not bother white people passing though or settling nearby unless unless provoked. And of course they varied greatly in how much provoking it took to make them react violently and in how much they happened to be provoked, so many Indian groups never had any armed conflicts with white people or the US government.

One way to tell whether an Indian group used to have a warrior culture is whether you have ever heard of it. If you aren't an expert on American Indians, the only groups you are likely to have heard of would be tribes with warrior cultures that were mentioned in western movies and television shows.

For example, I have a dim memory of the first time I heard about the Kiowa. As a kid I watched a western movie or television show (maybe Wagon Train) and a scout reported Indian sign. The leader asked what tribe? The scout said Kiowas. And the leader repeated "Kiowas" in a tone that made it clear that Kiowas were bad news. The historic Kiowas were a fierce warrior tribe, allies with the Comanche.

But if you look at a list of tribes in the USA, like this one:

List of federally recognized tribes by state - Wikipedia

You will see the names of hundreds of tribal governments, including many that are unfamiliar. And many of the unfamiliar tribal names will be unfamiliar because those tribes didn't have warrior cultures and might never have fought against settlers and/or the US government. Some of those tribes might have been as peaceful as the fictional Hekawis in F Troop (1965-1967).
 
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Aug 2018
337
America
They gave it a good try a couple of times.

It was never the policy of the United States to destroy the Indians; the intention was to subjugate them and take their best lands. As was done.
Try to give examples of said attempts. Militarily invading, conquering and displacing their lands knowing that would starve them to death is definitely a policy of destroying them at least partially, and genocide as defined today includes only partial mass killing. Not that it matters. You won't find, for example, anything that says that Efraín Ríos Montt wanted to commit genocide in Guatemala as a policy, yet it is now beyond doubt that he did.
 
Aug 2018
559
Southern Indiana
They did not Intentionally give Natives measles and smallpox any more than the Natives intentionally gave Europeans syphilis.
Henry Bouquet intentionally gave friendly Delaware blankets infected with small pox after getting the go ahead from General Amherst.
 
Aug 2018
337
America
Whites did not commit genocide on native Americans.
They did not Intentionally give Natives measles and smallpox any more than the Natives intentionally gave Europeans syphilis.

Resettling cherokees to Oklahoma was certainly theft of their land, cruel, abusive and racist... but it was NOT annihilation.


Meanwhile there is ample evidence that native Americans did their level best to annihilate other native tribes... and they did their fair share of massacring- e.g. Jamestown.

The only difference in the outcomes in this conflict was the accident of which side had superior technology.

And you can not exonerate Native Americans of a crime they lacked the weaponry to commit.
Red Cloud, during the Bozeman trail war was told that if he killed every white person he saw in his lands, they would just send more- to which he replied that the Lakota would just kill all them as well.

A genocide would have been laughably easy for the United States to commit... and yet they did not. They actually feted Red Cloud in Washington and New York, and chronicled their people and what was being done to them. They were given reservations and even efforts ( though ill guided) were made to educate them and teach them to farm in hope they might assimilate.

Sorry- you can accuse the whites in North America of all sorts of inequities- of usurpation, or racism, or reneging on treaties, of economic exploitation, and cruelty and even indifference.
All of which they are guilty of.

But genocide? sorry. Never happened.

And Every Native American male was considered to be a warrior, first.

Every people on earth has blood on their hands.
Every culture is capable of the same horrors- and humanities.
White settlers brutally invaded, conquered and displaced them from their lands. They would not have been suffering from such mass epidemics without those things. In fact, as someone pointed out here, natives actually increased their demography thanks to the introduction of the horse and only with the expansion of the American frontier through conquest did it again dwindle. You're also talking as if things like the segregation in reserves and the Trail of Tears didn't happen. Also, your argument that "everyone has blood on their hands" is so ridiculously unintelligent given that by this logic, we shouldn't be talking about, for example, the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide or the Cambodian genocide given that Jews, Armenians and Cambodians have a well-known extensive history of warfare.
 
Aug 2018
559
Southern Indiana
You folks are talking about a period that spans a couple hundred years, you can not make blanket statements about the white policy towards the natives, it changed depending on who was in charge at the time. Even the much maligned Andrew Jackson did not want the Indians exterminated, his personal letters showed that he believed he was saving them by moving them west (but he was a racist A-hole).
 
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Aug 2018
337
America
Had it not been for the coincidence of disease, the natives would not have suffered near the mortality rate that they did. Despite the grandiose zeal of the period to tout various and sundry victories, of questionable merit, over the Indians, the settlers would have never prevailed without the devastating effects of disease on native populations. And yes, Indians also discriminately killed for the express purpose of annihilating all settlers in a given region. However, if you are possessed of evidence to the contrary, feel free to here present it.
What evidence do you have that natives "indiscriminately killed for the express purpose of annihilating all settlers in a given region"? We know that the United States is as big as it is now because it invaded and conquered Native Americans, while epidemics wouldn't have been common without said invasions and conquests. Then they segregated them into reserves as if that wasn't enough.
 

Zip

Jan 2018
582
Comancheria
Try to give examples of said attempts. Militarily invading, conquering and displacing their lands knowing that would starve them to death is definitely a policy of destroying them at least partially, and genocide as defined today includes only partial mass killing.
The Powhatan Wars had the intention of wiping out the Virginia colony. The Pequot and King Philip's Wars hoped to destroy Massachusetts. Pontiac's War had the intention of ridding the Great Lakes and Ohio country of English. That the Indians failed was not from lack of trying.

The definition of genocide has been so expanded as to take much of the sting away from the notion. The deliberate extermination of a people, root and branch; now that has some sting. But to conquer a people, reduce them to poverty and destroy their culture, nah, that's not nearly as bad. This can then lead to the conclusion that genocide as defined today isn't so bad. Sure isn't the Holocaust, right?
 
Last edited:
Sep 2014
968
Texas
Violence among Native Americans certainly existed. They have found skulls in Chaco Canyon area with the teeth chizzled like the MesoAmericans, and scat found in the remains of a fire (I do not know the correct word) was human with enziyes in it that indicated cannabalism.
The Chippewa drove the Dakotas out of Wisconsin. They were very proud of that fact
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This Seneca war club was used to bash in heads.
One of the things that made it worse was the introduction of the horse. No one willingly gave horses to Native Americans. They were stolen...lots of stories about this part of Native American culture. The Comanche would literally go anywhere to pick a fight, and there is a story of the Kiowa on one of their raids into Mexico seeing monkeys.....that was quite some ride.
 
Aug 2018
337
America
The Powhatan Wars had the intention of wiping out the Virginia colony. The Pequot and King Philip's Wars hoped to destroy Massachusetts. Pontiac's War had the intention of ridding the Great Lakes and Ohio country of English. That the Indians failed was not from lack of trying.

The definition of genocide has been so expanded as to take much of the sting away from the notion. The deliberate extermination of a people, root and branch; now that has some sting. But to conquer a people, reduce them to poverty and destroy their culture, nah, that's not nearly as bad. This can then lead to the conclusion that genocide as defined today isn't so bad. Sure isn't the Holocaust, right?
I'm using the same definition of genocide given by Raphael Lemkin over half a century ago. As for your examples, you are equating driving out invaders with genocide. This is like saying the Anglo-Saxons attempting to drive away the Vikings constitutes attempted genocide. The Virginia Colony in particular is an egregious example since it constitutes the first example of sustained attempts of conquest by the English, no different than the Great Heathen Army or Cortés's invasion of Mexico.