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Randall Davis Barfield

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Heroes such as Lincoln and others
1/20/2010 7:12:13 AM
I don't have many earthly heroes nowadays, since I am now "mature" in my life. However, Abe Lincoln has always been one of my top heroes along with Gandhi and a few others. I asked this question on Yahoo Answers recently- Did Abe Lincoln, in his soldier days, participate in the eradication of Native Americans?- and this is perhaps the best and certainly the longest answer I received. I tend to believe it, although we must keep in mind the period. At that time Native Americans were, along with African Americans and perhaps others, "inferior" to European-born people and their descendants. It's just the way the mindset of the majority was. It doesn't mean, necessarily, that Lincoln was a man void of compassion. Still, it's a negative mark on his record. Makes one afraid to ask a question about Washington!!!



Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
EVERY single president is called in my language "Destroyer of towns" for a reason. they have ALL had a hand in the destruction of native people. and unless obama makes changes, he too will wear that name.

In 1862, the Santee Sioux of Minnesota grew tired of waiting for the 1.4 million dollars they had been promised for the sale of 24 million acres of land to the federal government in 1851. Appeals to President Lincoln fell on deaf ears. What made this even more egregious to the Sioux was the invasion of this yet unpaid for land by thousands of white settlers. Then, with a very poor crop in august of 1862, many of the Indians were hungry and facing starvation with the upcoming winter.

When Lincoln outright refused to pay the owed money, remember he had a war to finance the Indians revolted. Lincoln assigned General John Pope to quell the uprising and he (Pope) announced at the beginning of his campaign: "It is my purpose to utterly exterminate the Sioux. They are to be treated as maniacs or wild beasts, and by no means as people with whom treaties or compromise can be made." Lincoln certainly did not challenge this statement.

The Indians were quickly defeated in October of 1862 and Pope herded all the Indians, men, women and children, into forts where military trials were immediately convened. None of the Indians tried were given any semblance of a defense. Their trials lasted approximately 10 minutes each. All adult males were found guilty of murder and sentenced to death with the only evidence against them being they had been present during a "war" which they themselves had declared against the government.

The authorities in Minnesota asked Lincoln to order the immediate execution of all 303 males found guilty. Lincoln was concerned with how this would play with the Europeans, whom he was afraid were about to enter the war on the side of the South. He offered the following compromise to the politicians of Minnesota: They would pare the list of those to be hung down to 39. In return, Lincoln promised to kill or remove every Indian from the state and provide Minnesota with 2 million dollars in federal funds. Remember, he only owed the Sioux 1.4 million for the land.

So, on December 26, 1862, the Great Emancipator ordered the largest mass execution in American History, where the guilt of those to be executed was entirely in doubt. Regardless of how Lincoln defenders seek to play this, it was nothing more than murder to obtain the land of the Santee Sioux and to appease his political cronies in Minnesota.

Lincoln's western armies, using the tactics of murder, rape, burning and pillaging, simultaneously being used against Southern noncombatants by the eastern armies, turned their attention to the Navajos.

In 1863-64, General Carleton and his subordinate, Colonel Kit Carson, invaded the Navajo land, especially those concentrated in the Canyon de Chelly area. Crops were burned, innocents were murdered, women were raped and general chaos was rained upon these noble people simply because, like the Santee Sioux, they demanded from Lincoln what they had been promised; their land and to be left alone. General Carleton, believing there was gold to be found in the area, stated: "This war, will be pursued against you if it takes years until you cease to exist or move." Again, there was no protest of this policy from Lincoln, his Commander in Chief.

The Navajo were forced to march over 300 miles to Bosque Redondo in eastern New Mexico. Over 200 Navajos died on this march and, eventually, over 2,000 perished before a treaty was signed in 1868. While at Bosque Redondo, the Navajo suffered the vilest conditions; bitter water, no firewood and impossible growing conditions for crops. The soldiers and the Mexican guards subjected the women to rape and humiliating treatment. Children born at this "concentration camp" were lucky to survive their first few months of life.

Lincoln's policies of taxpayer-supported railroads would lead, not only to the attempted annihilation of the Indian, but to tremendous scandals in the administration of another of Lincoln's war criminals, Ulysses S. Grant. Grant, like Lincoln, handed out his "political plum" appointments of Indian Agent to cronies who proceeded to gain tremendous wealth by selling supplies and stealing money that should have gone to the Indians.
Source(s):
mohawk


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More Blogs by Randall Davis Barfield
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