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Posted: 4/23/2003 7:29:15 AM EDT
Maybe you guys have heard or read before some liberal going on and romanticizing about how great the American Indians were.

One of the common things they refer to to prove that the Indians were morally superior to Eurpoeans was that they didn't have a system of private land ownership, everything was owned and shared by the tribe.

I'm sick of hearing this line of thought, it's almost cliche, but rather than tell them I like private property rights just fine, I'd rather be able to bring up a few territorial disputes that different Indian tribes had over hunting grounds or whatever.  It's hard to say the Indians didn't have any private property interests when they're going to war over who will use a particular area for hunting.

So can anyone recommend a book or post a brief history lesson about warfare in pre-colonial America?
Link Posted: 4/24/2003 4:29:20 AM EDT
The best example of greed and warfare among Indians would probably be the Iroquois’s “League of Five Nations”
[url]http://members.tripod.com/~RFester/iroq.html [/url]

If you look around you will see that Indians did possess traits of materialism and war.

"Another effect of the horse on the Plains Indians is that it increased intertribal warfare as a symbol of wealth and an object of war. Many tribes described the stealing of another tribe's horses as an honorable feat. In relation to war, horses were valuable because warriors found it easier to attack their enemies that were too far away to capture on foot. Horses also stemmed tensions over the control of the most useful hunting grounds and gave the Indians more time to rest and relax. Before the horse, the Indians spent much of their time planning the wars, fighting the wars, and celebrating their victories of the wars." [url]http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cmkurpie/war2.html [/url]

"In eastern Oregon, warfare was more constant and more dangerous. The Paiutes and Bannocks pressed against the Nez Perce, Cayuse, Umatillas, Klamaths, Modocs and Warm Springs Indians. There was constant conflict in the territory as the tribes competed for hunting grounds, and additional wealth in the form of horses and slaves. The coming of the white man added to this turmoil."

"The first U.S. treaty the Wisconsin Ojibwe signed was in 1825 at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, involving the Ojibwe and other Great Lakes and Midwestern tribes. Some of these tribes fought wars amongst themselves, and the United States wanted to end their disputes by establishing boundaries between the tribes. In particular, the Ojibwe and the Santee Dakota (also called the Santee Sioux) had fought for possession of northern Wisconsin and Minnesota for over a century, and thus a boundary line was established between them." [url] [/url]

Link Posted: 4/25/2003 6:19:54 AM EDT
There tends to be a one-sided revisionism at work.  I've posted extensively on a particular Indian board and it's all "We have the keys to enlightenment & peace, and the white/European/Christian conqurors are materialistic murderers."

When they would talk about the peaceful ways of their ancestors I would bring up historical accounts of how those same ancestors literally wiped out (can you say genocide?) neighboring groups that posed no threat.  This was not to slam them, but to try and bring some balance and fact into the discussion.  Of course these posts were never responded to, except for some name calling directed at yours truly.

With that said, when you consider the Trail of Tears, the Sand Creek Massacre, and innumerable other incidents, they have gotten a raw deal.

The point here is that nobody on either side was squeaky clean.  They might talk about how everything was friendly & peaceful before the white man came.  No matter how you slice it, it's still baloney.  They were chopping eachother up long before Columbus arrived.

I believe that these people have been treated wrongly, and I believe they have every right to preserve their cultures & traditions.  I believe that large tracts of land that they were swindled out of probably should be returned.  I also believe that history should be based on historical fact and not wishful thinking.
Link Posted: 4/26/2003 2:43:54 PM EDT
Brohawk, I pretty much agree with your post and I applaud you on your candor regarding the American Indian's treatment of THEIR predecessors. That being said, I am not totally in agreement with the notion that we should simply turn over land that they were allegedly swindled out of. If so, where would one draw the line?  
Thanks for a great post, John
Link Posted: 4/29/2003 6:13:46 AM EDT
There definitely isn't an easy answer.  For example, the original Great Sioux Reservation covered the entire western half of SD.  It was promised by treaty to be theirs as long as the "grass grows and the river flows."  Then gold was discovered in the Black Hills.  The Indians were pushed into a progessively smaller area, toward what was considered "useless" land (They don't call it the Badlands for nothing).  Now uranium and coal deposits have been found on Rez land and mining companies are trying to get the government to force the tribes to allow mining of these resources.  There comes a point where you want to say, "Just leave them alone, for crying out loud."

Obviously, it wouldn't be practical to restore the original Rez.  I honestly don't know what a fair solution would be.  Looks like a job for Solomon.

I try to look at it as if the US was invaded and conquered by another country.  Would I, as an American, just recognize their right to conquest and give up?  It's just an exercise to try and understand where they are coming from.  All I'm sure of is it will take somebody smarter than me to resolve this stuff.
Link Posted: 4/29/2003 7:30:28 AM EDT
Should we also give Spain and Mexico back their land? Basically the U.S. used whatever excuse they had to proceed with manifest destiny.
Link Posted: 4/29/2003 10:17:48 AM EDT
It looks like Mexico is in the process of reclaiming their territory.

la Reconquista!
Link Posted: 4/29/2003 3:55:59 PM EDT
"Build a casino and they will come"*

*bring wampum
Link Posted: 4/29/2003 4:21:54 PM EDT
"Build a casino and they will come"*

*bring wampum
View Quote

heh [:)]
Link Posted: 5/6/2003 2:39:31 AM EDT
I was an Archeologist years ago. I remember reading a paper on tribes in the San Fansico Bay area. Seems there were more different tribes and different languages un this area than any other in north America. Why? Great natural resources...the good life. There was also more evidence of warfare than any other place in the country. Why? Control of the resources.
Don't forget slavery when addressing prehistoric America. Property rights extended to owning other people. This went on well after the Civil War in the western states.
Link Posted: 5/8/2003 12:47:22 PM EDT
"Wild Frontier" by William Osborne, deals mostly with white on red and red on white, does get into some of the red on red.  Unfortunately I lent it to my brother and can't get it to make more reference to it here.

Others have studied the expansion of the Athabascan speaking tribes from the Great Lakes area into the Southwest, the Incan moves/influence into present day AZ and NM.

Before it became non-PC to have dead aborginal peoples on display, the museum in Santa Barbara, CA used to have an extensive display of skulls and other bones displaying violent ends.  They might be able to get you some more information.

There's also some good reasons the Cav had a lot of Pawnee and Navajo Scouts.  They were getting some back against other tribes.

Link Posted: 5/9/2003 8:21:42 AM EDT
And there were reasons the Crow were so willing to serve as scouts for the Army against the Sioux.  When the Sioux (collectively Lakota, Dakota, Oglala, Hunkpapa, etc.) moved west from the Minnesota region they fought the Crow and took their land, pushing the Crow further west.

Wait a minute--- making war...taking somebody else's ancestral land...

Do you think...?  Nah...
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