Who Are the Indians - M.I. McCreight (5/5/47)
WHO ARE THE INDIANS
An Address Before the Utopia Club (of Jefferson County, PA)--May 5, 1947
Who are the Indians? They are the race which the People of the United States have most to dread at the judgment bar of the Almighty God! So said Wendell Phillips. I agree with him and I know.
For I have lived with them--had intimate relations with them for more tha sixty years--been a chief for more than forty years--studied them a long lifetime--wrote and spoke of them innumerable times--yet the subject is wider and deeper than can be covered in a single evening.
If you would know the truth I urge you to read the wonderful books of George Catlin; he was the first to record the facts. He lived with them--painted them--and wrote accurate decriptions of their daily life--in their natural environment--exactly as the white man found him. In 1832 he went to the mouth of the Yellowstone--on the first steamer to ascend the Missouri--and there he met the Blackfeet, the Sioux, Crows, Minniterrees and Mandans. But 28 years before, Lewis and Clark camped over winter at this Mandan village--a wonderful colony of wonderful people.
It was here that they found the Shoshone girl Sacajawea, without whose guidance they never would have succeeded. To her is due the everlasting credit for gining to the United States the great states of Washington, Idaho and Montana. Her story is the one of great romance of U.S. History.
But fifty years after Catlin, I went to the last frontier--met these same tribes--to find that all of Catlin's predictions were being verified--buffalo gone,and the Indian tribes rapidly facing extermination--Mandans already extinct--the rest facing starvation, disease and death--from the ruthless advance of the white man's so-called civilization--the advance armed with bullets, firewater and forked tongues!
I trust you will not charge me with ego when I tell you of another book now being published--the result of my experence with old time chiefs, who dictated to me their side of U.S. History. It will give you a startling revelation--perhaps a new slant on true U.S. History. Its title, "Firewater & Forked Tongues." Ready in September. Drop a card tp Trail's End Publishing Co., 725 Michigan Boulevard, Pasadena, Calif. for announcement.
Real history is yet to be written, for the 300 years--Roanoke to Wounded Knee--there was only the white man's printing press! The Indian's side of that 3 centuries of bloody warfare lives on rock-painted cliff and flesh-side of tanned buffalo hides.
Looking back to discovery date what do we see? Africa--Black; the Pacific & Far East--Brown; Asiatic Europe--Yellow; Central Europe & Britain--White and all the Western continent--RED. North America, South America--all Indian.
Half of the world belonged to and was occupied by the Red Race.
A glance at the old world toda--a vast sepulcher--a wrecked and ruined human habitation--done by white men! Yes, in the battle for supremacy, the White man won.
But in the MINORITY Race still. The Browns, Yellow, Blacks--are a formidable majority--and they are smart--they have learned to fight, and they DO NOT like the white man.
What will another century see?
Yellows, Browns, Blacks and Whites lived together, fought together and died by millions in never-ending wars--to gain the highest civilization ever known to man! Egypt, China, Greece, Rome!
A new count of Time began with the birth of the babe of Bethlehem when nearly a thousand and a half years passed--a Genoese induced the Queen of Spain to trade her diamond necklace for a sail boat and hard-tack--and these he borrowed--to discover the Red Man's world.
We drop the curtain--on the old and talk and think of the New--or Indian world--this found by Christo Colombo--the great new continent belonging to the red man alone. It was then just as old as the rest of the earth--but without the five thousand years of history--to tell us WHAT it was--WHO its people were and what it all meant! Of the total of then recorded history, we have since accumulated 455 years of biased account--gleaned out of continuous warfare--carried on the beads, bullets, butchery and booze to almost complete extermination of the original possessors--the legal and rightful owners of all the lands discovered.
From the landing of Columbus, it took but 27 years to complete the practical extermination of the natives of the West Indies! Those who met the Spaniards with kindness were forcibly taken from their families and homes and placed in irons and sent to Spain to be exhibited as curiosities--and sold as slaves--to shortly die of homesickness and despair. That twenty-seven years was spent in making steel helmets and armor--collecting an army and building vessels, when the band of marauders, headed by Cortez, invaded and destroyed the home and superior government and people of Montezuma! Immediately on arrival at Vera Cruz, Cortez captured and seduced a beautiful Indian girl--educated and of royal blood--conquered her spirit and made her slave to his beastly desires and savage will! To Marina and not to Cortez is due the success in overcoming the great Azrec nation--then more civilized than Spain itself. The story of that inhuman campaign cannot be reduced to written or spoken words!
And so, within forty years after the discovery, Mexico was ruthlessly robbed of fabulous stores of gold--its princely and well-regulated governmental organization utterly destroyed--wiping out of the richest and most densely populated section of the western world.
Five years later came Pizzaro to invade the equally rich and highly civilized Peru. He robbed and slaughtered there worse, if possible, than was done by Cortez in Mexico. He captured and imprisoned Atahualpa--promising him freedom when he had delivered a room full of gold--but when only 16 millions had been collected, he orderd the king burned alive, because of failure to fill the room to its ceiling.
Faith in humanity quails at the claims of the conquistadores, who say that their inhuman acts were in the name of religion--commanded by their accompanying priests.
Another ten years saw the coast of Florida drenched in blood in a death struggle of Spanish and French, trying to outdo Cortez and Pizzaro--in vain search for gold. And soon came Raleigh to camp in the sand dunes of Roanoke--English deported undesirables--they missed a tincup--a couple of Indians were shot as penalty--later found one of their own party had it. But Indians were only pagans and killing a few meant no harm--to a Christian.
Twenty more years saw the English at Powhatan's village, to be received with kindness--when kindness and charity were sorely needed.
For a long time, Powhatan furnished Smith's starving knaves the corn and other supplies they must have to save their lives. Then it became a burden his people could no longer stand, but when he told the idle and hungry colonists so, they demanded more corn--began taking it by force. They stole his daughter Pocahontas--held her for ransom--later taking her to Europe where she died of a broken heart. They tried to steal another daughter--harrassed the great chief to his untimely death.
Here we have in milder form a beautiful Indian maid responsible for the English obtaining foothold and control of the Indian's lands in Virginia--as Marina had gained an Empire for Cortez.
Next--and soon--came Hendrik Hudson and the Dutch to Manhattan, and the Puritans to Massachusetts Bay--all met as usual, with a smile and handshake. In return for this we have records of the most diabolical murders and hideous massacres of natives, by the whites, as can be found in any literature in any land. Read, if you can for tears, the horrors perpetrated upon men, women and little children in Philip's War, and of the still more outrageous slaughter of innocent natives at behest of Governor Kieft, in 1642. These were the beginnings of the three centuries of brutal outrages that make up the black pages of our otherwise glorious history!
To the coming of Wm. Penn it was the same. We have the audacity to say that his treaty with the Indians was never broken, yet, thereafter it was merely a change from the old way to the new way--of no less wicked, heartless and inhuman treatment of the natives by the whites. Mass murder was reduced. Fraud, trickery and studied dishonesty became the white man's mode and warfare of extermination--and Pennsylvania was bathed in blood for a generation. From the Delaware to the Rockies--from Lancaster to Wounded Knee, it was a century and a quarter of unrestrained murder and massacre--the last--after I had left the frontier when 200 innocent natives were shot down--mostly women and children by our troops with Gattling guns and left ro lie in 20 below zero storm for two days. When the frozen bodies were collected to be corded like firewood, in a trench--two mothers who fell together--had each of them, a babe clasped to the breast within blankets and both were still alive--one was living, at my last inquiry.
Who can read of the awful massacres of Indians by whites--such as Gnadenhutten, Sand Creek, Washita and the Baker slaughter, and stop a shiver of horror and bitter resentment!
For me, it would take several evenings to relate what I know of the long and lurid tale of exterminating the Indians. Once I turned the tide of a threatened massacre of whites by a band of ferocious Indians who were being robbed and cheated by unprincipled settlers and rum-peddlers.
Except for education, the Indians have no superior in any race--white, black, brown or yellow. They are superior to all but the whites--and by average comparison--equal to them. They have tolerated suffering at the hands of the whites--that no whites could or would submit to.
They have yet no real liberty but are subject to the tyrannical political machine--the Indian Bureau--which ought long ago to have been abolished. When I look back at the suffering I have seen--women and little ones gaunt-eyed and shivering from cold--following the slaughter of the last buffalo by unprincipled white hide-hunters, I echo the charge of Wendell Phillips: "The Indian race is the one which the People of the United States most dread at the judgment bar of Almighty God." I repeat it with emphasis, because I KNOW.