I remember Alvin Josephy saying many times that the white liberals who had joined the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King did not understand the Indian situation. To paraphrase him, “As the Civil Rights movement gained strength and won some victories, white liberals thought they could just transfer ideas and tactics over to Indian affairs. But there was a fundamental difference. Indians didn’t want their ‘civil’ rights, but their ‘sovereignty,’ the treaty rights and at least some of the land that had been stolen from them.”
Another constant theme of Alvin’s: “From the beginning Indians had three choices: become white—assimilation; move, across the Mississippi, further west, to reservations—removal; or extermination.” From the beginning, Euro-Americans who wanted to treat Indians fairly often thought the best way to do so was to assimilate them. Their assumption was that Indians had lost the continent, white civilization was on the march, and Indians were obliged to join the parade. Alvin’s boss at Time Magazine, Henry Luce, thought Indians who resisted this maxim were “phonies,” and should just get on with adapting. Alice Fletcher, the famous “measuring woman” among the Nez Perce who had actually written some of the Dawes, or Allotment, Act, had in mind to make every Indian a Jeffersonian farmer. She appreciated Indian cultures—some of the ethnographic work she did among the Omaha and other Plains tribes on Indian songs and dances is still available in Dover Books. But the Indian solution, in her mind, was assimilation. The culture would go to textbooks and museums.
The American Indian and The Black African have totally different migration routes, they are not even remotely related. Migration from Asia – http://genetics.thetech.org/sites/default/files/migration.gif Migration from Africa – http://bridgingcultures.neh.gov/muslimjourneys/archive/files/b81f6b8fa95eca63521445c236d29317.jpg
No argument there. My post had to do with how Indians and African-Americans were treated by the white Europeans who began arriving–if you forget the Norse–in the fifteenth century. And of course, if we are talking genetics, the indigenous people of the Americas are ultimately of African origin. There is some interesting genetic information on this–and how it played out with introduced European diseases like smallpox and measles, in Charles Mann’s 1491: New revelations of the Americas before Columbus.
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