On Columbus Day, a historian recounts how colonization with its laws deceived indigenous people.
When in November 1620 the Mayflower, with its 102 ‘pilgrims’, landed on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts Bay, the native had already been on the continent for thousands of years and already knew the ‘pale face’.
From the discovery of America, by Christopher Columbus, the Dutch, French, Spanish, and English set out to explore, occupy, and exploit North America.
For that matter, Francis Drake, in 1577, took possession of California, in the name of Elizabeth I. Another pirate, Walter Raleigh, founded, in 1583, a colony north of Florida which he called Virginia (to flatter the queen who passed for being a virgin and who was her lover on duty).
In 1606, an expedition funded by the London Company to the New World founded Jamestown, the first permanent settlement of the English in North America (and to the fantasy of these lands, the site of the supposed romance of Captain John Smith and Princess Pocahontas ). In 1609, Henry Hudson, trying to find the passage to China through North America, discovered the river that bears his name.
In the spring, half of the settlers who survived the winter and who saw the Mayflower return to England were surprised by a redskin who held out his hand and said, “Welcome, Englishmen!” His name was Samoset, he introduced them to Chief Massasoit, who gave them a deer.
The Indians taught the English to fish, to prepare local food, to hunt, to sow corn: they taught them to survive in these barren lands and that in winter they were buried under thick layers of snow.
Seventeen years later, in 1637, Captain John Mason with an armed group of New England Puritans, while the Pequot slept, fell on them, locked them between the village’s own palisades and set them on fire. Five hundred Indians died that night. Later Mason said that “thanks to Divine Providence” there were one hundred and fifty more Indians in town that night than usual.
It was the first war waged by the Puritans against the Native Americans, who, to survive, until 1898, fought 108 wars against the whites.
And they lost them all, because their enemy was “innumerable and fierce”; all the more so since it claimed to be the divine instrument to “renew and reorganize” the Western world; since, being Caucasian, he was destined by the Creator to expand and to exterminate or absorb the inferior races; Only then would a law of nature be fulfilled in this sense.
The Anglo-Saxon mythical past was exalted to delirium by the English in America, to show that they came from the Germanic race from India – cradle of humanity – which, having preserved pure and primitive, after the course of the sun reached the forests Germanic to dominate the Roman Empire and then subdue the world. Not to “barbarize”, but to civilize, to reshape human society.
With this pretentious ideological ballast, the Anglo-Saxons saw in those of America “degenerate tribes”, who held a land that belonged to the British colonists “by virtue of discovery” and by the “right of civilized nations to settle in occupied territory. by wild tribes, “according to the report by mr. Bell to the Congressional Indian Affairs Committee, February 24, 1830.
However, the Crown had recognized the natives’ right to land by possession and considered that this right was inalienable and imprescriptible, except in the case of voluntary sale to the Crown. The Indian tribes were given the character of nations and any seizure of their lands and any sale of them to individuals was prohibited.
Thus the Indians were safe from the malice and greed of the colonists; and “in order not to be like the Spaniards,” the English “gave” land to the natives to be converted into farms and bequeathed to their descendants.Jefferson told a delegation of Mohicans, Delawares and Munses: “… in the lands that have been given to you, begin to give each man a farm, allow him to fence it, cultivate it, build a warm home in it, and when he dies Let it belong to his wife and children … ”The Seminoles, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Cherokee were easily“ acculturated ”and accepted to live like the“ civilized ”; the others, during the post-revolutionary era, became a hindrance to westward expansion.
Since their barbarism was irredeemable, because they did not accept Christian civilization, they did not want to become farmers or sell their land, they had to be cornered, locked up, deal with them so that they would go further west the better. Since they don’t want to be farmers, let them all go to the Mississippi. Between 1815 and 1830, the Indians were systematically driven into the great river.
President Jackson, by votes of Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi, consented to the deportation of Indians to the reservations west of the Great River. The Cherokee – who had agreed to live as the white man wanted – and the Seminoles, as they refused to leave their lands, were compelled by force of arms to do so.
A detachment of soldiers pushed them westward through a route known to history as “the path of tears”, since four thousand Indians had to die so that farms and cities “full of blessings,” would rise over their corpses. freedom, religion, and civilization, ”as President Jackson said.
In 1781, Congress prohibited the state governments from entering into treaties with the Indians, since that would be to accept one nation within another; thus the Indian nation was definitively unknown. Through the Dawes Act, in 1887, a general allotment of land was made to the Indians: each head of the family was given a plot; the “surplus” went to the settlers.