Steven Newcomb: No 'justice' with domination of Indian nations

"It dawned on me recently that the title of Lewis Hanke’s classic book, The Spanish Struggle for Justice in the Conquest of America (1949), makes no sense. As is customary with scholars of the era of “discovery,” Hanke used the phrase, “the Conquest,” which is commonly found in the records of the Archives of the Indies in Seville, Spain. In part, this phrase was based on the view of the Christian World (“Christendom”) that a successful “conquest” resulted in “the conqueror” obtaining a title-deed of dominion or dominium to the “conquered” country.

Given that dominion, dominium, conquer, conqueror, and conquest are other names for “domination,” the meaning embedded in Hanke’s title is clarified when it is accurately reexpressed as “The Spanish Struggle for Justice in the Domination of America.”

Hanke’s book would have us believe that during the so-called Age of Discovery, the society of Spain was facing a moral dilemma; she was struggling for “justice” in the midst of her military and missionary efforts to conquer American Indian nations and societies, and the lands belonging to those nations and societies. Because of his chosen terminology of conquest, Hanke made it impossible for the reader to ever grasp the issue of domination to be found in the history he was writing about."

Get the Story:
Steven Newcomb: Is There a ‘Just’ Form of Domination? (Indian Country Today 8/30)

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