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The Myth of the 'Stolen Country'   America - all of it

Started Sep-26 by Apollonius (Theocritos); 132 views.

The myth of the ‘stolen country' - Jeff Fynn-Paul, The Spectator, 23 September 2020


As this piece was going to press, an article was published by the BBC on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower. After pretending neutrality at the beginning of the piece, the author launched with relish into all the worst possible assertions that can be levied against the Plymouth colonists. He implied that they were slave owners, when in fact, only a single Plymouth colonist is documented as having owned a slave. He implied that Plymouth ran on dirty money from the African slave trade, which is likewise almost entirely false. He mentioned every instance that can be found of colonists murdering Indians, and the image accompanying the article showed a representation of a native who was mutilated by colonists.

The article steadfastly refuses to mention any mitigating factors. It says nothing about massacres perpetrated by Native Americans on colonists, or on each other. It says nothing about generations of realpolitik which saw alliances between any and all groups at various times. It says nothing about opportunism on both sides, let alone friendship, or love. It perniciously implies that any such friendships and/or sexual relationships must have been tainted by violence or some sort of racist original sin, in which Native Americans were always victims or dupes. It does not mention that the colonists usually attempted to purchase land from local chiefs. Nor does our BBC article mention the disease which had wiped out over 90 per cent of the Native Americans who lived on the site of the Plymouth colony in the year before the Mayflower landed (the disease had been brought by fishermen, who had been sailing off Massachusetts for generations). Or the fact that the Plymouth colonists’ main economic plan was to trade peacefully with the Native Americans for furs, until this was disrupted by the bad behavior of English colonists at a neighboring site. It does not mention that the Plymouth colonists had indentured themselves to the Merchant Adventurers, merely to pay for their own passage. They were, quite literally, economic slaves themselves, and desperately in debt. The article in question says nothing about how Plymouth authorities sometimes hanged Englishmen, or hunted down English fugitives, in order to demonstrate to their Native American allies that they took crimes against them seriously. Nor would the author dare to address the fact that the protestant dissenters of Massachusetts were intellectual ancestors of the global abolitionist movement which he and most of his fellows now take for granted, and give European culture zero credit for.

The question becomes, what good purpose does this calumny against the Pilgrims and other European colonists really serve? I ask this question in good faith. What myth about the Pilgrims needs tearing down with such one-sided ferocity? During the Cold War and the Gulf Wars, liberal historians called out excessive nationalism and jingoism, based on the legitimate fear that military types might start a war for no good reason. (In the case of Gulf War Two, they apparently did.) So there is always a place for liberal critique within history. But on this issue, it’s more difficult to see the value of Pilgrim-bashing to today’s Native Americans, apart from making them bitter and resentful, and everyone else feel guilty and ashamed. There are after all very few Native Americans who identify as such; they are generally not subject to racism in the way that, say, African Americans are, most are mixed race anyway, and most of them do not live on reservations. Many who do, are better off than many other Americans. So what grievances are pieces like the BBC story really addressing? In Canada, I am aware that there are serious social grievances on some reservations, particularly in the far north, but it seems as though the Canadian government has gone a long way in recent decades to address these in a reasonable manner, by allowing Native American representatives to guide and execute policy as much as possible. Should this not be applauded and supported?

And whenever there are real grievances such as these, do we need to rewrite the entire history of European-Native relations in the most negative possible light in order to address them? Peel back the veneer, and we often find well-meaning white middle-class writers, whose cries of victimization bespeak an essentializing racialism that they don’t even recognize themselves. Would it not be more productive to be more nuanced, to acknowledge that there have been points of goodwill, friendship, positive communication and — shudder the thought — even mutual benefit, since the very beginning?

The real reason to perpetuate such a disastrously one-sided view, it seems, is if one is in a tiny minority of activists who has ‘drunk the kool-aid’ of cultural Marxism — an ideology bent on bringing maximum embarrassment to capitalism, democracy, Western civilization and Europeans in general, in the vain hope that this will somehow bring about a sort of…what? Revolution? Really? Let’s not be naive. The only reason to be this consistently, this unreasonably angry about things which happened centuries ago, is if one sees the entirety of experience through the lens of perpetual racism and victimization, and crucially, if one does not believe in the power of democracy to correct these wrongs.

At base, such people do not
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For those who are willing to look at the facts this article, though fairly long, barely brushes the surface of how radically biased reporting of history and current events relating to America's and Canada's indigenous peoples are concerned.

To take but a few examples:  How many books and articles have you read which describe the Salem witch trials?  Probably at least a few and many are written every year.  

How much knowledge do you have about the way Indians treated witches?  More were tortured and killed in one year by indigenous peoples than in the entire history of colonial America.

What about slavery?  Most Native American cultures were slave societies.  Even Canada's extremely primitive northern hunters kept slaves, but many of the more sophisticated tribes living in southern areas were slave societies in the true sense of the word.  In my area (the Northwest Coast) thirty percent of the population was composed of slaves, most of the rest commoners, with a few elite title-holders owning almost all the property and controlling all aspects of ordinary peoples' lives.

How about the condition of women?  Quite contrary to absurd reports one hears about how they lived in matriarchal societies, the truth is that even in (rare) matrilineal societies like the Iroquois, women were definitely not in control.   They planted crops; the men went hunting or off to war (it's a stubborn fact that many societies which give women a fair degree of freedom are the most warlike of all, c.f., ancient Sparta).  

You probably don't want to hear what happened to prisoners of war (and Native Americans were perpetually at war, with incidence of violence on a per capita basis superseding the totals for the most horrific wars of the twentieth century).     Tribal societies typically killed all or most the adult males, and kept the women as concubines.  Small children were sometimes spared to be raised as warriors or domestics.

The mentally ill?  File this under witchcraft, with appropriate torture.

There's a lot of junk out there posing as having something to do with anthropology and history.  Our corporate media is good at promoting it.  For those seriously interested in the subject there are hundreds (more like thousands) of outstanding ethnographies, journals, and books which will introduce the reader to real scholarship.  I suggest you skip the BBC and similar racist drivel and devote yourself to these.

Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


Humans in general can be a pretty crappy species.