The Merciless Indian Wars: How America Got Started

A Depiction of the Trail of Tears. About 4000 Indians died while being forced to move from their homes.

I’ve been reading the book, Killing Crazy Horse: The Merciless Indian Wars in America. It’s been quite informative for me. Those Indian wars were not at all like it has been portrayed on TV. It was so gruesome, so bloody!

I learned that for the most part, the beginning of the conflict with the Indians had most to do with our (the white man’s) desire to expand and own land. And we were unwilling to share with or negotiate peacefully with the Indians; so, we took steps to run them off. I was surprised that most of our Presidents not only did not like the Indians, but were all in favor of either moving them out of the way or exterminating them. And the whites in those days regarded the Indians the same way as they regarded the blacks: as less than human. In fact, many of the Indians that were captured were used as slaves just like the blacks.

As the book tells the story, the Indian wars began in the south, in Florida and Georgia. That was the territory of the Creek Nation—the name of the Indians there. Well anyway, as more and more of the white man moved in to that area conflicts arose. The white man did not always respect the Indians, and the Indians in turn were raiding the white man, and also other Indian tribes—mainly just to stay alive. Soon, as the conflicts increased, our Presidents at that time—Madison, Monroe, and Jackson took it upon themselves to order the U. S. military to either move the Indians or destroy them. One of terrible tragedies for the Indians occurred when thousands of Cherokee Indians were forcibly moved from their homeland in the southeast; they forced them to walk over a thousand miles across mountains and in cold weather to west of the Mississippi. Over 4,000 died along the way of starvation, and frostbite. It was called the “Trail of Tears.” The Army was supposed to treat them well, but their orders were disregarded. Many of the Indians were peaceful and compliant even as they suffered; but some of the tribes, later, like the Apache and the Comanche had strong chiefs and did not lay down so easily.

It was apparent to me that the Indian wars were not at all just. In fact, there didn’t seem to be any rules of war. Most of the fighting was not only to the death, but the fighting on both sides was angry and cruel. They fought not only to kill but to torture and humiliate and massacre.  And it seemed like both sides enjoyed killing the weaker and innocent—the women and small children. On one occasion, when a group of 700 Army troops came into an Indian camp expecting to find Crazy Horse and his men, they were surprised to find that they were all gone, except 100 women and children. Well, they left no one alive. Scalps were taken, heads were severed, and they were all horribly mutilated. I guess I was wrong to think that only the Indians took scalps.

Well, don’t you know that Crazy Horse had his revenge. At one massacre of 81 U. S. soldiers, all of them were left naked in the bitter cold, “eyes torn out, noses cut off…teeth chopped out…brains taken out… hands and feet cut off…private parts severed,” etc. It is easy to see that there was something evil going on in these wars. There was more than just hatred. I think there must have been Satanic and demonic spirits controlling them. Who could do such things? I had no idea that this went on. And the savagery was not just by the Indians. It was by both sides. And it was not just men against men; it was on all, women as well as children, even infants.

We have been so shocked to hear about the terrible things ISIS has done. Well, now I know that that kind of brutality has been going on for centuries. And I am so ashamed now to learn how this nation got its start, with so many of our Presidents and leaders approving and directing the Indian killings.

7 thoughts on “The Merciless Indian Wars: How America Got Started

      • I read it. Good article. But I still think that the Indian wars were very unjust. We didn’t do enough to try to make peace with them. we had no right to remove them from their homes and to kill them. Though our American history is of God’s providence, many mistakes were made along the way. We treated the Indians, as well as the blacks, very badly.

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      • Very true, there was a lot of bad on both sides. For example, Pilgrims and Puritans routinely treated the Indians very well and evangelized many of them, with good results for eternity. However, many of the Spanish settlers (who came for different motives) were cruel and worse to the Indian natives. Of course when Indian reservations were discovered to have gold on them it often followed that the Indians were ousted and greedy non-Indians grabbed the gold. On the other hand, in Oklahoma, Catch-’em-alive Jack Abernathy helped Indians to become rich by helping them use the petroleum industry opportunities, so Jack Abernathy was a great friend of Chief Quanah Parker (who thus became a millionaire) — and his 2 adventurous sons visited Chief Quanah on their way (horseback and without adult supervision) to New York City, from Oklahoma, to greet Teddy Roosevelt when he returned from his adventures in Africa. (For more on the Abernathy family adventures, as the days of the Old West transitioned into the modern age, see https://bibleworldadventures.wordpress.com/tag/abernathy-boys/ .)

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  1. Regarding the mistreatment of slaves, in pre-Civil War America, see “Lincoln Laments” — posted at https://www.icr.org/article/7236/ .– especially its Footnote # 1 & # 5, respectively showing that modern-day slavery (by non-whites) is much much worse than anything America tolerated, yet what America once tolerated included obvious violations of Biblical laws re how to treat slaves. Although most American Christians know that John Newton (author of the hymn AMAZING GRACE) was once a slave trader, mistreating African black slaves, most do not know that John Newton was once himself a slave belonging to and tortured by an African black. In time John Newton got saved by the Lord Jesus Christ; thereafter he tried to care for and protect black African slaves. Another recent irony, so-called “Critical Race Theory” (which promotes racial stereotypes) is now illegal for recipients of federal $$$, according to a recent Presidential executive order.

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