A new article at AI/AN Attack the System highlights how the US Government subdued American Indians across the North American continent: through the destruction of our economic bases, in this case, buffalo.
Genocide by Other Means: U.S. Army Slaughtered Buffalo in Plains Indian Wars
General William Tecumseh Sherman, who had broken the back of the South during the Civil War with his ruthless March to the Sea, helped negotiate the Fort Laramie and 1867 Medicine Lodge treaties that were supposed to end U.S. hostilities with northern and southern tribes. But that’s when officers started thinking about a new strategy. Sherman knew that during the Civil War the Confederates’ means and will to fight were extinguished by his brutal—and brutally effective—”scorched earth” policy that decimated the infrastructure of the South. Why couldn’t the same strategy be applied to Indians and their buffalo? Greymorning said, “The government realized that as long as this food source was there, as long as this key cultural element was there, it would have difficulty getting Indians onto reservations.
Isenberg said, “Some Army officers in the Great Plains in the late 1860s and 1870s, including William Sherman and Richard Dodge, as well as the Secretary of the Interior in the 1870s, Columbus Delano, foresaw that if the bison were extinct, the Indians in the Great Plains would have to surrender to the reservation system.” Colonel Dodge said in 1867, “Every buffalo dead is an Indian gone,” and Delano wrote in his 1872 annual report, “The rapid disappearance of game from the former hunting-grounds must operate largely in favor of our efforts to confine the Indians to smaller areas, and compel them to abandon their nomadic customs.”
This flies in the face of the myth that settler’s were simply peacefully homesteading unclaimed and unused land. On the contrary, it took an active military campaign with a scorched earth policy executed by the largest empire this world has ever seen to dislodge the Plains Indians from their homelands. The conquest of North America represented large scale race replacement and genocide.
Today we are confined to reservations. The white man is here to stay. The white man as a whole is not our enemy, as their existence as our neighbors is largely peaceful. Rather, the enemy continues to be the institution that cleared the way for white settlement; the same institution that continues to oppress us through theft of resources, destruction of our traditional way of life, and brainwashing of our children: the US Government, the BIA, and any and every Federal department that maintains a presence on our lands. Include on that list any corporate entity that collaborates with federal or state authorities to plunder our lands and people.