Saturday, September 15, 2018

There is a Tendency to Portray a Callous Disregard for the Indians as General to White Americans

I have long noticed in reading 19th century newspapers descriptions of crimes against the Indians that are clearly sympathetic to them and hostile to these crimes.  Example: 4/28/1849 Placer [Cal.] Times:
It is not long since an Indian ranchoria near Bear Creek was pounced upon by a small party of whites, and twenty-five of the unsuspecting inmates, of both sexes taken and cruelly murdered.
As the article explained it, this was revenge for thefts committed by other Indians in the area.  A few murders by Indians had led to indiscriminate slaughter of Indians by whites.  The editorial counselled against this refusal to limit retribution on actual guilty individuals, both because it would generate a series of progressively less careful retaliatory strikes on both sides, and because:
What we most desire to impress upon the minds of our countrymen, however, is a more humane and christianized course of action. It does not become us, enlightened Americans of the nineteenth century, to sally forth against a weak and ignorant people, burn their villages, butcher women and children and return at night with our saddle horns loaded with scalps!

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