Can the depopulation of Native Americans be objectively considered genocide? Even if the biggest cause of deaths among Native American tribes inadvertent contact with disease for which they had no immunity to? Is it too politically correct and motive to use a broad definition of genocide that encompasses unintentional epidemics?
The fact that most were killed by disease doesn't negate the genocidal practices by European and later on American governments. The smallpox of flu outbreaks doesn't mean the Trail of Tears never happened.
There were by and large official policies designed to destroy their culture and usually destroy them wholesale. The practice of scalping for instance was made popular because European and American settlers used the practice to scalp Indians so that they could collect bounties on killing them.
Some groups were more affected than others. Some were entirely destroyed and lost to history. Others barely survive today. Some made it out with only being forced off their lands and made to abandon their culture. But this all still constitutes genocide.
>Trail of Tears
>Approximately 2,000-6,000 of the 16,543 relocated Cherokee perished along the way.[
Listen I'm not saying it was a good thing but I don't know how on earth that could be construed as genocide.
It was part of larger government policy targeting a specific race/ethnicity/nation with the intent to destroy it. Also keep in mind their populations even back then were smaller, so while 6,000 people might be nothing to you it constituted a good portion of their entire people.
Aren't we talking about the depopulation of Amerindians? To say the depopulation of Amerindians was genocide would be falacious. I'ts like saying the casualties of WW2 were due to soldiers committing suicide for the Emperor of Japan. When you are talking about nearly 100,000,000 Amerindians dying it isn't fair to even mention genocide because it constitutes mere tens of thousands of deaths.
If we want to talk about actual genocides committed against Amerindians we should make it clear it had next to nothing to due with the their depopulation.
OK so shits complicated, Genocide is such a loaded word right?
Lets use the definition: The deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation.
Settler's definitely did that, Americans did, tribes did to other tribe, tribes even attempted it against settlers.
I think its a bit disingenuous to say it was unintentional. The USA and other European powers did not respect borders, agreed upon or otherwise. It is obvious they knew that they were at the very least facilitating the permanent destruction of the natives, they admitted as much.
The real problem with your question is people have the associations of the word Genocide, They think Hutus and Nazis - so they start asking themselves the sub-question: Where colonists and the nascent USA as bad as the aforementioned.
I personally think they weren't, though that's only an opinion.
Pol memes aside, fucking tragic amirite?
Refer to my very first post >>533714
Yes most died from disease. However, many of the genocidal policies went into effect only after most of the deaths by disease had happened. The fact that only a smaller population survived doesn't make it any less of a genocide when you start to target and destroy them.
I really like this book.
Such policies ammounted to cultural genocide, not actual genocide. That should also be mentioned. I'm fine so with discussing this stuff so long as those two points are made very clear. The depopulation was not due to genocide and or imperialist policy.
Thee were isolated incidents of actual genocide resulting in thousands of deaths and there was a broad policy of cultural genocide carried out over centuries. One should be very careful about choice of words when talking about this stuff because this is a very important topic IMHO that is surrounded by a lot of misconceptions.
The Great Dying to me seems like the greatest human catastrophe since the Mt. Toba eruption.
Do apathetic policies count as genocide? For example, if you don't necessarily want a group of people to die but don't care enough to make sure they stay alive and healthy, is it genocide? Could the relocation known as the Trail of Tears have been avoided had the US government put more effort into it or were most deaths due to disease and largely unavoidable? Did the American government necessarily know that many Amerindians would die to disease in the act of relocation?
Scalping was common all around the world, before modern humans even existed
However, European and American government policies definitely drove the practice on and made it much more widespread than it had been before because of the new huge demand for them. It's the same concept behind slavery in Africa intensifying because of new European demand for them.
There is a very long history of white settlers encouraging scalping as a way to cull the Indians
'cultural genocide' falls under the umbrella term of genocide, and I mentioned it already in the thread about tribes being forced off their lands and forced to abandon their ways of life.
I've not been convinced of that British dude from that one fort actually carrying out his idea. I've heard sources cite his journal describing that it was carried out, but I've read other sources that state he merely suggested it.
I also heard the Conquistadors may have intentionally spread disease but I have no sources on that so I'm not going to give it any water until I do.
I've been burned by this before. I spent my childhood under the false idea that the US government gave out smallpox blankets to Amerindians. I will not be hoodwinked again.
>There is a big difference between forcing someone to live a certain way and killing them.
Both were happening to Indians across the continent, and those forced to live a certain way were mostly done so at gunpoint and killed if they didn't. Your personal feels on it doesn't change the definition of genocide.
Most of the disease was spread accidentally, though the settlers certainly weren't upset about it (outside of Spanish America).
There were very few isolated cases like the one you talked about, and it's definitely feasible that people did it intentionally. Just because they didn't understand germ theory doesn't mean they knew diseases spread; the Mongols knew they could toss plague bodies over city walls to spread the disease centuries before that point.
It's a crime of negligence rather than genocide. The purpose of Trial of Tears was to relocate Indians, not to exterminate them.
>Genocide is the intent to systematically eliminate a racial, ethnic, religious, cultural or national group.
I don't see the "systematical elimination" in this.
On the topic of the Trail of Tears, you might have to put "negligence" in quotes. "Negligence" can be a tool of depopulation. That's what death marches are. You tell a group of people to march knowing full well a large number of them will die, or perhaps simply not caring whether they will live or die.
On the whole you cannot consider the depopulation of Indian genocide, no. The majority of them were killed off by a melange of plagues which were accidentally brought over by settlers. Germ theory wasn't exactly a thing back then, so the myth of Europeans using biological warfare to exterminate the Indians falls apart pretty quickly.
A lot of the policies which displaced and subsequently erased the rest of the Indian population could ostensibly be considered genocidal in practice.
>There were very few isolated cases like the one you talked about, and it's definitely feasible that people did it intentionally.
Blankets aren't an effective method of distributing smallpox, how do people not understand this? Even if that guy was hellbent of utilizing this idea it wouldn't have worked.
Much better way of distributing smallpox is deliberately infecting prisoners and then releasing them back into their native village, but we have no evidence that this ever happened in the colonies.
No, because it wasn't intentional. Kill yourself.
That said, you could make great arguments for specific peoples being genocided. Certainly the Cherokee were victims of genocide, as per the current UN definition. But "all Native Americans"? No way. That's just irresponsible word use.
>Blankets aren't an effective method of distributing smallpox, how do people not understand this?
I never said if any of it worked or not, only that it could have feasibly been done or tried in isolated cases.
Not really, no. Smallpox dies really quickly outside of a host, transporting it in blankets and then distributing it to natives wouldn't have worked. Even if the settlers actually attempted it, it probably didn't do shit.
Are you even reading my posts or is English just not your first language?
I'm fucking saying that they would have had the logic or rudimentary to attempt it, irregardless of whether it actually worked or not.
Nazis used death marches too. Why didn't the Nazis just murder every Jew? Many of the deaths from concentration camps were due to "negligence". In both cases they full knew thousands would die.
I say that's genocide. And they did it because it's easier to threaten a bunch of people to move than it is to just go in guns blazing. Easier on the consciences of the perpetrators, and makes it less likely that the victims don't violently revolt.
I'll admit it's not an area of history I'm that knowledgeable about, but it seems if the forcible relocation of Armenians was genocide then describing the Trail of Tears as genocide seems fair
>Your personal feels on it doesn't change the definition of genocide.
Genocide is where you attempt to slaughter a group of people. Saying they need to act a certain way is not genocide.
Are you a butthurt 1/64th Cherokee?
Only a small percentage of German soldiers captured by the Soviets made it back to Germany. Not making any effort to keep them alive constitutes killing them in my book. They knew full well how many would die and they did it anyway.
Dearth marches are great because you can pretend you didn't intend on most of them dying, but in reality that's exactly what you wanted.
>It was part of larger government policy targeting a specific race/ethnicity/nation with the intent to destroy it.
There was no official, long-term, overarching government policy on Amerindians. The closest you could come to a grandiose position was that if they were in the way, the government tended to tell them to move somewhere else. There was a huge series of complicated events by different nations and groups of people that contributed to their decline. The only people that see it as a genocide are the ones that want to see it as a genocide and post dumb memes on facebook about how we have to have open borders because everyone's an immigrant.
The US had no obligation to make a conceited effort to keep the natives alive, but this paradigm that apologists subscribe to - that Amerindians were just unsustainable, there deaths were inevitable, its all disease that Americans couldn't help but transmit is a little silly.
Apathetic policies do count as genocide in some instances. Apathy is a good word and i think is differentiates the intentions of the US government with that of say the third Reich. The Nazis wanted races gone, and went about making that a reality with some zeal whereas the US (sorry for horrendous but unavoidable generalizations) just didn't care in a lot of instances. Natives were treated as obstacles/liabilities or assets, not people.
So if you are say a 19th century tycoon who wants railroad laid over some ad hoc reservation and you pay the right bureaucrats and union/ confederate officers to nullify the problems posed by the natives, participation in a genocide may be a consequence to your actions.
I can genuinely believe that the tycoons, bureaucrats, and soldiers potentially bore no ill will to the natives as such, but simply wanted to get paid. (I could even believe frontiersmen who traded scalps for bounty thought like this - after-all how different is it, emotions aside, going out into the wilderness to harvest beaver pelts or human ones?) What i can't reconcile myself with though, is this fanciful notion that the participants were unaware of what they were doing. That the US and colonial powers that gave birth to it accidentally destroyed a continent of humans.
Of-course Americans knew there actions were of detriment to the natives, memes aside, they're clearly not a dumb people.
>The Nazis wanted races gone
That's not fair. Hitler wanted the Jews and gypsies relocated well away from Germany, but not necessarily dead. A war with France may have been in Hitler's plans but he never intended on war with England and the blockade. Germany only resorted to the "final solution" when the war turned against them and they got desperate.
Germany was a lot like America in it's desire to get rid of undesirables within its borders, but Germany was just in a shitty position and had not much else to do with them but kill them due to the war.