Steven Newcomb: Conspiracy in treatment of American Indians

"Having given the subject of conspiracy a great deal of thought, it recently occurred to me that the history of U.S. Indian policy provides a great deal of evidence about white men conspiring (planning) to eliminate American Indians. Take the example of Thomas Jefferson’s plan, expressed in a private letter to Northwest Territory Governor William Henry Harrison, regarding the use of trading posts. What did Jefferson propose? Simple: “…we shall push our trading houses, and be glad to see the good and influential individuals among them run in debt, because we observe that when these debts get beyond what the individuals can pay, they become willing to lop them off by a cession of lands.”

What long term goal did Jefferson have in mind? “In this way our settlements will gradually circumscribe and approach the Indians, and they will in time either incorporate with us as citizens of the United States, or remove beyond the Mississippi.” Jefferson saw the first idea (to “incorporate with us as citizens”) as resulting “certainly the termination of their history most happy for themselves…”

In other words, in the event that the Indians became merged “as citizens” into the body politic of the United States, Jefferson envisioned a time when our nations and peoples would no longer exist. How curious that Jefferson saw the prospect of Indians no longer existing as a “happy for themselves.”"

Get the Story:
Steven Newcomb: On Conspiracy, Part 1 (Indian Country Today 6/25)

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Steven Newcomb: Dehumanization of Indian people in California (6/20)
Steven Newcomb: Rethinking notions behind federal Indian laws (6/8)
Steven Newcomb: California tribes still not treated with respect (5/30)
Steven Newcomb: Anti-terror law threatens indigenous rights (5/1)

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