Native American Genocide  

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"Westerns lost their appeal in the seventies with the emergence of the younger "New Hollywood" audience, who were in the process of revising long held legends of the American west. A number of Westerns made in the seventies, are, as a result, definitely not conventional re-tellings of heroism and the taming of the American frontier. Instead, they make a new space for themselves which allows little room for the glorification of violence, the genocide of the American Indian, stultifying gender roles, or a style of myth-making that has little to do with the reality of a hard scrabble life lived on the borders of civilisation." --Sholem Stein

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Native American Genocide refers to the genocide of the Native Americans.

From the colonial period of the early 1500s through the twentieth century, the indigenous peoples of the Americas have experienced massacres, torture, terror, sexual abuse, systematic military occupations, removals from their ancestral territories, the forced removal of Native American children to military-like boarding schools, allotment, and a policy of termination. Historians and scholars whose work has examined this history in the context of genocide have included historian David Stannard and anthropological demographer Russell Thornton, as well as scholar-activists such as Vine Deloria, Jr., Russell Means and Ward Churchill. Stannard compares the events of colonization in the Americas with the definition of genocide in the 1948 UN convention, and writes that "In light of the U.N. language—even putting aside some of its looser constructions—it is impossible to know what transpired in the Americas during the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries and not conclude that it was genocide". Thornton describes as genocide the direct impact of warfare, violence and massacres, many of which had the effect of wiping out entire ethnic groups. Political scientist Guenter Lewy says the label of genocide is not applicable and views the "sad fate" of the Native Americans as "not a crime but a tragedy, involving an irreconcilable collision of cultures and values. [...] The new Americans, convinced of their cultural and racial superiority, were unwilling to grant the original inhabitants of the continent the vast preserve of land required by the Indians’ way of life." Native American Studies professor Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz says, "Proponents of the default position emphasize attrition by disease despite other causes equally deadly, if not more so. In doing so they refuse to accept that the colonization of America was genocidal by plan, not simply the tragic fate of populations lacking immunity to disease."

By 1900 the indigenous population in the Americas declined by more than 80%, and by as much as 98% in some areas. The effects of diseases such as smallpox, measles and cholera during the first century of colonialism contributed greatly to the death toll, while violence, displacement and warfare by colonizers against the Indians contributed to the death toll in subsequent centuries. As detailed in American Philosophy: From Wounded Knee to the Present, "It is also apparent that the shared history of the hemisphere is one framed by the dual tragedies of genocide and slavery, both of which are part of the legacy of the European invasions of the past 500 years. Indigenous people north and south were displaced, died of disease, and were killed by Europeans through slavery, rape, and war. In 1491, about 145 million people lived in the western hemisphere. By 1691, the population of indigenous Americans had declined by 90-95 percent, or by around 130 million people." See below for examples of state-sponsored murder against the Native peoples of California.

According to scientists from University College London, the colonization of the Americas by Europeans killed so many people it resulted in climate change and global cooling. UCL Geography Professor Mark Maslin, one of the co-authors of the study, says the large death toll also boosted the economies of Europe: "the depopulation of the Americas may have inadvertently allowed the Europeans to dominate the world. It also allowed for the Industrial Revolution and for Europeans to continue that domination."

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Native American Genocide" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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