• President Obama Quote

    And just as we identify with the victims, it's also important for us I think to remember that the perpetrators of such evil were human, as well, and that we have to guard against cruelty in ourselves. -President Obama after his speech Buchenwald concentration camp
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The Next Section of my draft

Now that it can be seen how each of these examples came to be, it is possible to dissect each and show how the Holocaust and Rwanda are examples of fast genocide and Native America is an example of genocide over a period of time. This will show that genocide can have the same core characteristics while looking completely different from each on another at face value. The difficulty with showing examples of genocide in Native America, however, is that there is a lack of information and a great deal of the information is biased. The work that is impartial is very intriguing and will be the basis for most of the information. What will be exposed is not something that many American historians want to admit but will surely show that every nation is capable of genocide.

Throughout the history of the “American West”, there are many examples of American settlers engaging in battle against “hostile peoples” but what is left out is what party started the conflict. What is commonly understood is that the indigenous peoples were combative and hostile but not the other way around. Scholars such as Brenden Rensink, Karl Jacoby, Rob Harper and others contradict the ignorant stereotype that many have come to accept. In an article by Brenden Rensink on the Sand Creek Massacre, he points out that after the massacre was all over one could see the “killing and mutilation of many women, children, and elderly individuals” (Rensink p. 9). This is just one example of the countless killings that happened throughout the Western front. Another example can be seen in the writings of Karl Jacoby. He points out the idea of “extermination”. What was involved with this type genocide was “a policy of killing whatever ‘Apaches’ they encountered on their patrols” (Jacoby p. 253). The mindset was simply the land that the Native Americans had was rightfully the settlers and they took it however they could. Jacoby goes further to show that the brutal killings were “intended to demonstrate the Apache’s subhuman status” and ease the minds of those who committed the atrocities (Jacoby, p. 254). This bestialization troubled the settlers too because it diminished “settlers’ ongoing struggle over the borderlands into…an unequal contest between humans and lesser animals” (Jacoby, p. 256). This was the paradox that was built. Regardless of how the settlers felt, the process of extermination continued. The atrocities committed in the Ohio Valley show the same ideas with a bit of a twist. Rob Harper exposes the notion that when there was little or not government support, there was less violence at the start of the genocides, but later that did not matter because it became an issue of land once again (Harper, p. 235-38). All three of these examples shed a small light on the issue at hand but portray the broader spectrum very well. Another issue is historical denial. Karl Jacoby sheds light on the “extermination” of the Native peoples but also exposes the denial in American histories:

“Indeed, it is revealing to note that as much as the recent flowering of academic histories from Native American scholars foregrounds the brutalities visited upon their communities, this literature seldom employs genocide as a way to describe the violence of the past, favouring instead less charged terms such as colonialism” (Jacoby, p.251)

It is this lack of responsibility for atrocities committed that is disheartening.


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