How does the participation in, and accomodation of violent exploitation today reflect the abuses executed upon Native Americans by European settlers? This is the question I will attempt to answer through uses of different documents, while also examining why the Native’s were not considered citizens. The massacre of Native Americans truly was one of the biggest genocides in the history of the world, and went practically unnoticed. The same happened roughly fifteen years ago in Rwanda. A silent genocide. From reading what Native Americans wrote about the incident and other sources, I can conclude that the slaughtering of Native Americans after the arrival of the first settlers, was an extremely compareable event to the Holocaust, and other genocides.
A “Trail of Tears” sounds sad enough as it is, yet it was one of the least harmful events that unfortunately happened to Native Americans. Just because Europeans came over to the new world with guns, they assumed that they had the right to do whatever they wanted. Most of the people that were moving over to America in the first place may not have had the world’s greatest morals, as these people tended to be ex-convicts, opportunists, and desperate people. It must have obviously been a very strange encounter when the Native’s and Europeans saw each other for the first time. Yet the Europeans seem to have automatically jumped to their human instinct rather than thinking how they should act and treat these new people. One of the most common “primal insticts” that people refer to is the fight or flight concept. Clearly the settlers did not travel across the Atlantic Ocean to be scared away back to their country. They were the ones with guns and other weapons, so they chose the fight option, even though the Native Americans were not aggressive. Although much different from European ideas, Native Americans were very sophisticated and intelligent in their own ways and tried to prevent the rape of their land, knowing what consequences that had. Yet as settlers had their eyes set on gold and guns in their hands, nothing would stop them. They forcefully removed and killed all Native Americans in their path. The one’s lucky enough to survive (if that was even lucky) were put in war camps on awful land far away from their homes. Seeing that they could communicate with the Native’s, eventually some treaties were set into place. These treaties were almost instantly and always broken leaving the word of the Native’s absolutely useless. The land was theirs, they were peaceful, and cooperated, and yet the Native Americans still could not be called citizens. Before the European landing in 1492, their were over sixty million Native Americans. After most of the massacres had finished, there were around eight hundred thousand remaining(according to users.erols.com’s War stat website. That is the worst genocide in history statistically.
Along with countless other tribes, the Lakota tribe was one that was heavily effected by the new world settlement. Aaron Huey spoke with TED about his experience living with the Lakotas for about five years. During this time he got to learn their version of history. The landing of Europeans is referred to as “The Real First World War” and this can be stated for obvious reasons. In history books, the mass killings of Native Americans are referred to as “battles” yet clearly these were hardly battles. At Wounded Knee, one of the biggest killings in the history of America took place. This event took place on December 29th 1890 at Wounded Knee creek. “U.S. Troops surrounded a Sioux encampment at Wounded Knee Creek and massacred Chief Big Foot and 300 prisoners of war, using a new rapid-fire weapon that fired exploding shells called a Hotchkiss gun. For this so called battle, 20 congressional medals of honor for valor were given to the 7th cavalry. To this day, this is the most medals of honor ever awarded for a single battle.” In World War one and two, never were more medals awarded. The “primitive” yet peaceful people were slaughtered because of their inconvenience to society. If this still happened today, our government would have a lot better congress men.
Tying the slaughtering of Native Americans back to more modern times, the Rwanda Genocide in 1994 was another silenced slaughtering that the government was well aware of, yet took no action. Though the numbers aren’t comparable, according to Allison Des Forges of Human Rights Watch 850,000 people were killed in one hundred days. This genocide was an effect of pure ignorance that some people possess. People of the Hutu tribe killed thousands of Tutsis for the reason of ethnic tension. This happened during the Holocaust as well. Aryans killed any minority including Jews and gipsies out of pure stupidity caused by not understanding other cultures, even religions. Genocide appears to have been completely preventable in some cases and it’s ridiculous that nothing was done. Arguably nothing was done in Rwanda because of the lack of a reward it would reap for other countries. Being a citizen of your country is important, yet it’s important to remember we all live in the same world.
By looking at body count, the genocide of Native Americans was insane. The effects of that genocide are still seen today were people have lower live expectancies then those of countries like Somalia. The settlements are worse then ghettos, there is no heating, no government assistance, no education, no anything. The only point that I can argue as to modern day violence being worse, is that there is more that can be done to prevent genocides. After the slaughtering of Native Americans, and the holocaust (even with the “Never Again Campaign” genocides have occurred recently and even right now. The knowledge of these events and then the lack of action afterwards makes these genocides even worse. Until we all begin helping each other out in this world, the progressions of mankind will be stalled, and people will continue to suffer.