Report: Indigenous Genocide Led to Climate Change

Columbus’ arrival started the genocide of indigenous peoples.

A new report says that the “Little Ice Age” that occurred in the 1600s resulted from the Native American genocide that followed Christopher Columbus and the arrival of European settlers, according a story published by CNN today.

European settlers killed 56 million indigenous people over about 100 years in South, Central and North America, causing large swaths of farmland to be abandoned and reforested, researchers at University College London, or UCL, estimate. The increase in trees and vegetation across an area the size of France resulted in a massive decrease in carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, according to the study.

Carbon levels changed enough to cool the Earth by 1610, researchers found.

Click on the link for more details. Here’s another version from the BBC. Continue reading

The Modoc Indians’ Last Stand

Passing along a little known piece of history of Native American genocide, this one about the Modoc Indians’ Last Stand in northern California.

This story might be new to most, but the pattern is all too familiar: 1) Exposure to new diseases kills off many Modoc. 2) Settlers take Modoc lands. 3) Setters treat the Modoc as savages, killing them on various pretexts. 4) The inevitable U.S. government treaty forces them onto unfamiliar lands. 5) Desperate for their homeland, they try to return. 6) Their desire to be home triggers a war. 7) The Modoc suffer military defeat, further banishment, and loss of language and culture.

The California Sun wrote a very readable piece on this history. With the California Gold rush flooding the state with settlers and new diseases reducing the Modoc population by more than 80 percent, the Modoc signed a treaty forcing them to merge with the Klamath Nation in Oregon. The Modoc got homesick and tried to return to California, only to be met with military resistance. (The resulting fighting gets called the “Modoc War” as if the Modoc were the belligerents.)

While outnumbered, the Modoc’s knowledge of the local lava beds, they have enough of a military advantage to force treaty talks. President Grant sent Maj. Gen. Edward Canby to negotiate. When it became clear that the United States would not allow them to stay in California, Chief Kintpuash shot Canby dead during the peace talks.

More fighting follows, and Army reinforcements finally defeated the Modoc. Kintpuash was caught and hanged.

The rest of the Modoc were exiled to Oklahoma, where 200 descendants still live today. According to the story, “They reintroduced bison to the prairie and started a casino in the late 1990s. Their Modoc language and culture were largely forgotten.”

Click here for the story.

Here’s a link on the Modoc War

Mazinaateseg!, Indigenous Renaming, and This Day in History: Two Native Americans Help Raise Flags Over Iwo Jima

Upcoming Event: Anishinabe Film Series

Come and enjoy the next installment of the Augsburg Native American Film Series as Elizabeth Day and Heid E. Erdrich host an evening of short films by Anishinabe film makers. (BTW, Mazinaateseg is Anishinabe for “It’s a movie.”)

The event is free and open to the public. It will be held Wednesday, March 9, at Sateren Auditorim on the Augsburg Campus, 715 22nd Ave South, Minneapolis. A talk with students begins at 5 p.m., followed by a reception from 6:15-6:45 p.m.

Short and animated films will start at 7 p.m.: “Advice To Myself 2: Resistance,” by Elizabeth Day and Heid E. Erdrich; “Gaa-ondinang Dakwaanowed Makwa” (How the bear got a short tail) by Elizabeth Day and Jonathan Thunder; and “The Path Without End,” by Elizabeth LaPensée. Continue reading