Torture And Genocide, An American Tradition

Posted on Monday, September 27 at 11:40 by Janis Schmidt
America was founded on the blood, torture, and genocide of MILLIONS!! of Indians! America was founded on theft of Indian lands, deception, fraud, and dishonesty. Why does this newly discovered round of tortures perpetuated by Americans on their helpless victims, the Iraqis, come as such a surprise? My friend, Lucy Bull Bear, full blood Lakota Sioux from the Pine Ridge Reservation wanted me to tell you that "We don't know why it is such a surprise to you white people that Americans enjoy depraved killings and torture. At the Smithsonian they have the skulls and bones of our chiefs and head men, along with women and children. They used to cut off the heads and send them East to discover our secret, our spirituality, our sixth sense. They couldn't discover it, but they put the bones in a drawer in the Smithsonian. For a fee, you can go in and look at the bones, like a dinosaur. "Who are you to say you are so shocked by one beheading? And a set-up at that. How many millions (MILLIONS) of Indians were murdered so that you could inhabit this land? "This Skull and Bones secret society that your political leaders partake of. Who do you think are those skull and bones that they take out and mock in a ghoulish ritual? None other than Geronamo. Not that we would want any part of him, but how would you feel if we beheaded your precious Bush, and conducted some outlandish ceremony with his bones that we would hand down from generation to generation? Your leaders conduct this debauchery all the time and really think they are something, like they are still trying to steal the power of a great man. "What a bunch of simpletons you are! Yes, our leaders, Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Geronamo, they all had power. They kind of power that you will never have, cannot steal, and will never understand. "Who are you to say you are shocked by the recent round of tortures of the innocent Iraqis? We Lakotas pray for them, because we know what they are going through because that is how our ancestors were treated.” Kinda makes Hitler look like a boy scout, doesn’t it? There’s a great, big dirty rug that America has been shoving this huge pile of crap under for the past 500 years. This is just a tiny tip of the iceberg. Take for example, the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890. We all learned in school that this was a battle, part of the Indian wars. That over 300 unarmed Lakotas; men, women and children, were murdered was never a part of U.S. history. We were not told how the governor of South Dakota armed the ranchers and settlers who then formed vigilante groups who routinely raided Indian camps, killing Indians, while the Interior Department was busy giving reservation land away to settlers under the Homestead Act. Indians were labeled as uncivilized savages and hostiles, much like Iraqis are called terrorists and insurgents. What was the thinking of the average American at this time? It could be summed up in the words of L. Frank Baum, editor of South Dakota’s Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer newspaper, and author of The Wizard of Oz, who, juat a week prior to the slaughter a Wounded Knee, advocated the extermination of all America’s Indians. He said: “The nobility of the Redskin is extinguished and what few are left are a pack of whining curs who lick the hand that smites them. The whites by law of conquest, by justice of civilization, are masters of the American continent, and the best safety of the frontier settlements will be secured by the total annihilation of the few remaining Indians. Why not annihilation? Their glory has fled, their spirit broken, their manhood effaced, better they should die than live the miserable wretches that they are.” I think this attitude has not changed from the very beginning. The anglo-Europeons have always had a superiority complex. Just look at what Americans are doing in the Middle East to the Arabs. The ones they don’t kill, they torture them. That certainly seems to be the American way of doing things. Baum and Bush have a lot in common, except Baum was more honest. One week later, after Baum made his outrageous statement, the U.S. military, under orders, opened fire on over 300 Lakotas, killing most of them. These were the Lakotas of Big Foot’s band. The place was called Wounded Knee. A Lakota by the name of Running Horse spoke about the slaughter. “They turned their guns, Hotchkiss guns upon the women who were in the lodges standing there under a flag of truce, and of course as soon as they were fired upon, they fled….There was a women with an infant in her arms who was killed as she almost touched the flag of truce, and the women and children were strewn all along the circular village until they were dispatched. Right near the flag of truce, a mother was shot down with her infant; the child not knowing that it’s mother was dead was still nursing, and that especially was a very sad sight. The women, as they were fleeing with their babies , were killed together, shot right through, and the women who were heavy with child were also killed….After most of them had been killed , a cry was made that all those who were not killed or wounded should come forth and they would be safe. Little boys who were not wounded came out of their places of refuge, and as soon as they came in sight, a number of soldiers surrounded them and butchered them there… Of course it would have been all right if only the men were killed; we would feel almost grateful for it. But the fact of the killing of the women and more especially of the young boys and girls who are to go to make up the future of the Indian people, is the saddest part of the whole affair and we feel it very sorely.” Today, America is looking with shock and awe at the tortures and murders taking place in Abu Ghraib prison, as American soldiers and American mercenaries torture and degrade the Iraqis, who never did anything to even threaten one American. And Americans are dumbfounded as to how this could happen when America is there in Iraq to demonstrate the meaning of human rights in a democratic way. I think the examination should start right in our own back yard. What is happening to prisoners right here in American. How many detainees do we have in our prisons? How many prisoners are Native American, innocent men like Leonard Peltier and Arlo Looking Cloud? What kinds of abuses are going on behind prison walls? There is nothing to learn from the past because the truth of the past has been shoved under a huge dirty rug. What can I say? I think we should make Abu Ghraib a national holiday, celebrated kind of like Halloween or Columbus Day, except that Americans would be permitted to commit sexual depredations on each other, abuse each other, torture their neighbor, all with out fear of reprisal All done with total abandonment and with merriment. Think of all the jobs created by the new factories producing instruments of torture. There would be a law, of course, that no one could be prosecuted for any obscene or pernicious act committed on that day. Maybe it could be expanded to become some type of national sport. And everyone could run around with panties on their heads. It could be bigger than Christmas. Having killed off most the Native Americans by 1890, and forced the rest into concentration camps, the US decided it was time to finish the job. This is very similar to the sanctions the US imposed on Iraq for 12 years, that so crippled that nation, that even Luxembourg could have invaded and defeated Iraq, not that they had any desire to do so. The US stripped the Lakotas of their weapons, horses, food, and even their culture and then went in for the final assault. According to Brigadier General L. W. Colby in command of The Nebraska National Guard which was sent to defend the Nebraska border at this time, “On November 19th, the telegraph dispatches contained rumors of fighting. [There was no fighting, not in the past 10 years] On the 20th, [1890] some of the newspapers had reports of an important battle with the Indians, the sole function of which, however, was the imaginative brain of the reporter. General Brooke immediately left Omaha for the Pine Ridge Agency, taking command in person.” “On November 27th, General Colby continued, “there was an issue of beef to the Indians at Pine Ridge. The issue was made to about 2,600 Indians. The steers were all lean and in poor condition. Twelve hundred soldiers were moved in near the agency, and four guns were planted in a position to command the main avenues of approach to the agency, during the afternoon of the same day.” Elaine Goodale Eastman, Supervisor of Education in the two Dakotas at that time, said, “The large Oglala boarding school became a virtual prison, the doors were kept locked by day as well as by nights and the ground, surrounded by a high fence of barbed wire, constantly patrolled by armed guards. These boys and girls were held partly as hostages for the good behavior of their parents.” The U.S. government used the Ghost Dance as an excuse to massacre the Lakotas and steal their land and resources. Today, the U.S. government uses terrorists as an excuse to murder thousands of innocent Afghan and Iraqis to steal their oil, and subjugate the population by imposing the new BIA, Bureau of Iraqi Affairs, upon the hapless people. Dr. Sally Wagner, who testified at the Wounded Knee hearings, said, “On December 15, what they all feared became reality. Sitting Bull was killed, in what General Colby, characterized as a “gentleman’s agreement” to assassinate him.” This is what Colby wrote, “understanding between the officers of the Indian and military departments that it would be impossible to bring Sitting Butt to Standing Rock alive, and even if successfully captured, it would be difficult to tell what to do with him. It is therefore believed that there was a tacit arrangement between the commanding officers and the Indian police, that the death of the famous old Medicine man was much preferred to his capture, and that the slightest attempt to rescue him should be the signal for his destruction.” The U.S. is applying this same kind of justice in Iraq, kill off all the leaders, install a puppet government, coerce and torture dissenters, starve and subjugate the people. Now that’s what America calls liberating Iraq, to bring them freedom and democracy. I can understand the Bush cartel and the diabolical corporations he represents, murdering and torturing with total abandonment in order to dominate the Middle East and to gobble up all the oil; what I can’t understand is millions of Americans who cowardly hide behind their jobs or fears or insecurities rather than lift their voices in protest. I would just like to ask, who is holding a gun to your head that you can’t even utter a word of protest at this great obscenity committed in your name. But the Lakotas were not turbulent and violent in 1890. They were disarmed prisoners of war stuck in concentration camps, stripped of everything that made life beautiful for them, stripped of their land, their freedom, their way of life, their self-sufficiency, their children, their health, their pride, their culture, and much more. It’s a dagger to the heart to think of what all these people endured. At the beginning of the 17th century, they numbered in the millions. Now, on the Pine Ridge, there were only 2600 Lakotas left. The diabolical plan was to eliminate the Indians, wipe them off the face of the earth, and then lie about the reasons for doing so. So what do Indians really want? The same thing Iraqis want. They want you to stop lying about the past. They would like you to get out of their life, live up to Treaty obligations, do not steal any more land. I have heard all kinds of ridiculous reasons for why we need to stay the course in Iraq, like (1) We need to finish the job we started, (2) we need to bring democracy to Iraq, (3) we need to stabilize the region, and so on. It’s a little like saying the bank robbers are already in the process of committing armed robbery. Might as well let them finish the job.

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  1. Mon Sep 27, 2004 7:36 pm
    Wow. Absolutely. Cannot argue with you, Janis. You hit the nail on the head, and people have their heads in the sand. And of course, Canada is guilty of much of the same. From Dudley George, to Oka, to even how Tecumseh and his army of Shawnee warriors were betrayed by Canada. And in Canada, our government too, has failed to honour land claims and treaties. We have reserves with no running water or sewage treatment. And it surely must have been insult added to injury, to put it mildly, when the sacred Black Hills were not only mined for gold, but the faces of US presidents carved there at Mt.Rushmore.

    ---
    Dave Ruston

  2. Mon Sep 27, 2004 7:45 pm
    over one million killed in Cambodia during the vietnam war most certainly also qualifies as genocide.

  3. Mon Sep 27, 2004 7:59 pm
    I love your articles Janis.<p> <i>. . .celebrated kind of like Halloween or Columbus Day, except that Americans would be permitted to commit sexual depredations on each other, abuse each other, torture their neighbor, all with out fear of reprisal All done with total abandonment and with merriment.</i><p> I thought they called this ethier "Super Tuesday" or "Superbowl" . . . ;)<p> <p>---<br>"If you must kill a man, it costs you nothing to be polite about it." Winston Churchill <br />

  4. Mon Sep 27, 2004 9:13 pm
    Lies and Fabrication, an American Indian Tradition

  5. Mon Sep 27, 2004 11:56 pm
    Anon, you don't want to sign that one.


    ---
    "One crisis at a time is life's motto" - Carl Sagan
    Jim Callaghan
    Minden, Ontario
    705-286-1860
    www.misterc.ca

  6. by hoopoe
    Tue Sep 28, 2004 1:10 am
    Sorry, I don't buy into this white guilt crap. Not because it didn't happen; after all, it is historical fact as to the behaviour of Europeans towards Indians in both North and South America. Rather, my opposition to this kind of reasoning is based on the representation of precolumbus Indians as being some sort of innocent people who never went to war with their neighboring tribes or outright murdered them, which in many cases amounted to genocide; at least the men, with the women and children being absorbed into their own tribes as slaves (this sort of activity has been documented by Europeans after their arrival and there is no reason to believe it wasn't going on for thousands of years before that).

    Raising historical Indian leaders to some mythological status and denying their humanness does not change this. How do you think they became leaders and protected that leadership other than with violence or the threat of it to either the people within their own tribe or outside of it? While it may be true that some individuals can rise above this and rule properly (their are examples of this in every culture in the world, including Europeans), to apply it to the whole Indian culture and say that they were all the noblest of leaders is ridiculous and quite simply put denies human nature.

    While it is true that Europeans were the first to develop the technology to conquer people on a worldwide scale(which is probably why they are singled out historically for this) and in some cases commit genocide, either through violent warfare or exposure to pathogens including cultural genocide, this has been happening locally in every culture since humans have been present it seems. For example, the Mongols definitely committed genocide going all through Europe and the middle eastern countries in the 12th century, literally murdering whole populations of women, children, and men of all ages. Want another example? There is a marked difference in the people of norther and southern India culturally, physically, and in temperament. At one point, the people now living in southern India occupied the whole of that country. The people living in the north came from the West and displaced the people living there to the south. Given the propensity of violence of northern Indians in this century of people who are disimilar to their own (millions have been killed in this century between Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus), I don't think it would be a great stretch to do the same to the people they found there when they arrived.

  7. Tue Sep 28, 2004 4:45 am
    I am truly sorry to say that your comments, for some reason, do not have any basis in fact, and should not be regarded as such. It is not true that Natives committed genocide on each other, or wantonly murdered each other, because their strong sense of morality, religion, and honor strictly forbid that kind of behavior. I am sorry you are feeling quilty about something, but I have studied civilizations, and know that not all civilizations are alike. Some are 180 degrees different from one another. So, in other words, you, although entitled to your opinion, are wrong, wrong, wrong. Why don't you look up some Noam Chomsky for some facts and figures?

  8. Tue Sep 28, 2004 4:58 am
    This comment is totally contemptable. By the way, in his diary Casca, a Roman Catholic priest, who came with the Spaniards in the 17th century, said that the Spanish threw little Indian babies in the air, ran them through with their swords, then threw the babes to the dogs to eat. Who would do such a thing? Probably someone like you. There's more. Look it up. Just do a little Google search on it.

  9. Tue Sep 28, 2004 8:07 am
    Gnome Chomsky for facts??!!! that's hilarious! he would never let a fact get in the way of his self righteous opinion, facts have always been 'beneath' him.

  10. Tue Sep 28, 2004 2:40 pm
    Well, we can`t deny that Aboriginal tribes did go to war against one another even before the arrival of Europeans. A good example would be the Iroquois vs. the Hurons, which was definitely exploited by the english and french. And to me, this isn`t about 'white guilt' it is more about acknowledging the past, as all too many North Americans fail to do. But yes, it is accurate to say that we are all savage beasts.

    ---
    Dave Ruston

  11. Tue Sep 28, 2004 5:12 pm
    Notice how there is nothing to back up the statement of Lies, an American Indian tradition. Ignore that. If they have nothing to back up their stupidity, just leave it alone. Typical of those who prefer to live with their heads up their arses than in the real world.

  12. by Mayzer
    Tue Sep 28, 2004 5:43 pm
    It's not about white guilt. It's about acknowledging the truth and taking responsibility for it, something white guys like you never do. You think it's perfectly ok to do whatever moves you, no matter who gets hurt, killed or maimed in the process. Germany is still doing what it can to right the wrongs it did in allowing the extermination of more than 6 000 000 Jews between 1939-1945, however the US and Canada think that the savage murder of 74 000 000 Indians is something that should just be forgotten. Hey... we made a booboo. Sorry. Get a grip.

  13. by hoopoe
    Tue Sep 28, 2004 7:48 pm
    I can appreciate that you have studied civilisations. I'm also fully capable of reading books. For instance, in Jared Diamond's book "Guns, Germs, and Steel" in chapter 3 he talks about the first meeting between a Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizzarro and an Incan monarch named Atahuallpa. It mentions briefly that on their first meeting Atahuallpa was surrounded by 80,000 of his own soldiers and that he had recently won a war fought against other Indians. This war was before European contact and was obviously fought to expand his empire. Why do you think the Incan monarch has a standing army of 80,000 soldiers (likely more since he has to protect other areas of his empire) if he has no plans to violently protect and expand his empire?

    Want another example? See the movie "Dances With Wolves" which is the account of a true story of first European contact with the Sioux Indians. There is a part in the story where a neighboring tribe clearly has genocidal designs for the Sioux tribe and the Sioux respond in kind.

    I also respect Noam Chomsky, but as far as I know he has not written any books dealing with precolumbian Indian society. Of course, I may be mistaken and if so please provide the title of the book in which he has dealt with this matter.

    If you read the first sentence of my initial comment above, it says specifically that I don't buy into white guilt on this matter so I don't quite understand where you come up with the comment that I'm feeling guilty about something. Is this the kind of attention you pay to detail when reading?

    Maybe what's confusing you is that Europeans have extensive written histories of their conquests and Native Americans have none. Of course this makes Europeans look like they are more prone to this sort of behaviour. However, human beings everywhere are motivated by the same egotistical passions to protect first individual, then family, then community, and finally their race. This does not discount that within each society or culture there are individuals who rise above this to see humanity as a whole.

  14. Tue Sep 28, 2004 11:45 pm
    Abu Ghraib a national holiday... I suppose you could do that. Celebrate that the actions of 10 or even 20 soldiers are not being overlooked. Celebrate that we're not putting our head in the sand about what happened at Abu Ghraib. These soldiers being court martialed for there actions. I I would have preferred that they were tired sooner and even better by the iraqi government. Americans were shocked and disgusted by the actions of these soldiers. So were the soldiers who were and are currently serving in Iraq.

    So do you want to talk about the sins of our ancestors or the sins of a the soldiers who did all these digusting things at Abu Ghraib. I have no excuse for what the soldiers did to the Native Americans during the 1800's. I won't argue the facts that you provided in your article. I won't deny that Native Americans were mistreated and by our government and soldiers.

    Does this mean that you think all americans are bad for what our ancestors did? Are all americans bad for our actions in Iraq? I hope you don't really believe that. I'm a retired Nebraska National Guardsmen and I would hope that actions of current soldiers from our state are something we can be proud of. I have family members in Iraq now and many friends who are or have served during this war. That doesn't mean I supported our president in starting this war. Like many american, I think it was an arrogant and bad decision. However, the nebraskans that I know that have served have done their best to be respect the citizens of Iraq. Last year, members of my former unit spent months rebuilding public schools in Iraq. They asked family members to send school supplies which they did, and in large quantities.

    So I would like to offer to you the possibility that not all americans are bad, we're definitely not perfect, but we do the best we can under our current democratic government. I've visited Canada and think you have a wonderful country. If you ever come to the United States, consider coming to Omaha, Nebraska for a visit. You'll find many people who agree with about the war, even though we support and pray for our family members currently serving in Iraq. We can't change the past, but I don't deny it happened with regards to our treatment of Native Americans. I support web sites that provide opposing views. Your views seem extreme though if you truly believe we should celebrate Abu Gharib. Don't condemn us all for the actions of a few or the actions of a cowboy president who will hopefully be unemployed by the end of November of this year.

    Nebraskan viewpoint.



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