Native American Genocide

Topics: Native Americans in the United States Pages: 3 (1142 words) Published: March 18, 2016
Native American Genocide
When people think of genocide, there are many different examples that may run through their heads. An important example of genocide that came about during World War II was Adolf Hitler’s attempt to eliminate people of the Jewish faith. This example may be the most prominent in history, but it may not have been the earliest. Many think that genocides only occur in foreign countries, but in fact, one of the first genocides known to man took place in the soil we are currently standing on. When colonists first came to America, they thought they were discovering new land. Contrary to their belief, they were actually attempting to take over land that was already inhabited by people with their own way of life. What happened after that is described as “an American Holocaust” (Lewy). It is evident that a myriad of death and destruction came to Native American tribes when the colonist explorers and settlers arrived. The mass obliteration of the Native American population from an estimated 12 million in 1500 to barely 237,000 in 1900 represents a tragic genocide. The definition of genocide, according to The American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy Third Edition, is “the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group”. According to this definition, what happened to the Native Americans is genocide because it was deliberate and premeditated. Sir Jeffrey Amherst, commander-in-chief of Colonists forces in North America, wrote the following to Colonel Henry Bouquet at Fort Pitt: "You will do well to try to inoculate the Indians with smallpox by means of blankets, as well as to try every other method, that can serve to extirpate this execrable race." Between 75 to 90 percent of all Native American deaths resulted from smallpox (Halverson). Therefore, the Colonists were not oblivious to the spread of smallpox throughout the Native American population. In fact, they were the ones who deliberately...
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