14 November 2012

Native American Indian Wars

Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen, 1995, Excerpts

War with the Indians started in Acoma, now New Mexico, in 1599, when a Spanish leader avenged the death of his brother by enslaving most of the villagers and chopping off one foot of all males over 25 years of age. It spread to the Southeast where, because of fierce and implacable Indian resistance, the Spanish were unable to colonize Florida for over a hundred years.

The Indian-white wars that dominated our history from 1762 to 1815 and were of considerable importance until 1890 have disappeared from our national memory. General Sherman – who is notorious for having said, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian” – understood. “We took away their country and their means of support, and it was for this and against this they made war,” he wrote. “Could anyone expect less?”

Our history is full of wars with Native American nations. For almost two hundred years, almost continuous warfare raged on the America continent, its conflict more threatening than any the nation was to face again. Indian warfare absorbed 80 percent of the entire federal budget during George Washington’s administration and dogged his successors for a century as a major issue and expense. 

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