Indianz.Com > News > Tim Giago: The silence of America’s genocidal past
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Notes from Indian Country
The silence of America’s genocidal past
Monday, April 26, 2021

The Jewish people have a saying that expresses their feelings about being marginalized by the United States. It goes, “What are we, chopped liver?”

I think this expression pretty much covers the understated history of the American Indian. “What are we, chopped liver?”

The lack of contact or knowledge of the Indian history in America was sadly overlooked when President Joe Biden said, “Each year on this day, we remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide and recommit ourselves to preventing such an atrocity from ever again occurring,” Mr. Biden said in a statement on Saturday. “We honor their story. We see that pain. We affirm the history. We do this not to cast blame but to ensure that what happened is never repeated.”

He is now being acclaimed as the first American President to publicly acknowledge this genocide against the Armenian people. He could well have been the first to ever acknowledge the genocide that took place in his own backyard: the genocide of millions of indigenous people in the Americas.

From the day the first settlers landed on this continent the genocide began. The settlers considered the indigenous people to be an obstruction to their expansion westward. What does one do with an obstruction? You destroy it. And so with the westward expansion came the everyday murders and military massacres of the indigenous people. From Sand Creek to Wounded Knee, thousands of Native Americans were massacred.

How man Natives were slaughtered in those early years of settlement? America’s history books are vague or totally noncommittal on the topic because it is an embarrassment to the holy history of the Founding Fathers.

Historian Jordan Tyler Quinn Farkas who studied world history at the Southern New Hampshire University said,” I really do not understand how people are still using all these old statistics that were obviously a cover up to the true amount of genocide carried out by the US government. If you are willing to put in hours of dedicated research I guarantee that you will find the numbers are two to three times higher than the 100 million that seems to be the magic number going around. I would personally estimate the true number of Native Americans killed in that 300 year time period as much closer to 300 million than ever being 100 million.

This includes towns and villages gunned down, reservations poisoned with rotten food and tainted meat, death by poisoned barrels of whiskey traded along the Mississippi river which were half and half rat poison and liquor, blankets sent to villages and reservations purposely laced with disease, hundreds of thousands murdered in boarding schools and much more than we are even aware of.

I hope that one day people will care enough to begin to uncover the factual numbers and quit parroting what they have heard from US institutes and schools which are all connected with the same government who carried out these atrocities. Of course they are hiding the true statistics. You cannot rely on murders and rapists to give a true count on how many they raped and murdered. That will never be accurate.”

The indigenous people have never forgotten the genocide carried out against their people since 1492. America’s history book are complicit in trying to portray an early America of peace loving Christians who were kind and benevolent to the indigenous population. Genocide, massacres and outright murders? Heaven to Betsy that any of these un-pleasantries should ever be taught in our schools.

Americans need to look inward and admit not only to themselves, but reflect it in their history books that genocide did take place on this continent and President Joe Biden needs to add this bit of history to his chastisement of the Egyptian Government that America is just as guilty of massacres and genocide as the Egyptian government. America’s hands are not clean and to point out the crimes of other Nation’s before admitting are own is repugnant.

President Biden should invite all of the leaders of the Native Nations to Washington and in full view of the rest of the world make a public apology from the country to the Native people for the genocide committed against their ancestors by the United States Government.

Despite all efforts to erase Natives from the face of this continent, we are still here. We have held to our culture and traditions in the face of the genocidal attempt to destroy us as a people.

We are waiting Mr. President because an apology for the attempted genocide of our people is just the beginning. But at least it would be a place to start.

Contact Tim Giago, Oglala Lakota, at Giago is the founder of the Native American Journalists Association and the recipient of the H. L. Mencken Award for editorial writing.

Note: Content © Tim Giago

Thumbnail photo of Rick Santorum by James Cullum