Posted by Petra on July 09, 1998 at 01:55:30:
In Reply to: Re: history and speculations posted by Tom on July 08, 1998 at 23:31:51:
Hi, Tom -
I'm glad you were bored and enjoyed reading your response! Let's see if I get everything together that crossed my mind when reading.. First, the scouts topic: I know, I know, lots of them were going against their families worst enemies, like for example here the Pimas against the Apaches. I didn't have them in mind when I talked about traitors (yep, my spelling was bad before, I thought the word came from "trade"), I was still caught up in thinking about how they caught Geronimo only with the help of Apache scouts. They were Tonto and White Mountain Apache, and some even Chiricahua like Geronimo himself, they spoke the same language, and as far as I've read (which of course doesn't mean much) had not fought each other before. Rather, it sounds like after they had all been forced into the same place under the most horrible circumstances, reservation life in San Carlos was so unbearable and frustrations so immense that tensions errupted easily, which must have given the military a good opportunity to play one band against the other.
Next, the fighting of traditional enemies: Not really the first time history has seen that. Just think of the Romans conquering most of Europe, that was much the same thing. I wouldn't call it nationalism, though, that term is much too big for some fighting of old enemies. But, yes, too bad things didn't go different, with some great alliance emerging.
As for the Eastern Europeans reacting "negatively", ahem, were there ever any settlers reacting positively to even the most peaceful Indians, I wonder? And, the immigrants unknowingly destroying cultures (plural, many cultures)? Oh, I don't think they were so unknowing. They were pretty determined to get rid of anyone not their skin colour, some texts use terms like "clearing the land", and they aren't talking about chopping trees. But you are right, the settlers and miners were the real problem, the military was only sent in after homesteaders had been crying for support.
The moral aspect? Oh, well, I'm not sure if I'd call it morals. True, conquest has been the most continuous thing in history. What determines my personal sympathies is maybe a combination of all this: The settlers already had a homeland (European countries), they didn't need another. Now, if they had blended into the existing culture, just like today's immigrants are supposed to assimilate to the mainstream culture, had nicely learned their new home's local language and taught their children to be good members of the local tribe, well THEN... But, no, they wanted to cook their own soup. (Of course, as if European colonials ever blended in nicely in any colony, ha!) So, that alone makes them look out of place in my eyes. Every language, every culture has its place where it grew, and that's where it belongs. Slow migrations over many centuries are one thing, swarms of locusts are a plague. So, lucky thing for those tribes who defended themselves right away that they didn't wait until the settlers had taken most of the land, otherwise they would probably be extinct by now like so many others. Greedy? Naah, only smart. After all, it wasn't their fault that the Europeans had just come through their greatest jump in population increase, and that the immigrants had decided to rather run than stand up against their aristos who prevented a more even distribution of land at home.
I can relate to those immigrants, yes, really, but still: It's not like they asked the Indians to grant them political asylum or come as people who wanted to become part of the existing population. Plus, their whole behaviour of wanting and taking all and not just some, of racism while pretending to be oh, so christian, that pretty much disqualifies them for being the objects of my passion. And, I even wonder if it wasn't too bad that the US won its independence when it did, there might have been a lot less immigrants otherwise.
Do I sound a bit radical? Well, it's fun to discuss this, and I may have tried to provoke just a little more than usually. You may have guessed by now that you are not talking to a fellow American, who grew up pledging allegiance, so I may as well admit that the words "the great country it is today" made me, well, giggle. Just a little. But, not to worry, I'm no mean foreign infiltrator planning to overthrow the government, and I hope I didn't hurt any patriotic feelings. Otherwise we can bash my ancestors in our next posts, okay?
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