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American Genocide

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The esteemed historian Richard White reviews Benjamin Hadley’s new book on the organized American genocide against California Indians and reiterates the utter brutality behind American expansion, a history Americans are simply not willing to deal with at a time when they are happy to, fairly, condemn actions overseas that, once again, American helped create (see, ISIS today, the Khmer Rouge 40 years ago).

 The initial American motive for slaughter arose in the first months of the conquest and occupation of California, and it produced a kind of killing that Madley appropriately calls “pedagogic,” which would persist long afterward. Its rationale was a 19th-century version of shock and awe: At the slightest hint of a threat, Americans would inflict indiscriminate violence. Indians did not have to attack; Americans had only to feel threatened. In a mirror image of the way some Germans, Hungarians, and Americans feel threatened by the presence of Muslim asylum seekers in their countries today, Americans felt threatened by Indians. John C. Frémont began the bloodshed in 1846 by killing Wintus in Northern California because Americans feared the Wintus would attack them. The Americans were armed with Hawken rifles that could kill from 200 yards; the Wintus had bows. The result, as Americans described it, was the “slaughter” of 120 to 175 Indians. Frémont intended this as exemplary violence meant to terrify Indians and inoculate whites against attack.

The justification of exemplary violence was (and still is) that it eliminates the need for further violence. In California, the justification was empty: All that Americans really offered Indians were different ways to die. As gold miners wrecked the salmon streams and drove off game, as cattle and swine fed on the grasses and acorn crops that formed the basis of Native subsistence, exemplary violence forced Indians to choose between slaughter and starvation. When desperate Indians killed cattle and swine, they opened themselves up to disproportionate retaliatory violence. Americans held Indians collectively responsible for any injury suffered by whites. And they were relentless: When Indians tried to prevent Americans’ entry into their territory, they were attacked. Indians who took up gold mining and tried to defend their lands were slaughtered. When Indians retaliated against white violence, Oregonians (among the first of the forty-niners) shot them on sight, hunting them like animals and instituting a practice that would last for years.

Americans also deployed violence to secure forced labor. Inside and outside the gold-mining region, miners and ranchers sought to imitate and improve on Mexican labor practices by forcing Indians to work for them. The California constitutional convention denied Indians citizenship and condoned what amounted to permanent indenture. California’s Orwellian Act for the Government and Protection of Indians anticipated the Southern black codes that followed the Civil War. Having stripped them of their legal rights and provided for their arrest as vagrants, officials could auction off Indian “convicts” to pay their fines. Indian children could be taken from their parents and indentured until age 15 for females, 18 for males.

The law also formalized existing practices. Among the more horrible stories told by Madley is the one involving Charles Stone and Andrew Kelsey. They raised large amounts of livestock on lands they had appropriated from the Eastern Pomo and Clear Lake Wappo, whom they’d reduced to servile labor under threat of violence. They confiscated the Indians’ weapons, allowed them only meager rations, prohibited them from hunting, and punished them viciously when they killed cattle. Sexual violence against Indian women became routine; those who resisted were tortured. Against this and more, the Indians rebelled, killing Stone and Kelsey in 1849.

The slayings brought the US Dragoons down upon them. The soldiers killed any Indians they found, regardless of their involvement in the deaths. Vigilantes followed in the soldiers’ wake, driving the Indians off their lands in Napa, Sonoma, and around Santa Rosa. Many of the refugees were soon starving. The killings reached their peak when detachments from the US Dragoons and Artillery attacked Pomos on Bloody Island in Clear Lake. They shot the men and bayoneted and clubbed the women and children. As usual in such massacres, there was no careful counting of the dead; between 200 and 400 people were killed. The army followed this up with an attack on a village on the Russian River. The soldiers killed everyone they could find, from 75 to 100 people. (Two soldiers were wounded.) More killings followed. And so it would go, spreading across a very large state for nearly 25 straight years.

California’s laws, having created a system that encouraged slaving raids and the kidnapping of children, allowed slavers to act with impunity. Indians couldn’t testify against whites, and even when whites were willing to testify, the courts wouldn’t convict. Slaving existed throughout the period, but the practice reached its peak, ironically, when the Republicans—who rose to national power on the basis of their objections to black slavery—won the election in California under Leland Stanford during the Civil War.

The participation of federal troops and state militia in the violence, and the passage of laws that allowed Indian enslavement to flourish, emphasized the active participation of both the state and federal governments in the genocide. There is some truth in the older narrative about federal attempts to protect the Indians, but those efforts were feeble and ineffective. The Senate rejected the original treaties negotiated in California because of opposition from Californians who wanted nothing valuable reserved for Indians. The federal government did establish reservations at Round Valley and elsewhere, but it refused to protect the Indians who were removed there or to provide them with adequate supplies and rations. J. Ross Browne, a federal official sent to Round Valley to investigate conditions, reported that in the winter of 1858–59, whites slaughtered “a hundred and fifty peaceable Indians,” including nursing mothers and small children. Slavers and white squatters invaded the reservations. Indians often fled, preferring the dangers of starvation and attack outside the reservations to the hunger, disease, and assaults they suffered within them. It was no wonder they came to look on Round Valley “rather as a hell than as a home.”

It was not just the federal sins of omission that matter here; the funding that the US government provided for California’s militia expeditions made attacking Indians possible and profitable. When the government expended funds to pay for past assaults on Indians, it encouraged new ones. Fighting Indians became a source of profit; men enlisted for the pay, and the government provided it. During the Civil War, the federal government recruited the California Volunteers, who existed largely to fight Indians. The Volunteers continued their carnage over much of California and expanded it into the state’s deserts to the southeast. Congress proved far more generous appropriating money for killing Indians than for feeding them—and even when it knew that Indians on the reservations were starving, Congress cut the funding for their rations.

By the time of the Civil War, the killing had become the backdrop for California politics, and condoning it the price of public office. Nearly 20 years into the slaughter, Stanford rationalized the calling out of troops and a bill to supplement the pay of the California Volunteers as self-defense. He demanded “absolute protection to our citizens from these repeated incursions of hostile Indians.” The result? Still more indiscriminate killing of Indians.

Americans, these are the foundational actions of our nation. Yet even within liberal racial thought and guilt (not to mention conservatives’ open celebration of white nationalist America) such actions are completely unknown or totally forgotten about. We as a nation have done nothing to deal with this legacy. We’ve done less than nothing about the genocide of native peoples, plus they aren’t even considered equal with other racial groups in contemporary American racial problems and dilemmas.

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  • Steve LaBonne

    We will not even begin to build a decent society until we are willing to acknowledge that this country was founded on slavery and genocide, and that white Americans- no matter when our ancestors came here- continue to benefit from a legacy of enormous privilege with roots firmly planted in those murderous origins, and have a resulting moral obligation to work for justice. No, I’m not holding my breath.

    • AMK

      The perverse irony is that most of us don’t learn about this in any detail in large part because it was such a smashing success (plus smallpox, which was of course actively promoted by the authorities). What percent of California’s population today is Native American? 0.001? Even conservatives have to at least publicly acknowledge black slavery because there are still lots of black people around to force the issue.

      I see John T made similar point above.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        The perverse irony is that most of us don’t learn about this in any detail in large part because it was such a smashing success (plus smallpox, which was of course actively promoted by the authorities). What percent of California’s population today is Native American? 0.001?

        I found this over at Jimmy Wales’ Avalanche of Facts:

        1.9% Native American and Alaska Native (723,225)(1.0% single-race Native American and Alaska Native)Cherokee 92,246; Mexican American 66,424; Apache 24,799; Choctaw 23,403; Navajo 17,080

        • DrDick

          California actually has the largest Native American population in the country, followed by Oklahoma (the two state jocky back and forth for 1 & 2), despite the low percentages. Most of that is a result of the federal Indian Relocation Program in the 1950s-1960s, as evidenced by the large numbers of Cherokee, Apache, Choctaw, and Navajo there.

          • delazeur

            Sure, but it’s also the most populous state.

            • BiloSagdiyev

              Yep. The same section of the wikipedia I got that from pointe dout that it has 22M white people, the largest number of any state. This fits in with Prof. Anne Elk’s theory that “California is large.”

              Thanks for the link, Dr. Dick. I had only recently learned about Native Americans moving west to LA and the like in the mid-20th century, but didn’t know there was a weasel deal by Uncle Sam trying to push it.

      • Thom

        Very low in percentage terms, but not that low, a bit less than 1%. But the largest native population in the US.

    • econoclast

      I think this doesn’t work. If you make people own the crimes of the past, then most of them will decide that the crimes of the past weren’t so bad. You see this effect in the South where people want to downplay the badness of slavery, because they view themselves as the heirs of the slave-holders.

      The only workable view of history is that of Stephen Dedelus: “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake”.

      • Steve LaBonne

        On the other hand, truth and reconciliation kinda doesn’t work without the truth part.

        • econoclast

          I think it works when the actual perpetrators are still alive. Germany came to grips with its past with the children of the actual Nazi generation. Truth and reconciliation in South Africa happened almost immediately after apartheid. In that case, you can target the actual literal criminals.

    • LeeEsq

      Good luck with this. First, your assuming that there is a universal definition of a decent that all Americans or even all humans could agree upon. We are generally in agreement on this blog on what might constitute a decent society but we can get into epic fights on some of the finer details, see any thread on housing, education, etc. What is one person’s decent and just society is incredibly indecent and unjust to other people.

      I’m also still unconvinced that aggressive truth-telling is going to have the effect that its supporters think it will have. At least speaking from the Jewish experiencing, continually pointing out the rank Jew-hatred in Christian and Muslims societies has drawn more cynicism than sympathy from a lot of people. People really don’t seem to operate the way aggressive truth-tellers want them to.

      • Linnaeus

        Social progress doesn’t always come as fast as many of us would like, but I have a hard time seeing how you make any progress at all without acknowledgement and understanding of the social realities in which people live and the origins of those realities. Not everyone will be willing to take that step and even among those who are, there will always be disputes about what, if anything, should be done. Truth-telling, “aggressive” or otherwise, is an essential component to doing anything at all. I don’t see how you get around that.

        • LeeEsq

          I agree that you need to acknowledge and understand social realities for social progress to take place. What I don’t think works is a type of truth-telling that resembles an Arch-Conservative Clergy yelling at his congregation about how damned they are because of the sins of sex, drink, dance, and other vices. It does work for some people but you need a particular mindset for you to work. Most people don’t have this mindset and most likely never will.

          Most people are patriotic to one degree or another. Americans are particular prone towards patriotism. I don’t think a type of aggressive truth telling that is based on the idea that the origins of America are pure evil and there is nothing in the American past before the abolition of slavery to feel particularly proud about is going to be a working political strategy.

          This past July 4th Vox had a good article on why not seeing the American Revolution as something to celebrate is a mistake for liberals. It isn’t exactly accurate and most Americans are going to take pride in the American Revolution regardless of what left-leaning intellectuals think. I think the same principles are at work here with this sort of approach to history. There were many immoral and evil acts involved in both the initial English settlements and the westward expansion of the United States. Most Americans could admit this. What they can not and will not go for is the idea that entire enterprise itself was pure evil that should have never happened. You can jump up and down and bring up all the evidence you want. It won’t change.

          • The Dark God of Time

            “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth will set ye free.”

            • LeeEsq

              For certain definitions of freedom. Your assuming that we can come to a universal decision on what the truth is and that when we do everybody is going to want the same thing. There are seven billion people in the world and nearly as many ways as looking at the world.

            • liberalrob

              “I want the truth!”
              “You can’t handle the truth!”

          • Linnaeus

            There’s a whole lot of poison being thrown into the well here.

            This:

            I don’t think a type of aggressive truth telling that is based on the idea that the origins of America are pure evil and there is nothing in the American past before the abolition of slavery to feel particularly proud about is going to be a working political strategy.

            is not an attitude characteristic of American historiography or of US history instruction at any level that I am aware of (and I am familiar with both as a teacher and tutor of US history myself). Yes, in a country as large and as diverse as the US, you will be able to dig up someone somewhere who looks at the development of the US through this lens, but such people are not nearly as common as some folks (especially on the right) would have us believe.

            To enlarge both the kind and scope of narratives of US history (with proper evidence and argument, of course) is a healthy thing, and doing so will necessarily involve telling stories that elucidate the crimes and atrocities Americans committed while building their nation. We shouldn’t cater to those who would find any critical examination of the nation’s past as making the US to be “pure evil” just because a relative few might see the US in that light.

            • LeeEsq

              It is not but as far as I can tell it is close to what certain people on this blog and elsewhere are advocating. These sort of opinion is most likely a necessary corrective to the patriotic, positive school of American history that is dominant and certainly American public schools can do a lot better with teaching the negative aspects of American history.

              • liberalrob

                certain people on this blog and elsewhere

                Name 3?

                This accusation (“you libtards think America is evil!”) sticks in my craw. I don’t know anyone who goes around saying that. Some Americans are evil, and too many of those seem to achieve positions of power; America is a concept, and as far as I can tell generally well-intentioned.

    • NewishLawyer

      There also seems to be a point where emotional fatigue sets in. This is not unique to Americans. Isn’t there a standard response among young Germans asking why they need to here and learn about Nazism and the Holocaust over and over again? Does this carry to other European nations with long histories of anti-Semitism and very small Jewish populations because of that anti-Semitism?

      • Steve LaBonne

        Not sure how Americans can be emotionally fatigued with things few of us have even begun to acknowledge.

        • LeeEsq

          I have a German friend who is about ten years older than I am. This means that she was born about a generation or a generation and half after World War II ended. She complained about having to learn too much about the sins of the Nazi era during gymnasium and having to feel bad about German history. She is also LGBT so its not like she would have been alright if she lived during that time period. I really think that liberal-left people overestimate the ability of aggressive truth-telling to achieve the goals they want or how resistant people are to it.

          • The Dark God of Time

            I think anecdotal evidence is shit for proving a point.

            • anapestic

              I’m not sure what the alternative here is. You can’t really do a controlled study of the effects of aggressive truth-telling.

              • LeeEsq

                I agree with Dark God that anecdotal evidence is individually worthless so my friend might not be indicative of anything. Anecdotal evidence in the aggregate is not worthless though. Observation leads me to believe that emotional fatigue is going to be the more common response to aggressive truth telling than anything else.

                • Bill Murray

                  Conformation bias is also very common, especially when one thinks observation leads one to believe something

              • xq

                I don’t see why not; people do experiments like that all the time (though you can always question generality).

                Here’s a random example I found: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00131910701254858?src=recsys

            • so-in-so

              Proof or discussion? Also, I guess that’s why nobody does oral history…

          • Murc

            She complained about having to learn too much about the sins of the Nazi era during gymnasium and having to feel bad about German history.

            Unfortunately, it seems like a lot of people (and I include myself in this) have a real problem with “you should feel bad about the parts of your history that are worth feeling bad about, and good about the parts of it that are worth feeling good about.” Doing both of those things at the same time is hard. Especially because we have a tendency, I think, to consider abstractions like nation-states and societies the same way we consider people, where their qualities and history aren’t indivisible.

            Like, if a person commits genocide, it is hard to also celebrate any good countries they might or might not possess no matter how long ago their crimes were, but you sort of have to do that with nation-states and societies, otherwise you’ll just come to the conclusion that everything should be burnt down because it is all irredeemably tainted.

            • LeeEsq

              If you are far enough to the Left on the political spectrum than there is literally nothing to celebrate about the past. There are people who believe that everything should be burnt down because it is all irredeemably tainted.

              You also have many instances when the good and bad in history are so closely intertwined that untangling them is impossible. Westward expansion or even the initial settlement of the Americas by Europeans are clear examples of this. Most Americans celebrate both but they are based on wars of conquest, genocide, land theft, and chicanery.

              Finally, deciding what is good to celebrate is also a value judgment that depends on your beliefs. There are things that I’d view as worthy of celebration like the Zionist movement or the founding of Israel that hundreds of millions of other people see as unmitigated evil.

              • Jonny Scrum-half

                For me, the problem is that those on the “right” demand “patriotism” in the sense of “my country right or wrong,” and those on the extreme left, as you note, find nothing to celebrate. I don’t know why we have to have strong feelings either way – the facts are the facts, and I fail to see why I should feel either good or bad about things that I didn’t do (and in fact none of my ancestors did, since my family immigrated in the early 1900s).

                • LeeEsq

                  This is more or less how I see it. I do think that White Americans have benefited enormously from racism against African Americans and Native Americans even if their ancestors arrived after the end of the Civil War and Westward expansion. They shouldn’t necessarily feel bad about it but they should acknowledge it and shouldn’t fight against programs to remedy past discrimination either.

                • LeeEsq

                  The Left also finds some things to celebrate. Erik posted things to celebrate on this blog several times. You really need to go out far to find Leftists that literally find nothing to celebrate. Its just that much of what many people like to celebrate, including many liberal people, the Left sees nothing to celebrate in like the American Revolution or the pioneers.

                • Pat

                  Jonny, your ancestors might not have committed crimes against Native Americans or owned slaves, but if your family was present in the US in 1920-1960 you certainly benefited from the differential wealth distribution during that era, which advantaged whites over other ethnic groups.

                  I think it would be better if history was taught more completely. I think identifying and rectifying systemic racism, like redlining for bank loans or differences in schools, is really important.

            • so-in-so

              Missing any evidence that what replaces that which burned will be better. Or that the process of burning it down won’t be as terrible as the earlier crimes.

              • Bill Murray

                also, continuing on with the unacknowledged bad policies has a great track record

              • LeeEsq

                The Khmer Rogue was the most explicit attempt to burn it all down and start again in human history and we all know how that turned out.

                • Colin Day

                  We? I suspect a large percentage of Americans have never even heard of the Khmer Rouge.

                • LeeEsq

                  We referred to the commentators on this blog. But your right, most people are very unaware of even the sort of ultra-patriotic history we criticize. Most people do not care.

                • We? I suspect a large percentage of Americans have never even heard of the Khmer Rouge.

                  Have they not been paying attention to the mandatory screenings of Swimming to Cambodia? Smash their glasses!!!

                • BiloSagdiyev

                  Spaulding Gray! Martyr for the People! (raise fist)

          • Linnaeus

            There are people in the US who are “tired” of hearing about slavery and racism. Do we stop talking about it?

        • Lee’s and NL’s attitude reflects several decades of Western Jewry’s grappling with attitudes to past anti-semitism and the Holocaust. It is hard for people to abandon ideas about the just way to deal with minorities even when the situations are different. It is also hard, as Murc and CF point out, to avoid at times concluding that some Big, Big Cause is behind all the evils altogether, and can somehow be avoided.

          • Also, and it is not easy to see in a political site like this, but the wish to avoid the Big Evil, for most people, is more likely to result in religious withdrawal and quietism than in acting to effect social change. Some religions encourage social action, but not all, and most have a relatively narrow view about what kind of change is desirable, when you come down to it.

            • LeeEsq

              This is how I see it. There seems to be an assumption that aggressive truth telling will always lead to the result that we want it to. There isn’t any good evidence to support that. When confronted with Big Evil, its just as possible to decide you can’t do anything about it and go on with your life or to treat into a sheltered community trying to keep the world at bay.

              The basic idea with this aggressive truth telling seems to be that if you do it long enough and hard enough that the oppressor en mass will come to sudden realization of all the past evil done against the oppressed and pass all the necessary leftist laws, policies, and programs to create the just society. I don’t really see any evidence of that happening.

              • Ronan

                The problem, as I see it, Lee, is that it’s swapping one morality tale for another. America the great for America the evil. To take your example above, ie your German friends annoyance with an overconcentration on the crimes of the Nazis. To account for how such a “civilised” society (as the story goes) could resort to such barbarism, you also have to account for how that “civilisation”, and all the good that cane with it, developed in the first place. Most of our (global) history is built on some great evil done to us and that we’ve done to others. There’s always a mix of good and bad in it.

    • DrDick

      Exactly, and it goes back to the very foundations of this country and the first English settlements in America, with the genocidal Pequot and Powhattan wars (which was the thanks the settlers gave the Indians for keeping them alive). It is also worth noting that those, along with colonialism, provided the foundations for capitalism.

    • Ronan

      It’s arguable, to say the least, that a “coming to terms with the last” is the best way to get justice in the present (sometimes it is, but it’s a cliche, and often it’s not)

      “no matter when our ancestors came here”

      If white people, regardless of time of immigration, have benefited from the wealth and land stolen from African Americans and native Americans , then so also have non white immigrants, who aren’t in either of those demographics.

      • N__B

        Not if the non-white immigrants have also suffered pervasive racism.

        ETA: And the “if” there is rhetorical. They have.

        • Ronan

          Not If the argument is specifically about the wrongs of slavery and genocide. Suffering “Pervasive racism” (I’m not sure how this is defined) doesn’t negate the fact that they’re still benefiting from not being in these demographics

          • N__B

            The beneficial effects of slavery and genocide are loads of concentrated wealth in the hands of white people. I don’t see how, for example, Mexican immigrants working low-wage service jobs have benefitted.

            • Ronan

              I could say I don’t see how low wage/unemployed Appalachian whites have benefited.

              Edit: btw I don’t think either group has benefited in any meaningful way

              Edit 2: but poor Mexicans are also obviously not the only non white immigrant group to have come to the US in the past half century

              • N__B

                No, but white immigrants – including my grandparents – did.

  • Thom

    And of course growing up in California in the 1960s, we heard nothing about this in school. Indians were only mentioned in the context of the romanticized stories of the missions (pre-American, of course) and in the romanticized story of Ishi, Kroger’s ethnographic subject who was said to be the last of his people.

    By the way, is this a good time to mention that Fremont was the first Republican presidential candidate?

    • joel hanes

      I remember that in 7th-grade history I felt contempt for the Spanish colonizers, because of the way that they enslaved and exploited “their” “Indians”.
      It never occurred to me to wonder what happened to “our” “Indians” — how it was that they so conveniently seemed to have ceased to exist.

      More ob. books:
      _1491_ and _1493_, Charles C. Mann
      _Guns_Germs_And_Steel_, Jared Diamond

      • JustRuss

        I grew up in California, and was thinking the same thing. It was basically “the Spaniards did some cool things, but didn’t treat the Indians as well as they should have”, then Poof!, the Indians disappear from the rest of history.

        I’m not sure 11-year-olds are ready to hear the reality about genocide, but at some point before graduating high school there should be a mandatory “Here’s all the harsh historical shit we didn’t tell you about before, and there’s no Santa Claus” class.

        • J. Otto Pohl

          I don’t see why a class covering the genocide of Native Americans has to deny the existence of Santa Claus.

        • Tyto

          The curriculum you describe has changed. Although many folks are rightly skeptical about the 4th-grade mission curriculum and project, I was surprised to find when helping my son with his project that even the interpretive plaques at the San Gabriel Mission are beginning to acknowledge the role of missions in the destruction of native California culture and populations. As a former archaeologist, I was more sensitive to this than many, and I was surprised about how my ten-year-old engaged that material. But there is some room for optimism. (Even if there is much more room for improvement.)

          • Thom

            I am glad to hear that. But I was just at Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, in Oceanside, and the self-guided museum is absolutely terrible. Beautiful church, though, well worth a visit just to see it.

            ETA: part of the problem with Mission San Luis Rey is that it continues to be a parish church, so very much under the control of the Catholic Church.

        • veleda_k

          My fifth grade class studied the Holocaust. If 10 and 11 year olds can hear about that genocide, I don’t see a reason they couldn’t learn about another.

          • so-in-so

            “Different people, far away” might be easier for them to handle than “It’s why we are here, now and happened all around us”.

    • econoclast

      I grew up on the East Coast, so we learned all about the friendly first contact between Native Americans and Europeans. And then they completely disappeared from the narrative, even though half of every geographical feature still had an Algonquin name. It was like they all sublimated into gas form just before the American Revolution.

      I eventually looked it up on Wikipedia, and it was what you’d expect: land stolen, pushed west, and then eventually shipped to Oklahoma.

      • DrDick

        Actually, there are still a goodly number of the tribe there, including the Pequot, Narraganset (the last native speaker died in 1939), and Powhattan. Most either have a state reservation (established in the colonial era), such as the Shinnecock on Long Island, or no reservation at all and have heavily intermarried with the local black and white populations.

    • Thom

      Oops, mean Kroeber, not Kroger (anthropologist, not supermarket).

    • Colin Day

      I noticed that he only got 18% of California’s popular vote, coming in third behind Buchanan and Fillmore.

      California 1856

      • (((Hogan)))

        Seward knew the Republicans were going down and he didn’t want to get loser stink all over himself, so they ran Fremont instead, because who cares?

  • J. Otto Pohl

    I am curious is there anything new in this book as far as historiographical interpretion? Because while the passage cited may contain new details, the basic outline is nothing that hasn’t been known and written about by scholars for at least 20 years. David Stannard’s American Holocaust came out in 1994. There is certainly value to providing coherent new narratives with new details. But, I am missing what is supposed to be an earth shattering new historical interpretation here.

    • The Dark God of Time

      Of course you miss it, Jotto, since you haven’t read the book, you’re in no position to judge it from one small excerpt.

      • J. Otto Pohl

        I am not judging I am asking since it does not appear in the OP.

        • The Dark God of Time

          You might want to read the review instead of depending on a small excerpt of the book to answer your question:

          Accusations of genocide in California are hardly new. Many historians, anthropologists, and Indian activists have made them, but An American Genocide stands apart for two reasons. First, Madley is interested not just in spectacular crimes, but also in their institutional basis. Second, he doesn’t use the term “genocide” for its shock value; instead, he considers the term carefully before applying it to state and federal policies.

          Missing the forest for the trees again, Jotto.

          • J. Otto Pohl

            None of that is new. I already mentioned Stannard’s 1994 book making that argument. Although lots of liberals don’t like him, Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide did as well in 1997. Those two books came out two decades ago. So I am still failing to see any new historiographical interpretations. The genocide argument is not new at all.

            • The Dark God of Time

              Second, he doesn’t use the term genocide for its shock value; instead he considers the term carefully before applying it to state and federal policy.

              Documenting the appropriateness of the term is new, at least according to the reviewed in question.

              Thanks for demonstrating that at least in one case, the American Stalinist conspiracy got it right.

              • J. Otto Pohl

                It isn’t new. What ever you may think of Churchill his book goes over how US actions against Native Americans fits the 1948 UN Genocide Treaty pretty well. He also does a good job of showing how it fits into the original concept created by Raphael Lemkin.

                • shawn k

                  So once there’s a book or two on a topic there’s no need for more? Holocaust studies stop with Hilberg?

                • J. Otto Pohl

                  Shawn K:

                  I am asking what is new in it as far as interpretation? It doesn’t have to have any new interpretations. It could just be more details supporting the old interpretation of Stannard and Churchill. But, claiming it is the first scholarly book to fit the mass extermination of Native Americans into the genocide framework is simply false.

                • Linnaeus

                  But, claiming it is the first scholarly book to fit the mass extermination of Native Americans into the genocide framework is simply false.

                  Who is making this claim?

                • DrDick

                  It isn’t new. What ever you may think of Churchill his book goes over how US actions against Native Americans fits the 1948 UN Genocide Treaty pretty well.

                  Speaking as an expert on Native North America, you just made his point for him. Churchill makes wild, unsubstantiated claims and is a lousy history know for playing fast and loose with the “facts”.

            • Thom

              Maybe, but I tend to think Richard White is more of an expert in this historiography than any of us.

              • The Dark God of Time

                Are you kidding, Otto knows all about American History Studies than anyone one else in the world. That’s why he’s in Ghana teaching and not Harvard or Yale.

                • J. Otto Pohl
                • The Dark God of Time

                  Sorry, you already lost me with your remark about LGM people being mentally retarded.

                • Sorry, you already lost me with your remark about LGM people being mentally retarded.

                  Your rage, and contempt for Otto, seem to have rendered you incapable of reading clearly.

                • The Dark God of Time

                  Your right, he just accused LGM commentators here of calling others mentally retarded if they aren’t toeing the Marxist line here.

                  My apology.

                • Thom

                  “mentally retarded if they aren’t toeing the Marxist line here”

                  And, it should be noted, this is an invocation of the Marxist line circa 1935.

              • DrDick

                Actually, I am also an expert on the topic, but his point is well taken.

                • Thom

                  Noted, and sorry for the unintended slight.

                • DrDick

                  No offense taken, just pointing out something that might not be known to all.

    • shawn k

      Yes. (1) Stannard gives a broad overview while Hadley looks at a very specific region and time period. (2) The focus allows for a very rich and extremely detailed study. I found the chapters on travel guides and on death squads to be especially fascinating, as was the attention to the way the death squads squabbled with local government over payments. The contrast between the mundane and the gore was quite jarring.

      As important as Stannard’s book remains, Hadley’s seems-at least to me- to be a real advance in the field.

      • J. Otto Pohl

        This is much better than the typical LGM response that anybody that doesn’t support the collectivization of the means of production is mentally retarded.

        • Linnaeus

          Which is not typical of LGM at all, but do go on.

          • DrDick

            In JOtto world, admitting that capitalism is pretty damned brutal and exploitative is the same as “supporting the collectivization of the means of production.”

  • JohnT

    I remember being very surprised about a decade ago when Ezra Klein, in a travel report from Amsterdam, noted he was uncomfortable there because he was in a place where genocide was committed (the murder of the Amsterdam Jews in the Holocaust). I remember thinking at the time ‘Buddy, the only reason you don’t think that all the time at home is because those who came before you there were so much more thorough and successful in their genocide’. America is built on blood at least as much any European nation (certainly more than the Netherlands)

    • J. Otto Pohl

      The Netherlands was extremely brutal up to 1949 (after WWII) in Indonesia and murdered hundreds of thousands of people there in the late 1940s. They are still largely in denial about the atrocities committed there.

      http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14623528.2012.719673?journalCode=cjgr20

      • JohnT

        I am well aware of both that (although the US got up to much the same in the Phillipines and Vietnam) and the enthusiastic Dutch participation in the slave trade. The point was that if you going to be made uncomfortable by physically being in a place ‘drenched in blood’ then on some level Los Angeles should bother you as much as Amsterdam – there is still an Amsterdam Jewish community, but a good number of the original cultures that lived in Klein’s native California are completely extinct, their languages stilled and their ways utterly lost – as per the OP.

      • JohnT

        And additionally, the American genocide is a foundational event for the US in a way that the various crimes committed by and around – for example – the Dutch are not. If the Dutch hadn’t oppressed the Indonesians, sold slaves and been involved (unwillingly) in the Holocaust there would probably still be a country in NW Europe which ethnically and culturally resembled the present one, whereas the obliteration of the original North American population was the sine qua non for the foundation of the present United States. (this is why I would say genocide rather slavery is the orginal sin of the US – there would probably still have been a -very different – USA without slavery, but there could not have been without the elimination of the people who originally lived there).

        • J. Otto Pohl

          Apology for Dutch mass murder noted.

          • JohnT

            It’s not about apologies (those should be the preserve of the actual offenders and the state that supported them). It’s about understanding. Dutch people should understand that the hands of their ancestors are not clean, but Americans need to recalibrate their foundational myths to more properly capture the fact America is built on the back of large scale genocide. As some of our commentors have noted, this is not well covered in history lessons, for example.

            • Zamfir

              You might be underestimating how much the colonial period contributes to the foundation myths of the Netherlands.

              There was an interesting moment some years ago, when the prime minister complained repeatedly that the country had to return to the “VOC-mentality”. The VOC being the corporation that ran the eastern part of the colonial empire.

              He received a lot of pushback at the time, but he didn’t appear to expect such pushback.

              • burritoboy

                Yes, precisely. Like the British (as do the Dutch) still congratulate themselves for being so much more liberal than other nations in the eighteenth century. (And we shouldn’t forget that William III was both the King of England and Stadtholder in the Netherlands simultaneously for a critical period in the late 17th century). But they were more liberal partially because they were richer and had rapidly growing economies, and their economies were growing rapidly partially because of their genocidal policies.

        • DrDick

          They also enslaved the Indians (prior to and along with the importation of of Africans). I am not sure that there actually would be a United States without slavery, as the Southern colonies would have failed. In all likelihood, that would have resulted in an expanded Canada.

    • LeeEsq

      On the other hand, there isn’t much in the way of museums towards Dutch imperialism in what is now Indonesia. Same with the Belgians in the Congo or other European colonial empires accept maybe Britain in the India and South Africa, but no where else for the most part.

      • Thom

        LeeEsq, I am not entirely clear on what you are saying here. Please clarify.

    • Just_Dropping_By

      Uh, you do realize that Klein is Jewish, right? His reaction is because of being in a place where he himself could have been a victim of the genocide. It has nothing to do with the relative degree of thoroughness of the genocide.

      • delazeur

        I’m not sure it’s better to be uncomfortable in a place where genocide was committed against your people while still being comfortable in a place where genocide was committed by your people (treating both Jews and Americans as Klein’s people). There’s at least a little bit of empathy lacking in that scenario.

        • Just_Dropping_By

          I didn’t say it was better. Simply noting that it’s rather absurd to read Klein’s statement as evidence that he’s ignorant of the genocide of Native Americans, which is what JohnT seemed to be suggesting. I’m pretty sure Klein is both aware of the mass killing of Native Americans in North America and would be fine with calling it genocide.

    • DrDick

      Capitalism was built on the same foundations as the US, along with colonialism and the Netherlands has a rather blood soaked history overseas.

  • cpinva

    and notice boys and girls, all these atrocities were/are committed for the sole purpose of enriching those doing the genociding/enslaving, be they individuals/partnerships/corporations/governments. and thus has it ever been. all wars, since ancient antiquity, have at their core, the purpose of enriching the instigators, even those supposedly over religion. I tried to get this point across to my son, the history major. I’m not sure how successful I was.

    • Pat

      Yep. It’s all theft, in the end.

  • Ghostship

    It’s a bit of a tough sell when the founding mythology of the United States is little more than a lie, so good luck with that especially since most Americans seem to believe that all of history is irrelevant unless it’s to do with the glorification of the United States.
    The founders of the United States had seen that the writing was on the wall for slavery and ethnic cleansing/genocide so they claimed they were fighting for liberty when they were some of the freest people on the planet to justify their continuation.

  • Thom

    I have noticed on two visits to Australia, and long friendship with one Australian couple, that leftie Australians are much, much more aware that white settlement is built on the subjugation and genocide against indigenous communities. I suppose this stems from the sharp turn against the white Australia policy in the 1970s, but it is a very striking contrast.

    • delazeur

      Their government has come out quite publicly and apologized. On the other hand, as far as I know all the U.S. government has done is pay out settlements and awards from lawsuits.

  • Joe_JP

    We as a nation have done nothing to deal with this legacy.

    What sort of things should we do?

    We have dealt some with mistreatment of Native Americans including providing some means of redress. They also (unlike blacks, some of whom at times pushed for it in some fashion) have been supplied a special degree of self-government. There also has be some discussion of the brutality against them. Like slavery, too little, but not nothing. For instance, I’m far from surprised about this account — it fits into the general idea of the situation I have though details are important.

    Still, I ask quite honestly. What sorts of things should be done to “deal” with this?

    • JohnT

      Clearer education regarding the foundation of the USA, with a view to eliminating nonsense like ‘America is a City on a hill’ etc. If Americans were, like Germans, obliged to really face up to some of their history, then it might help prevent such exciting episodes as the invasion of Iraq, which was partly undergirded by thoughts along the lines of ‘we Americans, as a historically Good and Noble people are justified in bringing our Goodness and Liberty to Iraq.’ I don’t think you would find post-1950 Germans thinking things along those lines. That is a good thing.

      • CrunchyFrog

        There were two Germanys for a long time after WW2, and while the West made extensive efforts to educate their populace about the horrors of WW 2 (although I was told by those who were born during the war that for the first 10 years or so this was just a topic that was not discussed), the East officially pretended that their history began in 1949. I haven’t been in Germany since 1995, so I’m sure someone here has more recent info, but as of that time there was a clear difference in the attitude of the two populations regarding Germany and its history. Those who grew up in the West had – with exceptions – a strong dislike of war, natural distrust of politicians who advocated war, a sense of duty of the populace to monitor their politicans closely, and a commitment to European Union as a means of long-term peace. Those from the East exhibited none of this and were much, much, much more likely to be angered about immigrants and about all the lands to the east that formerly were part of Germany. There were a few in the West with those attitudes – the proto-Nazis, alas – but in very small numbers.

        So, that kind of education is a really good thing.

        • LeeEsq

          I know people who grew up in West and East Germany and this is entirely accurate. The official line of Communist East Germany was that because we were all good Communists, we bear no fault for anything that the Nazis did. It was those Capitalist Christians in West Germany that bear fault. You can see this in how politics play out. The German Far Right does its best in the former East Germany and not in the West Germany.

        • delazeur

          the East officially pretended that their history began in 1949

          You know more about it than I do, but I have a hard time accepting that a Soviet puppet government wouldn’t criticize the Nazis.

          • CrunchyFrog

            LeeEsq is right. They did criticize the Nazis as being linked to capitalism, and that was it. No teaching about what actually happened. Certainly no “these horrors were done by our country in our name and here’s what we have to do to avoid it” kind of teachings.

            When I arrived in West Germany in 1987 they had the usual kind of PSA (public service announcements for you youngsters – still common in most countries but killed off by Reagan at the same time as the Fairness Doctrine – the theory was that in exchange for the public broadcast license the broadcaster had a social obligation to use the medium for public service announcements, and that was embedded into law). But they also had a lot of PSAs that directly countered the creeping apologists for Hitler – as in “but he did build the autobahn, so he wasn’t all bad” kind of crap.

            In the east – silence.

            • Just_Dropping_By

              PSA (public service announcements for you youngsters – still common in most countries but killed off by Reagan at the same time as the Fairness Doctrine

              Wow, have you notified the people at the Public Service Advertising Research Center about your amazing and previously unknown historical discovery? Because there’s nothing about Reagan killing PSAs in their history of the subject (http://www.psaresearch.com/bib9830.htm) and, in fact, PSAs continue to be broadcast to this day on network television. The More You Know!(tm) (http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/the-more-you-know)

              • CrunchyFrog

                Let’s try again, Mr. Snotty Tone.

                http://current.org/1998/12/the-public-interest-standard-in-television-broadcasting/

                The PSAs you see today are NOTHING like what was broadcast pre-Reagan, or like what still exists in Western Europe.

                During the 1980s, the FCC’s vision of the public interest standard — and how to achieve diverse programming — underwent a significant change. As new media industries arose and a new set of FCC Commissioners took office, the FCC made a major policy shift by adopting a marketplace approach to public interest goals.(33) In essence, the FCC held that competition would adequately serve public needs and that federally mandated obligations were both too vague to be enforced properly and too much of a threat to broadcasters’ First Amendment rights.(34) Many citizen groups argued that the new policy was tantamount to abandoning the public interest mandate entirely.

                Pursuant to its marketplace approach, the FCC embarked on a sweeping program of deregulation, eliminating a number of long-standing rules designed to promote program diversity, localism, and compliance with public interest standards. These rules included requirements to maintain program logs, limit advertising time, air minimum amounts of public affairs programming, and formally ascertain community needs.(35) The license renewal process — historically, the time at which a station’s public interest performance is formally evaluated — was shortened and made virtually automatic through a so-called “postcard renewal” process.(36) The FCC also abolished most elements of the Fairness Doctrine, which had long functioned as the centerpiece of the public interest standard.(37)

                Since I worked in radio for part of my minimum wage career I was aware of the copious work required to document PSA broadcasts in preparation for license renewal applications. The above quote provides only an overview, but one key element that is only hinted at is that PSAs went from something that had to meet FCC approval as a certified PSA to something that the broadcaster could decide was a PSA. Your own quoted source – PSA Research, mentions this in some of their articles. In the old days a non-profit or a government agency could spend money on creating a PSA on, say, smoking cessation or good driving practices, get FCC approval, and it would be put into broadcast rotation more or less automatically. Now the PSA provider has to beg to be included, and more often than not what is broadcast under the guise of “PSA” has more than a hint of political or otherwise agenda. Furthermore, guidelines used to require PSAs to be broadcast at all times, not just advertising dead zones. That’s long gone.

                I go back to my main point – the kind of PSA that existed in Germany at the time I referenced, and existing in the USA prior to Reagan’s FCC changes, no longer exists in the US.

      • Joe_JP

        Okay. But, children are being taught about the complexities of our history. They are not simply getting a whitewashed version of it though I’m sure more can be done and horror stories can be cited. We were taught about slavery etc. and still had the invasion of Iraq.

      • LWA

        “Shining City on a hill”;
        The most destructive myth of American history is the idea that America somehow escaped history, that we are different than Europeans and Asians and Africans.

        It allows us, like smug religious zealots to pretend that evil doesn’t have any power here, that we have solved the problems of cooperation and interaction between different people that have bedeviled humanity since forever.

        That view slides easily into the notion that our culture is somehow the default of humanity, the norm by which all others are judged.
        I think its better to accept that our history and culture is really just one of many, no better or worse than others.

        • Steve LaBonne

          Exactly. The “American exceptionalism” nonsense has to go. Only then can we begin to move past our perpetual obnoxious adolescence as a nation, which ill befits one of the older countries on Earth in terms of continuity of political institutions.

          • How far would you go with that? I worry it plays into the anti-enlightenment aspects of the alt-right. If that’s not what people on the left mean, I do wish they would be clearer.

            • so-in-so

              “American exceptionalism” is fine as an aspiration, as long as we stop pretending we achieved the goal.
              “This is what we would like to be, and these are some examples of where we have failed, so let’s do better.” would probably be workable.

              • Steve LaBonne

                I’m totally down with that- it’s a rhetorical strategy, calling us to be true to our highest aspirations, that has been used very effectively by MLK among others. But in practice talk of “American exceptionalism” is almost always just code for “We’re #1!”

              • dn

                Which, incidentally, is basically what “city on a hill” meant in the John Winthrop original which Reagan misquoted. Winthrop’s actual message was “God and the whole world are watching you, you can’t run or hide, and if you fuck this up you will become a story told to scare little kids onto the straight and narrow.”

                • Steve LaBonne

                  But in the long run the “whole world is watching” mentality has itself proven harmful. We are a country like other countries with a history like other histories. We need to grow up and get over ourselves.

            • LWA

              I don’t know why it would play into the alt-right, unless one believed that American exceptionalism somehow binds us to the Enlightenment, anymore than Christian salvation binds adherents to the principles of pacifism.

              The notion that America must be either the very best or the very worst is the adolescent view of things, where regardless of which point you take, America is still the axis upon which human history turns.

              A more adult view would be to embrace the things that genuinely mark America as an improvement, but also embrace the contributions of other cultures, and acknowledge that we still, to this very day, struggle with cooperating with other cultures.

      • Colin Day

        Of course we’re a City on a Hill. The elevation provides an advantage in attacking our enemies.

        • so-in-so

          Also avoiding the flooding from climate change.

          Which we refuse to admit exists.

    • DrDick

      This actually rather grossly misrepresents the status of Native Americans. We have done almost nothing to redress the harms done to Native Americans, and that very poorly (compensation at mils on the dollar). Nor did we “provide” them with self-government. Rather, we belatedly (in 1836) recognized the legitimacy of the existing Native political entities, while systematically diminishing and stripping away their power and sovereignty. Did you know that tribal police and courts have no jurisdiction over non-Indians (Oliphant v Suquamish Tribe).

      • delazeur

        It’s definitely a crock of shit, but I think the point is that it is still better than most genocide victims get.

        • DrDick

          I don’t know, the state of Israel seems rather a better deal.

          • delazeur

            Yes, I suppose Israel would the the Gold Standard. If we ignore how it effects anyone else, at least.

  • CrunchyFrog

    Genocider Fremont has, not surprisingly, a lot of stuff named after him. Notably Fremont, California. Now part of me thinks that there should be a movement to rename this city. The other part of me, however, thinks that there is some delicious irony that today the city population is mostly Asian and a large part of what is left of the white population is Afghan and Hispanic.

  • LWA

    Raising historical awareness is important, but more important is what we do with it, and how we view it and how it shapes our behavior going forward.

    If the awareness is simply allowed to become an assault or weapon of attack, it isn’t going to do any good.

    We see this in religious circles, where sin and guilt are carefully shaped and edited to point only in directions that make the dominant crowd comfortable.

    Just “feeling guilty” or bad doesn’t help either; we’ve seen how self-flagellation becomes an excuse for smugness, and a way of evading actual work of reconciliation.

    • Steve LaBonne

      It’s not about feeling “bad”, it’s about feeling responsible. Responsible for building a more just society and devoting serious resources to improving the lives of those who have gotten the shitty end of the stick throughout our history. If that’s too much to ask of us then I fail to see what’s so “great” about us.

  • dm

    Everyone here has been talking about the genocide of indigenous people like it is a relic from the past. It continues to this day. First nations in the US still have dangerous and poisonous extraction industries destroying their lands. But the US doesn’t stop at its own borders …. the empire continues its genocidal policies elsewhere. That’s what he fights in Honduras are all about. That’s why Berta Caceres was assassinated. On average three environmentalists lose their lives each week in disputes over mining, logging, agriculture development, and hydropower projects all over the world, And those people are just the ones we actually hear about. And it has to be pointed out that the US is funding the slow genocide of the Palestinian people.

    • Steve LaBonne

      And these are the things that we will refuse to see and halt as long as we keep patting ourselves on the back about being a “shining city on a hill”.

    • delazeur

      First nations in the US still have dangerous and poisonous extraction industries destroying their lands.

      It pisses me off when white social activists and environmentalists paint resource extraction on indigenous lands as exploitation. Those programs are controversial within Native communities, meaning that a significant fraction of Natives actually want them.

      • dm

        The appropriation and destruction of Indian land continues to this very day. And of course by its nature, hegemony will always be a problem. The problem with extractive industries is they operate as if they are in a third world nation: they remove the wealth and leave the expenses behind. This is systemic genocide because it leaves the land poisoned and steals away a people’s future. Most native people are strongly against this kind of thing but this issue is simply not reported in main stream media. You have to go to sources like http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/ to find out just how much resistance and activism there is. Someone somewhere is dying trying to to protect their land as I type this. So get pissy if you want but for these people it is a matter of their own people’s survival.

        • delazeur

          The problem with extractive industries is they operate as if they are in a third world nation: they remove the wealth and leave the expenses behind.

          Counterexample: the North Slope Borough has extensive power to tax oil production, and it is not uncommon to see oil companies make commitments to hire local residents or tribal members for certain jobs.

          I don’t disagree that there is opposition to extraction within Native communities; my point is that there are people in those communities who support it and white environmentalists have no business trying to create an image of exploitation in order to achieve their own goals. That in itself is an exploitation of stereotypes about Natives (for example, this).

          If you are Native, you have every right to fight resource extraction on Native land and to present your views as a Native perspective. If you are white, fuck off.

          • DrDick

            This however ignores the very real issues of power and coercion in these situations. Native people have every right to make their own decisions, but no one should pretend that they do so on an equal footing with the corporations or state and federal governments.

            • delazeur

              Somehow I think we can find a way to talk about that coercion without invoking the white savior complex.

              • DrDick

                Which nobody other than you has actually done.

                • delazeur

                  I mentioned that it was something people do that irritates me. You are the one who said that wanting money is an invalid reason for a Native person to want resource extraction on their land.

      • DrDick

        No, a significant fraction of Natives want the money from them. There is a difference.

        • delazeur

          So we should stand in judgement of whether their motives are sufficiently pure?

          • (((Hogan)))

            Maybe we could stand in judgment of whether they should have better options.

            • delazeur

              I certainly agree that they should have better options, but that’s not my point:

              It is wrong for white people to say that Natives, as a whole, oppose resource extraction. It is wrong for white people to say that it doesn’t count if Natives only support resource extraction because they will get money from it. It is wrong for white people to speak for Natives or to say that we know what’s best for Natives, especially when the goal (stopping resource extraction to protect the environment) is a goal selected by white people and is not genuinely undertaken with the aim of helping Natives.

              Also note that I am not saying that resource extraction is a good thing or that stopping resource extraction to protect the environment is not a worthy goal.

              • DrDick

                It is worth noting that Native People have often had fairly little control over this and were not given full information. Native people have the right to make their own decisions and I certainly do not judge them for that, but it is important to understand the inherent coercion in many such decisions.

            • DrDick

              Which would actually have been my point.

  • NorthernInvader

    We don’t learn much of what we did here in Canada to our First Nations people either. While not as outwardly genocidal we herded them into reservations and let smallpox and other diseases do the job for us.Later in the 1950s/60s we put their children in residential schools where we eliminated their native languages and destroyed their culture. Elsewhere in the 60s we uprooted entire Inuit communities on made up pretenses and moved them South where they could not maintain heir way of life and so many died of white man’s diseases (alcoholism, diabetes,suicide.) We have of late only begun to publicize what went on and apologize for it. We’re good at saying sorry, not so good at not f^&cking up in the first place.

    • so-in-so

      There’s the rub; most countries aren’t good at the not doing stupid/horrible shit part. The number who actually say “oops, sorry” afterward is smaller, and the ones who actually find a way to make it up, or at least ameliorate the problems going forward are – non-existent?

      • NorthernInvader

        non-existant I’d say – the pressure is on here though and we are trying. Having Trudeau in office is making it easier I think. Institutional racism towards the First Nations is baked right in and will take time to remove, if the will is there.

        In the US a lot of FN members re starting to run for office so that could make a difference there but again – there is a long history to overcome.

      • Ahuitzotl

        most countries aren’t good at the not doing stupid/horrible shit part.

        not true! you havent counted up all the stupid/horrible shit they have chosen* not to do

        *or forgotten

  • PJ

    The fact that a part of our nation still thinks of the Civil War as the “War of Northern Aggression” doesn’t speak well of our children learning any kind of coherent, justice-oriented history about their own nation, much less how it deals with sovereign nations.

    A lot of this country’s ignorance/folly can be laid at the feet of indifferent to bad education in local, national, and world history in early and secondary schooling.

  • Kevin 147

    You living now are not responsible for past crimes.
    If your Catholic, you personally did not plunder the new world.
    If your white, you personally did not kill anyone, black, indian or other.
    Stop assuming the scapegoat of the liberal unstable mind.

    White Irish were slaves, and were target of genocidal Brits.
    White people were sold into slavery in Africa.
    Indians killed indians also .. ruthlessly.
    Muslims sold Africans into slavery. Muslims still sell slaves today.
    Also .. in the scale of time there are no natives anywhere.
    The oldest mummy remains in N. America .. are white, see Spirit Cave Mummy.
    Stop falling for scapegoating of collective guilt.
    You and your skin are not responsible.
    The collective is using empathy as a weapon against you.
    If you want to scapegoat .. strip the Church, the Crown and every Country on earth of its spoils.

    Get your head out of your sorry ass and fight for today, for your families future. Stop being a sorry ass scapegoat with the hook in your empathetic mouth.

    • Steve LaBonne

      It’s psychologically interesting that privilege-clinging idiots like you are fixated on the notion of guilt. As I noted above, what’s called for is consciousness and a sense of history and of responsibiliy, very different things from guilt.

      • Ahuitzotl

        I’m almost as bothered by the demonstrated semiliteracy, to be honest. Stupid of me, I know

  • LFC

    My apologies if someone has already mentioned this, but clicking through to The Nation review via the link at the top of Erik’s post, I find the title of the book and the author’s name, but no publisher listed, no date of publication, no price, no number of pages.

    This is ridiculous. One shouldn’t have to click on another link to get this information: it should be right there in the review, right alongside the title and author.

    I don’t know when The Nation started doing this with its online reviews, but it is very annoying.

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