Indian Massacres/Talk

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I am not an expert in this area. But I remember, growing up in Alabama, the story of the Trail of Tears, in which many Native American people were forced to leave Alabama (and other places, perhaps), and walk to Arkansas or something like that. Many of them died along the way. Would that count?

(Notice that I am not only not an expert, this edit is more of a question than a comment, so perhaps someone could fill in the Trail of Tears page with some facts, and then this comment could be removed from this page.) --Jimbo Wales

Do we want this under "Indian" massacres? Should we, for that matter, include it under "Native American" massacres? That term is overlimited too, making that assumption peculiar to the United States that the United States is the only country in America. (Native American, for instance, does not refer to Incan, Mayan, or Aztecan peoples; and so "Native American massacres" would presumably not include Spanish atrocities against people indigenous to South America.....) --KQ

(What about the British, Spanish and French governments? or local government, even posse action? How are we dealing with deaths through war, not necessarily singular incident.)

  • Oct 27, 1837 - Sinking of steamship Monmouth - 311 Creeks killed on Mississippi River during forced relocation (perhaps 3500 Creeks died total during removal?)

I removed this one as it is an accident, not a massacre. The total killed in relocation would also not count as a 'massacre'. However, I think such instances should be included, and that the list should not be limited to massacres as such, but to any instance of death that could plausibly be considered murder. This would include deaths due to forced relocation, when necessary provisions are not provided by the government. So if anyone can confirm this 3500 number, that should be added to our list. - TS

  • 1712 - Fox Indian Massacre - Grosse Pointe, Michigan - more than 1000 Fox Indians killed by French army and Huron and Ottawa allies (this sounds exaggerated but is taken from a Michigan historical marker; also, this is not an action of the American government.)

This seems to have been a battle, not a massacre, apart from not being an action of the American government. - TS

sorry but i doubt the accuracy of the assumption of literacy, or the existence of a 'free press'. printing presses were not growing on trees in colonial america. there were owned by the elites who often had a vestted interest in lying about native americans. furthermore, many of the immigrants having fled from poverty, many more having been in the near slave-like state of 'indentured servitude', would not be expected to be able to read nor write. particularly in the southern colonies.

The accounts that exist are from colonial newspapers, pamphlets, or from personal diaries, and to ignore the obvious biased perspective of these authors is to ignore the truth. IE. they are almost all european americans, or native americans orally dictating to european americans, often with a religious, political, or racial bias that was inserted into what they wrote down.

But even if you do have some kind of maniac body count brigade that accurately counts up all the indians killed in each fight, you are still going to have probllems. For example, what are you going to do with Amherst intentionally supplying native americans with smallpox infected blankets? How many did that kill? Did the CDC go out and interview the natives about how many were dying? Another example is the practice of enslaving native americans and sending them to the carribbean. How many died on these trips? How many died on the plantations?

I just wanted to point out how many thousands of hours of work you all have ahead of you, and to wonder if maybe there wwerent other more productive ways of comparing the Nazi-jew thing to the USA-indian thing.

I know...if you don't like the conclusions, impugn the method. - Tim

If you dont want to use the right method, dont do it at all. There are plenty of arguments out there about how the Indian slaughters were like Nazi Germany, there are plenty of backwards ass european rednecks who wrote very clearly that they thought the indians were a savage race of subhumans who needed to be destroyed. the racist christians who wanted to 'convert the savages' to christianity, english dress, etc, were often harshly criticized by the towns they lived in for being 'too liberal' for not wanting to exterminate the indians. The entire philosophy of 'manifest destiny' is nothing more than a fancy word for 'ethnic cleansing'. Sherman , the "great" civil war leader, was instrumental in the strategy of murdering all the buffalo in order to deprive the indians, who had been largely shoved into the great plains, of any food supply. and on and on and on. even in my history classes in 1993 i was told "they were savages and needed to be moved out".

There are plenty of ways nazi germany was different. Ive never thougt about it much before, but im sure you could if you wantted to. im writing this down in a laame attempt to prove that i dont give a fuck about the conclusion, the method is everything.

Tim says, "if you don't like the conclusions, impugn the method". Yet since this is not a complete listing yet, how can it be that any conclusions are being drawn? Is there a desire to draw a conclusion of state innocence before all the numbers are in? Addressing the method at this early point is entirely appropriate. In fact, it is not at all certain that any significant quantity of non-military massacres were actually recorded, and this casts serious doubt on the whole method. The method hinges on the entirely untenable assertion that any numbers recorded historically must be true, and assumes that the number and size of massacres for which no quantities in the massacre exist can be dismissed; to me, this claim is not 100% obvious and requires deliberate and careful proof, which is currently absent from the discussion.
Personally, in addition to being improper science, I feel that this whole method may act to trivialize the scope of culture-loss experienced by native americans due directly to US expansion. Nor, on the other hand, should this be viewed as an attempt to deny the importance of western culture or to insist it unfair that one culture should overtake and destroy another; such is the way of evolution, and to suggest otherwise would be to claim that this force of nature is wrong or evil.

The method being used is the method used for historical studies in general: study the original sources, first-hand accounts (or records of such accounts), and secondarily, later sources and other, second- or third-hand accounts, and try to reconcile apparent contradictions and fill in the gaps that will likely arise. For the specific purpose of counting total killed, establish a range of likely possible totals, and estimate a most likely total from within that range. Then publish your research so someone can see it and add it to our list. If this method is not valid, then we have to abandon everything we know about the Holocaust, the Soviet genocides, etc., and start over, because what we know about these events results from this same method.

If there is another method that could possibly lead to accurate conclusions, please describe it here. - Tim