Genocide in North America

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The central theme covered is the absolute disregard for human life in favor of wealth, power and dominance. In all the assigned materials it is evident that the perpetrators had little or no regard at all for the sanctity of the human life. Mass murder, genocides, razing and destroying villages dominate the texts indicating that in that period the powerful or governing authority or government could enact its will and arm twist indigenous or minority groups into conforming to their will (Anderson, Gary 2014). Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz in her article `Yes, Native Americans Were the Victims of Genocide` clearly depicts that a significant part of the United States history was a result of carefully planned and orchestrated genocide towards the indigenous people. This resulted in a lot of bloodsheds which only relented after the invading parties got what they were after which is the land that the Indians had settled on.

This theme is also present in the rediscovery of North America by Barry Lopez. In his account, the Spanish assumed an imperial right conferred by `God` enforced via a militia which was sanctioned by the state. Barry graphically lists the atrocities carried out against the natives of North America by Spanish who were motivated by a narrowly defined source of wealth, gold. The sanctity of life is ignored with soldiers taking bets as to who can split a man in half with one slash of the sword. While the theme of disregard for human life may not be strongly present in `what is it to be human` by Cordova, the theme of individualism vs. society dominates his text. In his argument, the definition of individualism, individualistic society and group-oriented society significantly differed between the westerners and natives of North America. This offers insight as to how the two groups interacted and viewed each other.

There is a lot of bias towards different and minority races in the assigned material. Minority races are viewed as less human and are at the mercy and disposal of relatively larger races. Roxanne conveys this in her article as she explains how the history of the United States can be described as settler colonialism. This colonialism was carried out with a near genocidal policy. The indigenous peoples, the Indian race was subjected to killing members of their race, causing body and mental harm, calculated inflicting of conditions that were meant to wipe them all out, preventing births with that particular race and abducting their children. The attitude is similar towards the female gender is the same as there are cases of women being sterilized without their consent to prevent them from bearing children. Barry`s article also depicts the same with rape and torture and humiliation being a recurring theme. Children to bore the brunt of this war with infants being fed to dogs and children having their feet cut off to deter them from escaping (Bary, Wodrow 1964).

The authors have put forward their arguments in a fair and balanced way. This is because their articles are a narration of events as they happened.  Their arguments are determined fair in that they do not show bias. Barry`s account is supported by evidence and logic and accounts from other independent people who were present at the massacre such as Bartolome de Las Casas, a priest. Roxanne for example, not only illustrates how the Indians lost their lives but also their cultural heritage, ancestral land’s and integrity. They are other works and facts done by independent authors that can support this. Finally, the strength of their arguments has been evaluated by the overall tone observed in their works. Roxanne, Barry, and Cordova maintain a serious tone throughout their arguments to express the seriousness of the matter in discussion.

The scramble for resources is the main reason for all the pillage observed in native North America and is also the main reason fueling the crisis in countries such as Syria and Libya. In the case of Syria, their vast oil reserves are fueling a scramble for control. Syria has an estimated 2.5 billion barrels of oil; this is a quantity large enough to disrupt the world's oil prices. This clarifies why it's important to gain control of the country. The same was experienced in Libya during the ouster of the now deceased former president Muammar Gaddafi.

Colonial conflict, policies of discrimination, disease, and specific atrocities have seriously devastated the population of the Native American. The indigenous inhabitants of United States of America underwent uncalled for violence which resulted in a lot of losing their lives in the worst imaginable way. The widespread genocide acts bring a greater sense of meaning to the struggle that they underwent. The systemic wiping out of the original inhabitants through violence and biological attacks such as the introduction of smallpox show to which lengths people are ready to go to gain control of resources. While this is the accounts of a few people and no substantive evidence refutes whether it was calculated genocide, the fact remains that so many lives were lost and entire tribes exterminated.


Works cited

Anderson, Gary Clayton. Ethnic cleansing and the Indian: the crime that should haunt America. University of Oklahoma Press, 2014.

Borah, Woodrow Wilson. America as model: the demographic impact of European expansion upon the non-European world. 1964.

Cordova. What Is It to Be Human.

Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne. Outlaw woman: A memoir of the war years, 1960–1975. University of Oklahoma Press, 2014.

Lopez, Barry Holstun. The rediscovery of North America. Vintage, 1992.

Mann, Michael. The dark side of democracy: Explaining ethnic cleansing. Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Whitbeck, Les B., et al. "Conceptualizing and measuring historical trauma among American Indian people." American journal of community psychology 33.3-4 (2004): 119-130.

Wolfe, Patrick. "Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native." Journal of genocide research 8.4 (2006): 387-409.

August 14, 2023



Race and Ethnicity

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