Re: Native American Populations

Lee Sultzman (
Fri, 23 Dec 1994 22:44:20 GMT

War is never trivial, especially to the people who are killed, and as an instrument of genocide, it has been an all-too-common human activity, the practice of which has not been limited only to Europeans. You are free to take this discussion wherever you wish, but the main direction of this thread seems to have been the question of intentional use of germ warfare against Native Americans.

Turning to a old Eurocentric legal concept, the burden of proof in a dispute falls to the accuser. Actually, the presumption that this is a uniquely European concept is the Eurocentric part of this statement, because the wisdom of this requirement has always been accepted by many peoples, including Native Americans. Without this, the accused would be forced to prove his innocence or, better yet, prove a negative...that he is not guilty.

For this reason Barbara's question, "what evidence is there that these diseases were 'INADVERTENTLY brought with them'?" was a little unfair, since it requires proof that the epidemics were NOT intentionally transferred. Further on in her post is the standard "Have you stopped beating your wife question:" "At what point were TB invested blankets found to be the cause of native american deaths? When the cause was discovered, how long before the practice of giving such blankets to native americans subsided?"

There is natural hesitancy to respond to questions of this nature, but fools rush in. Now this discussion is rapidly deteriorating into a battle of distortion and innuendo, while straying from the original subject. In the face of the serious accusations that you folks are making, the burden should be on you to provide the proof, and it is not unreasonable or ethnocentric for rest of us to ask for the facts that support your conclusions.

Regarding intentional biochemical warfare, many of us have been unable to find solid evidence. This doesn't mean that there isn't any, or we haven't tried. A lot of rumor, but nothing you can sink your teeth into. Please don't consider my requests for places and dates as a personal challenge. They are NOT meant to be confrontational. If your research has uncovered such evidence, or if Barbara has some good material on Jesuit involvement, I would be very interested. As a matter of fact, I would be grateful!
If you have access to tribal oral histories that you are willing to share, beautiful. The level of our conversations on this subject will get a serious upgrade as a result, and maybe we can all learn something.

Please respond by either posts to this newsgroup or by direct e-mail to Meanwhile Christmas is here with "peace on earth and goodwill towards men." Not a bad thought regardless of your religious persuasion.
Enjoy the Holidays