Did whites steal Native American land?

Copyright 2010 by John T. Reed All rights reserved
It has become fashionable and politically correct for whites to beat themselves up for having stolen the land of Native Americans when we arrived in the Western hemisphere. In ultra liberal places like Berkeley, CA—about 20 miles from my house, they call Columbus Day Indigenous Peoples Day and we are supposed to feel bad on Thanksgiving because the Indians were so nice to the Pilgrims, then we stole their land.

Excuse me.

‘Not their way’

The Native Americans did not have deeds to any land in North America. Readers will say well, that was not “their way.”

Oh, and what, pray tell, was “their way?”

Violent conquest

In fact, “their way” was violent conquest. In other words, they operated almost exactly like modern-day street gangs. They had their territory. They sought to expand it and did so by murdering neighboring (streetless at the time) street gangs—bashing heads with tomahawks, stabbing, shooting arrows into vital organs. They were also into kidnapping. Just a lovely group of innocent primitives before the evil white man arrived and corrupted them.

That was also the way of our European ancestors. It was “their way” for everybody on earth thousands of years ago when there were no countries, only tribes. Then there became two ways: violent conquest of nations by other nations coinciding with deeds supported by the rule of law within each country.

And that was the situation in the 1400s, 1500s, 1600s, 1700s and 1800s in the whole world.

In other words, the Native American way, violent conquest by tribes, was everybody’s “way” thousands of years ago. And it was their way AND partially our way between when Columbus discovered America in 1492 and around 1900.

When we arrived in the western hemisphere, the only way of acquiring land was violent conquest. That was the Native American way everywhere in the hemisphere. There was no rule of law.

And to the early European visitors to America, that was also their way with regard to foreign lands. When an Indian tribe wanted land, they just took it from another Indian tribe, or tried to. Europeans did the same with regard to land outside the borders of their own rule-of-law country.

So Native Americans have no complaint about how whites took their land before 1900. Those whites were just following the “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” rule.

We won

The real complaint of the American Indians is not that we used violent conquest to take their land, but that we won. Hell, winning is how they got it before we got here.

As soon as they saw we were winning, they suddenly wanted to do things our way, that is, get deeds.

And so they did, to reservations. They still have them.

Seems like the whites could have said, “No. You guys were OK with violent conquest before we started winning the battles. We are OK with violent conquest as a way of acquiring foreign lands like America.

“We’re happy with your violent conquest approach, thank you. If you want a deed, join our side, get a job or otherwise earn some money then buy some land like we do.”

The Civilized Tribes

Here is a quote from Wikipedia about the Five Civilized tribes:

The Five Civilized Tribes were the five Native American nations: the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole, which were considered civilized by Anglo-European settlers during the colonial and early federal period because they adopted many of the colonists’ customs and had generally good relations with their neighbors.

Isn’t that a nice story? You would think a liberal would like it. Among the customs they adopted were working at jobs and buying farms and businesses. In other words, they got deeds.

Trail of Tears

True, the Cherokees had their deeds taken away and were forced to leave the East Coast and walk to Oklahoma in the Trail of Tears—even though they sued (very liberal) and won at the U.S. Supreme Court level. But generally, the Indians who switched to the rule of law, rather than the rule of ancient conquest, got to keep their deeded land.

The deeds to reservations essentially recognize, and convert to rule of law, successful violent conquests by American Indians from before the white-man days. Arguably, the various Indian tribes could claim that their lands were stolen from them by other Indian tribes before the White man arrive. Why don’t they? Double standard. We white men know that well. Basically, everyone wants the rule that maximizes their amount of land, e.g., first come first served; high-water mark of their group’s conquests; tribal territory the day before the white men took some of it; etc.

That’s a bunch of pure selfishness and the notion that it is morally superior is equally pure liberal bullshit!

By the way, I am part Cherokee.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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