Holocaust of Native Americans: 65 Million and Counting*
By Wayne Madsen
When it comes to holocausts of a people, the multi-century genocide of the Native Americans of North and South America ranks as the largest in human history. The Smithsonian Institution’s Native American museum on the Washington, DC Mall proclaims that 65 million Native Americans died from genocidal practices of Western colonizers from the time of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas in 1492 to the 19th century.
From the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego, Native Americans were depopulated by the purposeful introduction of diseases and forced famine, non-native diseases causing epidemics, forced migration, and warfare. Certain groups that believe they hold some sort of copyright on the use of the terms «holocaust» and «genocide» have downplayed the extermination of the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere. For example, Jewish Holocaust scholar Guenter Lewy has dismissed the genocide of the Native Americans as not a crime against humanity but simply a «tragedy».
For the Native Americans who continue to fight for their rights, some guaranteed by international treaties signed between nations like the United States and Canada with so-called «Indian nations,» what became of their peoples and way of life is not a mere «tragedy», as apologists for colonialism and genocide against peoples of colour like Lewy would have people believe. If one were to believe that the crimes against the Native Americans constitute genocide, then there is every reason to believe that the crimes of Israel against the Palestinian people are also genocide. Lewy, and he is by no means alone in his beliefs, also discounts the genocide of the Armenians by the secular Young Turks, the Roma people by the Nazis, and the Cambodian people by the U.S.-supported Khmer Rouge regime. Those who rewrite history in order to gloss over the crimes against the Native Americans have succeeded by exercising tight control over book publishing, print periodicals, television, and Hollywood’s production of fiction and non-fiction films, as well as historical documentaries.
One person who understood the holocaust exacted against the Native American was the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. He was one of a rising number of Latin American leaders of native ancestry who opposed the hemisphere-wide celebrations of Christopher Columbus. Matched against the newly-emerging native American power movements in Latin America, including the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela and the Aymara Indian movement championed by President Evo Morales of Bolivia, is a United States that continues to celebrate a holiday in honour of Columbus, an Italian mercenary in the employment of the Spanish crown whose mercantilist brigands brought forth in the Western Hemisphere a six hundred year holocaust.
Some people in the United States want, at the very least, to celebrate October 12 as a dual-holiday: Columbus Day for those who want to celebrate the exploits of a genocidaire, and, as it is celebrated in Venezuela, a «Day of Indigenous Resistance» for those who want to remember the Holocaust of the native Americans. It is also important to note that for Africans, Columbus is also remembered as a slave trader employed by the Portuguese monarchy.
Today, the United States «celebrates» the native Americans by naming its sports teams «Washington Redskins» (Andrew Jackson, who graces the twenty dollar bill, and his army skinned native American males from the waist down and fashioned pants from their skin, i.e. «redskin pants») and «Cleveland Indians» (with the racist logo of bucked tooth native American). As Americans are treated to historical revisionism about the genocide of the Native Americans, the Jewish owners of the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians make handsome profits from their obscene continuance of Native American images and themes steeped in racism.
For some Americans, Native American reservations, themselves nothing more than a United States version of apartheid South Africa’s «Bantustans» for blacks, are now gambling meccas. Convicted Republican Party lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who employed every unscrupulous business tactic he could think of to maximize his profits from lobbying for Indian gaming and casinos, called his native American clients “monkeys” (his name for the Choctaw tribal council), “troglodytes,” “morons,” and “mofos.” Abramoff, who is Jewish, was a strong backer of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government and he even raised money for illegal West Bank settlers to purchase military equipment to be used against Palestinians.
President Chavez told the press in New York in 2009 that he once served as a Venezuelan military officer with a mission sent to Guatemala. There, he witnessed the local Guatemalan Special Forces, the School of the Americas-trained Kaibiles, boasting of their massacres of the native Mayan Indians. Chavez said he then realized that those were “my people” being killed by the Guatemalan military. Chavez said he vowed that the Native American people would no longer be subjected to such brutality and as President of Venezuela, Chavez made common cause with those Latin American leaders and groups that fought the neo-imperialism directed against the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere. And it is no coincidence that the only country in the Americas that is named after Columbus is Colombia, a narco-fascist-run nation that hosts seven U.S. military bases, courtesy of Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama.
It is also no coincidence that the Guatemalan Special Forces who massacred the Mayan Indians were supported by surveillance computers provided by the Israeli intelligence contractor Tadiran. During the 1980s, military hardware and weapons were supplied to Guatemala for the massacre of native Mayans – which the Guatemalans and Israelis called «pacification». The other chief providers of the tools of genocide to Guatemala were Israel Military Industries (IMI), which supplied war planes, armoured vehicles, and helicopters, and Eagle Israeli Armaments and Desert Eagle, the latter owned by a former Israeli paratrooper with ties to the MOSSAD. Also during the 1980s, Israeli merchants of death also made their way into Honduras and El Salvador where military equipment and training was provided to government-led «death squads». In Honduras, the Israeli firm Tahal set up electronic border and road barriers that were used to track many native peoples believed to be «enemies of the state». Among the chief victims of the genocide meted out in Central America, were native peoples of the two countries, as well as those of Nicaragua.
The United States continues to rely on a colonialist contrivance known as the «Bureau of Indian Affairs» to stymie the sovereignty and treaty rights of the Native American tribal nations. In Canada, the Stephen Harper government has waged a war on its «First Nations,» trying to roll back native land rights in favour of multinational oil and mining companies.
The United States, as shown by its willingness to imprison and harass leaders of the Lakotah Sioux tribe and others, has spit in the face of the 1832 ruling by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall in the case Worcester v. Georgia. Marshall ruled that «Indian Nations have always been considered as distinct, independent political communities, retaining their original natural rights, as the undisputed possessors of the soil… The very term «nation» so generally applied to them, means «a people distinct from others».
The United States continues to flout international law by restricting the sovereignty rights of the 562 federally-recognized tribes. There are more tribes but Washington determines what is and is not a recognized tribe. In 1973, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Marshals’ Service illegally invaded the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation belonging to the Oglala Sioux Nation of South Dakota. Leaders of the American Indian Movement were illegally prosecuted by federal authorities. Such aggression against the Native Americans has been repeated around the United States and Canada. Although their numbers are small after the multi-century Holocaust waged against them, Native Americans, especially those of the United States and Canada, deserve to be heard at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. No longer should the shameful history of the Holocaust of 65 million human beings, who for centuries had been considerate stewards over the land of the Western Hemisphere, be drowned out by the Native American Holocaust deniers.