American Indian Genocide

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The extermination of American Indians has always been a sensitive issue. The massive depopulation of the Indigenous peoples in the Americas after 1492 to the Removal Era (1830-1950’s) seems like a clear-cut case of the genocide. Some believe that the United States’ action towards Indians was deplorable but never genocidal in certain areas. Many believe that California Indians were the victims of genocide from the Anglo Americans and Spanish. Yet, the genocide of Indians east of the Mississippi River has always been a hotly debated situation. Through my analysis of the time period leading up to the Removal Era, I have found that American Indians were subjected to genocide through coerced migration, settler expansion, as well as war and massacre. …show more content…
During the Formative Years (1775-1820), there was increase conflict between Indigenous and non-Indigenous with the promotion of civilization and establishment of territorial boundaries, according to David E. Wilkins in A History of Federal Indian Policy. This is the start of witnessed genocide of Indians from the Mississippi Valley to the southeast and beyond. After 1815, the United States intensified its efforts to expand and implemented its coined term “manifest destiny.” According to Wilkins, in 1830, the Federal Indian Removal Act called for the removal of all Indians living east of the Mississippi River to Indian Territory. This was seen majorly through stories of the ‘Five Civilized Tribes’- the Seminole, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and finally the Cherokee. The story of the Cherokee Nation’s trip- the “Trail of Tears,” was one of the most notable mass destructions of a tribe during this period with a loss of four thousand of their people. This removal was supposedly not intended to kill. Yet, the fact that the United States Government had ample evidence that forcing tens of thousands people from their territory was likely to result in loss of life. At the very least genocide was present in the removal process in the sense that this removal process was entirely …show more content…
In 1633, the English Puritans settled at Plymouth and begun expanding into the Connecticut River Valley. The Puritans had one obstacle to their expansion: the Pequots. This war was a mix of numerous conflicts between the colonists and the Indians such as disputes over property, livestock, hunting, and dishonest traders. Colonists set fire to their villages, hunted them down killing some and selling others into slavery, and created a treaty that was to eliminate the Pequot nation. Jean O 'Brien, an Ojibwe historian, says that, “The Pequot war established in Indian minds the potential savagery of the English.” (We Shall Remain: After the Mayflower). There is abundant evidence that the Pequat War was an act of genocide by intent to remove the Pequat Tribe. In 1779 the United States declared war on the Haudenosaunee to punish them for trying to resist colonial settlement. Two hundred Haudenosaunee died directly from the American Army. The United States has consistently demonstrated power over Indian nations through force and unnecessary violence.
Massacre of American Indian people was also a major component of genocide. Massacres like Mystic Massacre of 1637 (during the Pequot War) and Sacramento River Massacre are few of the many mass killings of American Indian people during this time frame. The United States military usually targeted tribal communities rather than tribal armies, these operations

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