Title of Course: Black History 201: The History of Haiti

Instructor: Mba Mbulu

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Class #3: Why Native Americans Failed To Successfully Defend Themselves Against White People, Part 3 [ Audio Version]

Read the Essay below. Be able to answer and expound on the following questions.


(1) Why had white people made war a science?
(2) When Native Americans did fight back against white people, how did their way of life handicap them?
(3) Did the Native Americans in the new world make up one nation or thousands of nations? How did this impact their ability to defend themselves against white people?
(4) What "unfortunate trends" of Native Americans doomed them in their confrontation with white power?

Class #3 Essay

White people had made a profession of dominating other people and taking other peoples' possessions. In order to effectively dominate and take what belonged to others, white people had to reduce war to a science, and they had to invent and develop weapons that would make them more militarily powerful than their victims. In the beginning of their history, white groups matched their war attitudes and weapons against each other. Later, as they ventured outside of Europe, they did the same against those non-white peoples. Because most non-white people had different concepts of the military and the use of weapons, they were not able to effectively defend themselves against white people.

Native Americans had no reason to suspect that human beings would attempt to take other people's land, viciously murder other people, deny other people the right to survive, etc. Once they came into contact with Europeans, their demise was just a matter of time.

When Native Americans did fight back, they did not develop a war plan that was geared toward a long, drawn out conflict. They couldn't develop such a plan for several reasons. First, the various Native American groups represented hundreds of Native American nations, some of which were historically hostile to each other and all of which were accustomed to self-government and inter-group or inter-tribal leadership. It is unrealistic to suppose that they should have been able to quickly unite amongst themselves against the whites who were invading the land they had shared for so long. Secondly, the Native Americans did not take the approach to war that whites took. This means that Native Americans failed to adequately determine who their enemy was. Instead of realizing that all white people were their enemies, Native Americans concluded that only the white people who were in direct conflict with their particular tribe were their enemies. This resulted in two unfortunate trends that worked against Native Americans.

Unfortunate trend number one was the tendency of Native Americans to befriend or help white people, enabling them to survive and many times helping to protect them against other Native American groups. Unfortunate trend number two was the tendency of Native Americans to form military alliances with one group of whites (the British, for example) against a different group of whites (the French, for example). Such military alliances meant that Native Americans in one section of the colonies were "allies" with the very white people who were massacring Native Americans and taking land from Native Americans in another section of the colonies. Such military alliances also gave the whites the opportunity to betray their Native American allies at critical times, particualrly on the battlefiled. Such betrayals usually resulted in the deaths of many brave and tactical Native American warriors. This also generated confusion that left Native Americans on guard against certain whites, while the whites were on guard against every Native American. Whites took the position that, regardless of how a few Native Americans acted in certain situations, all Native Americans were their enemies. If the Native Americans had taken the same attitude toward white people, the history of the Americas might have unfolded differently.

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