This looks like a good’un! Real News interview in 3 parts (two up for now, will post the third when it arrives) with historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz:
and here’s a decent review:
The part I found most interesting was her explanation for how the first European settlers repeated the same kind of patterns of colonial exploitation practiced in Ireland (and, I assume, other ‘internal colonies’ like Wales, Scotland, Cornwall, and probably other regions under the other colonial powers of Europe). It sounds like not only the oppressors carried on the same work with the Native Americans, but even the oppressees turned on them, failing to see any cause for solidarity in their own history. It’s like the way child abuse gets passed down from generation to generation (see Alice Miller & others). From the review:
European ideas of property also played a crucial role in the colonization of the Americas. Peasantry dispossessed of land and livelihood, especially in British occupied Ireland, comprised the rank-and-file of newcomers who came to make a life of their own. They had little choice in the matter when faced with the alternative of starvation and death at home. With them also came soldier settlers, or Ulster-Scots, who were seasoned and violent settlers in the colonization of Northern Ireland. They also brought the practice of scalping, which they first used on the Irish, and the tools of colonization necessary for violent war making against Indigenous peoples. These Scots-Irish settlers formed the wall of colonization as both fodder for the â€œIndian Warsâ€ and as militant settlers who pushed frontier boundaries. They willingly or unwillingly cleared the way for â€œcivilizationâ€ by transforming the land into real estate. The myth was born that white European civilization was â€œcommanded by God to go into the wilderness to build the new Israelâ€ and â€œentitled to the land through their blood sacrifice.â€ (55)
(It was also news to me that scalping was (originally?) a European practice. Bloody savages, eh?)
Also good to see is a challenge to the historians who put the greatest emphasis on epidemic disease as the major cause for the demise of Indian societies:
Dunbar-Ortiz works against the so-called â€œterminal narrativesâ€ to which many U.S. historians subscribe, that Indigenous population decline was mainly due to biological factors such as disease. Conveniently absent from these narratives is over three centuries of colonial warfare waged against Indigenous peoples. â€œCommonly referred to as the most extreme demographic disasterâ€”framed as naturalâ€”in human history,â€ Dunbar-Ortiz writes, â€œit was rarely called genocide.â€ (40)
I like her style: such devastating analysis presented quietly, unassumingly from such a small frame! We need more warriors like that.