Letter: Native people were brutal savages

"Native Americans have much to be thankful for. Foremost, that they no longer live in brutally, misogynistic societies where women were treated as chattel. It was customary for an adulterous Paiute women to have her nose cut off for the offense. If she survived, her permanent disfigurement would lead to a life of ostracism and shame. The Pawnee practiced human sacrifice into the 1800s with women almost always being the victims. The youngest of twin girls would be left to die by Seminole families for fear that if allowed to live, she would take strength away from the father.

All tribes practiced kidnapping during raids, with some victims often living as virtual slaves for years before being formally accepted in the tribe. Torture was universally accepted among most tribes, with victims suffering for hours at the delight of their captors. Young children would be encouraged to participate, taking an active role in the torture. Cannibalism was practiced by some Great Lakes tribes.

These are but a few examples of a culture so far removed from our own that it is almost incomprehensible to modern people. Hundreds of tribes spoke different languages, lived in diverse geographical locations and had different customs and religious beliefs. Many of these were brutal to the extreme. These practices should not be used to justify the horror of European, and later U.S., treatment toward Native Americans, but they cannot be ignored either."

Get the Story:
Tom McGrath: Cannot ignore brutality of past [third letter] (The Battle Creek Inquirer 12/6)