Despite common misconception, the decline of the Native populations in the Americas are often misrepresented. The number of deaths that we see
typically include Canada, Central America, and South America, while the causes for those losses are often portrayed as far more malevolent than they
actually were. Indeed, genocide WAS committed against the Native populations, I am not here to argue that. What I AM here to argue is the gross
miscalculation that many people seem to have surrounding how rampant said genocide was, and explain the cause of today's low Native American
Which "Americans" do YOU believe to be the masters of Genocide? The English? The French? The Spanish? They were not all working under a single
authority figure, which is an important fact to remember. (You'd be surprised at how many people blame the US alone) I have noticed that the total
number of Native deaths in the Americas surrounding the European invasion of the new world is often directed solely at the US. The US seems to absorb
the blame for not only it's own actions, but the actions of it's neighbors as well.
I've seen estimates of Native American populations in the territories which are now the United States as high as 50 million or more. Utter nonsense -
there is little to no evidence which supports such claims.
While it is difficult to determine exactly how many Natives lived in North America before Columbus, estimates range from a low of 2.1 million
(Ubelaker 1976) to 7 million people (Russell Thornton) to a high of 18 million (Dobyns 1983).
It would also be fair to say that, despite Europeans intentionally giving some Native American populations diseases, there was a far greater number of
Native Americans that died due to disease that was not intentionally given to them, simply because they had no immunity.
during the late 1630s, smallpox killed over half of the Wyandot (Huron), who controlled most of the early North American fur trade in what became
Canada. They were reduced to fewer than 10,000 people.
There are no real definitive figures of how large the Native American population was, and some experts argue that our high estimates of the
Pre-Columbian Native American population are frankly made up.
some have argued that contemporary estimates of a high pre-Columbian indigenous population are rooted in a bias against Western civilization and/or
Christianity. Robert Royal writes that "estimates of pre-Columbian population figures have become heavily politicized with some scholars, who are
particularly critical of Europe, often favoring wildly higher figures."
Others argue that the total population of Native Americans is higher today than it ever was. (or at least larger than it was in recorded history -
including when Columbus first stumbled upon America)
The indigenous population in 1492 was not necessarily at a high point and may actually have been in decline in some areas. Indigenous populations in
most areas of the Americas reached a low point by the early 20th century. In most cases, populations have since begun to climb. In the United
States, for instance, the numbers may already have recovered to pre-Columbian levels or even exceeded them.
Most of the European immigrants who came to America (British Colonies/America, Canadian Territories, Etc.) assumed the Native Americans had always had
a low population. This is because the diseases which we previously discussed had been so devastating to them before records of their population were
kept that once-great communities and cities were reduced to small fractal tribes. Those diseases were spread naturally, even if they hadn't existed in
the Americas before the arrival of the Europeans. If the Europeans hadn't come to the Americas en mass when they did, another population would have
eventually, and rampant disease would have occurred regardless.
Disease killed off a sizable portion of the populations before European observations (and thus written records) were made. After the epidemics had
already killed massive numbers of natives, many newer European immigrants assumed that there had always been relatively few indigenous peoples. The
scope of the epidemics over the years was tremendous, killing millions of people—possibly in excess of 90% of the population in the hardest hit
areas—and creating one of "the greatest human catastrophe in history, far exceeding even the disaster of the Black Death of medieval Europe"
Something that is not typically known is the fact that Europeans also brought diseases which were common in the Americas back to Europe, which had
devastating effects there. The exchange of rampant disease was a two-way road.
One of the most devastating diseases was smallpox, but other deadly diseases included typhus, measles, influenza, bubonic plague, cholera, malaria,
tuberculosis, mumps, yellow fever, and pertussis (whooping cough), which were chronic in Eurasia. The indigenous Americas also had a number of endemic
diseases, such as tuberculosis and an unusually virulent type of syphilis, which soon became rampant when brought back to the Old World.
I'm not saying wars and massacres didn't occur - they did. But they were certainly not as large as the ones committed by some of the more notorious
figures in history. (Ex: Hitler/Stalin) One of the more notable massacres was only about 5,000 people. A massive number, yes, but a drop in the ocean
compared to quite a few other 20-year-long genocidal campaigns.
While some California tribes were settled on reservations, others were hunted down and massacred by 19th century American settlers. It is estimated
that some 4,500 people of the Population of Native California suffered violent deaths between 1849 and 1870.
Eugenics and ethnic cleansing are irrefutably terrible - but try to bare in mind that these concepts were being practiced at a time when they couldn't
be refuted by DNA evidence.
As for me personally.. I'm Irish-American and my ancestors were imported to America as unwilling slaves. Later, some of them would become civil war
POW's who fought for the Union. I certainly will not accept the blame which a portion of my fellow Americans intend to place onto my shoulders.
Obviously a great wrong was done to the Native Americans that can never be made up for but it is my personal belief that the best course of action is
to let the past remain in the past. The wounds inflicted will heal with time, assuming the damage is reversible. Shaming (include self-shaming) is
productive and helpful to no one.
(All quotes come from wiki
edit on 5-8-2013 by
HairlessApe because: (no reason given)