MOBI Ethnic Cleansing and the Indian Epub ó and the Epub ✓

Mention “ethnic cleansing” and most Americans are likely to think of “sectarian” or “tribal” conflict in some far off locale plagued by unstable or corrupt government According to historian Gary Clayton Anderson however the United States has its own legacy of ethnic cleansing and it involves American Indians In Ethnic Cleansing and the Indian Anderson uses ethnic cleansing as an analytical tool to challenge the alluring idea that Anglo American colonialism in the New World constituted genocide Beginning with the era of European conuest Anderson employs definitions of ethnic cleansing developed by the United Nations and the International Criminal Court to reassess key moments in the Anglo American dispossession of American Indians Euro Americans’ extensive use of violence against Native peoples is well documented Yet Anderson argues that the inevitable goal of colonialism and US Indian policy was not to exterminate a population but to obtain land and resources from the Native peoples recognized as having legitimate possession The clashes between Indians settlers and colonial and US governments and subseuent dispossession and forcible migration of Natives fit the modern definition of ethnic cleansing To support the case for ethnic cleansing over genocide Anderson begins with English conuerors’ desire to push Native peoples to the margin of settlement a violent project restrained by the Enlightenment belief that all humans possess a “natural right” to life Ethnic cleansing comes into greater analytical focus as Anderson engages every major period of British and US Indian policy especially armed conflict on the American frontier where government soldiers and citizen militias alike committed acts that would be considered war crimes today Drawing on a lifetime of research and thought about US Indian relations Anderson analyzes the Jacksonian “Removal” policy the gold rush in California the dispossession of Oregon Natives boarding schools and other “benevolent” forms of ethnic cleansing and land allotment Although not amounting to genocide ethnic cleansing nevertheless encompassed a host of actions that would be deemed criminal today all of which had long lasting conseuences for Native peoples

10 thoughts on “Ethnic Cleansing and the Indian

  1. says:

    A provocative and problematic book Provocative because it challenges the loose talk about genocide in American history that prevails when activist commentators paint with the broad brush Problematic because it is dismissive of genocide where it occurred Anderson argues that genocide is not an appropriate term for American treatment of native peoples however odious He suggests calling it ethnic cleansing and cites episodes as war crimesIt seems Anderson sets a high bar or would that be a low bar? for genocide In the conclusion he writes The crime that Winston Churchill attributed to Adolph Hitler the one that he could not name certainly was genocide But the crime that Indians in the United States suffered never reached that level even though some might argue that various incidents approached genocide The crime was ethnic cleansing at times violent 337 He comes mighty close to saying that if it wasn't of the character and magnitude of Hitler it wasn't genocideI am all for careful delineation of circumstances and discrete use of the genocide label There are several ways however in which Anderson falls short of the sort of discretion he advocatesFirst he takes no cognizance of cultural genocide In the nineteenth century and again in the twentieth it has to be admitted that the United States sought to eliminate native peoples as nations or peoples through forced assimilationSecond Anderson applies definitions and criteria that are of uestionable applicability in settler society situations especially one complicated by federalist structure There may not have been a long term American policy of hard genocide but at times there were genocidal states territories and communitiesThird the research behind the various chapters is uneven sometimes strong and deep other times not so much Thus Anderson joins the ranks of those misguided historians dismissing the atrocities at Sand Creek as the excesses of militia even placing the episode into an invented class of a few murdering militia colonels determined to commit war crimes 245 This is bad information and bad characterizationFourth Anderson is determined to shoehorn every episode into the label ethnic cleansing in a manner such that a sense of anachronism pervades Maybe we need first to consider events in context and in their own terms After that we might reflectively proceed to connect past situations to present standards and terminologyIt is good to lay down the broad brush and open a discussion that inuires into facts circumstances and conseuences It is better to do that without a predetermined conclusion

  2. says:

    This is one of those books that is meaningful primarily to a few dozen specialists an attempt to place a deep broad and complex historical phenomenon of clashes between cultures in the narrow context of Anglo European international law since the mid 19th centuryHistorian Anderson attempts to present a comprehensive review of the conflicts but misses many important encounters and narratives for which records exist as well as an unknown but presumably vast number for which there are no records rendering his conclusions suspectAs revisionist history it's only a baby step since it's presented almost exclusively from the American Anglo European point of view To even begin to understand what happened we need to understand Native societies and cultures and that understanding is mostly denied to non NativesIf you have the patience to stick with it the book does present a disturbing but mind numbing litany of injustices and atrocities that contemporary Americans the beneficiaries remain guilty of to this day

  3. says:

    A detailed study of the effect on native American populations of European immigration and expansion over some 300 years The author concludes that the overall effect is comparable with modern definitions of ethnic cleansing rather than genocide A heartbreaking story of broken treaties betrayals of trust and random acts of callous brutality and that is only the start