One of the worst terrorist attacks on American
soil happened back in the 1500s. A man named
Hernando De Soto went traipsing around the
Southeastern United States. He indiscriminately
enslaved, murdered, and raped countless Americans
(as back then, the general European name for
Natives was simply 'American'). His barbarity
was so cruel that his own men were apalled. But
they and many other Europens felt that killing
an American was no more than slaughtering a
cow or a dog. First of all they weren't Christian,
second of all they were living a stone age lifestyle.
When this sort of thing is taught in modern US
schools, it is spinned so that US children are taught
to hate the Spanish crown's imperialism of centuries
past. I cannot help but wonder if this was influenced
by the Spanish American war at the turn of the 19th-20th century,
when for us to be righteous the US must have been fighting
an evil enemy.
But, like the way British like to blame the Inquisition
on the Spanish, it is hypocrisy. Many years later
the English/German/Dutch/French/etc descendents in America
would practice their own form of conquistadorism, comitting countless terrorist
attacks against Native Americans in the name of religion
or greed or progress. These included invading
villages, killing civilians, torturing captives,
and sticking the enemies heads on pikes in the
Unsurprisingly, the Native Americans fought back. They
proved themselves just as capable of fighting
dirty as the Europeans, by invading towns,
killing civilians, torturing them, and mutilating
the dead. Unfortunately
this did not solve anything, rather it escalated
the situation such that general Euro-US opinion
of Natives was that of 'savage barbarians'. If
the standard news folks traveled back in time
to cover the stories they would probably call it
The height of these battles were in the
16-1800s. Modernly docile places like
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Massachusettes, Vermont,
Florida, Carolina, Upstate New York, etc, were racked with violence
and warfare. Towns were burned down. A single
murder could escalate into a few more murders in
retaliation, then a few more to retalite for
those, going back and forth between the combatant
parties until there was all out warfare.
Families would be woken
from sleep and then bloodily
slaughtered and mutilated.
Nobody felt safe or secure. They sought refuge from their pain
in racism, cultural superiority, and militarism.
Eventually, the problem was "solved", because
the European-US population managed to kill or
'remove' the vast majority of non-Europeans
to either the afterlife or to reservations
in the central US or in Canada.
Perhaps that is why the US does not like to talk
about this today, it reminds people of things
they would rather not think about.
Modern people feel no less a
sense of loss, hatred, and rage when they are
attacked with violence, such as on 9/11. The way they
deal with these feelings is not much different
from the way they did 300 years ago, either: racism, cultural superiority, and militarism.
One need look no further than the columns of
Ann Coulter to see all 3 wrapped up in a nice
neat bundle. Or scan one of the numerous headlines
that adopts a 'why do -they- hate -us-',
lumping the entire billion-plus world muslim population
in with a couple hundred al qaeda thugs. Or look
at the millions of US citizens who agree with
However, over time, many US citizens
had become quite ashamed of the history the US
has had with Native Americans. As time passes
and emotional wounds heal, people begin to
regret their actions (or even the actions of their
ancestors). They begin to ask 'why did this happen',
why were the Navajo or Cherokee decimated in forced
marches, why were old women and children killed
in some effort to 'civilize' the country?
Some of the answers were racism, cultural superiority,
, militarism, and greed. But if those were
the reasons that the US did evil back hundreds
of years ago, is the US now immune from
having those same feelings? And if not, is the US
not still capable of performing the same evils
as it did back then?
I believe this is why I have not heard much about
Native American history when I hear about the
history of terrorism on US soil. People
have found ways to deal with their pain, and
they do not want to search further for other
solutions. It is much easier to justify racism
and miliatrism than it is to search for alternatives.
Thus, since the US has in
general felt pretty good about winning WWII,
that is endlessly trotted out as an example
of why the US needs to become militaristic and
racist again. But the US has in recent years
had very mixed feelings about winning
all those other wars, the Narragansett war,
the Pequot war, the Beaver wars, Wounded Knee,
and countless other wars that don't even have names.
That is why the US cannot bring itself to
include these wars in the analysis of 'past terrorist
attacks on US soil'. It is just too painful.