Yesterday I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, “American History Tellers” and the episode was on Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of the United States. Jackson was a murderous enslaver and impeccable white supremacist without a doubt; the record clearly states his killings, brutal treatment of slaves, and authorization of violence, genocide, and land theft against indigenous peoples.
The genocide of indigenous people and land theft in America is a deep-seated tragedy that has been largely forgotten or overlooked. It is estimated that upwards of 95% of the indigenous population was killed or relocated from their ancestral homelands due to these acts of violence and land theft.
Colonizers falsely believed in the Doctrine of Discovery and Manifest Destiny and used these ideas to justify their acts. As I listened to the podcast about Jackson, who signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and nearly 70 removal treaties during his presidency, many of which were bogus because they weren’t signed by official tribal leadership, I realized how difficult it is for me to grasp the scope of terror (including exploiting native workers for labor, killing off their food sources, and introducing infectious diseases.) employed in the name of white supremacy and capitalism.
So I turned to two resources shared with me by friends years ago, that I’d like to share with you today:
Invasion of America: This ArcGIS map outlines tribal lands across the states and links to the treaties used to justify the takeover of the land by the United States.
History Through a Native Lens: This comprehensive, easy-to-follow timeline by Dr. Karina Walters is part of a joint project by Native Americans in Philanthropy and Candid is extremely helpful in getting a sense of the scope of harm that was inflicted on indigenous people, land, and culture.
These resources immediately counter the narrative that the establishment of the US was organic and illustrate the intentional acts of deceit, hostility, and murder. The consequences of these acts were and continue to be devastating for indigenous folks. Yet, the story is not over. There are indigenous organizations fighting to protect their land from encroachment, regain land that was stolen from them, build sovereign food systems, and acquire the rights and resources long indebted to them by federal, state, and local governments.
I hope you find these two resources helpful! More to come!