I have just finished reading the book Killing Crazy Horse. Earlier I wrote a summary on the book. In this post I will write about how the book has affected me. That is, to give my thoughts on what should have been done differently; also, what should be done now to help the Indians.
The Tragedy of the Indian Wars: No Winners
Clearly, I think the Indian wars, and the outcome, was and is a tragedy. There were no winners. And the reason is because of our sin: our greed, our pride, our selfishness, and our desire for revenge (on both sides). Some may think that the white man were the winners and the Indians were the losers, because the white man was able to kill so many of the Indians and to drive them off their lands, and to basically take whatever they wanted for themselves. However, I don’t think that makes them true winners, especially in the eyes of God.
Some may even have regarded the Indians as evil savages, and a people not worth saving—maybe even like the Canaanites that Joshua was commanded to destroy. But we definitely can’t make that comparison. All the reading I have done on when the white man (Columbus, those on the Mayflower, Lewis and Clark) first came in contact with the Indians, they were mainly friendly. They are different and have a different lifestyle, but that does not make them bad or of lesser worth—as some would suggest.
Accepting the Differences
I thought it was interesting that Crazy Horse himself regarded his people as like animals, that they lived off of the land. And they apparently do not have the same desire as the white man to build and develop and prosper in the way they do. They have other ways of prospering—by connecting with nature. It seems to me that much more could have been done from the start to get along with the Indians, even to do more to try to understand them and befriend them. I think our government should have done more—instead of just trying to drive them off their land.
The Big Problem: The White Man’s Greed
I think the biggest problem with the white man and with the U. S. government was dealing with the great influx of people to America, who had such a great desire to move in and prosper off the land. They had great desires to go west, to explore, to farm, and to mine gold, etc. Hence, there was a great deal of greed in every heart, and many had the gold fever.
The Criminal Government Policies
The thing that really drove the people west without much regard for the Indians was the unjust and criminal government policies toward the Indians. For example, President James Monroe endorsed a “sea to shining sea mandate,” that gave all American whites the encouragement to live wherever they wanted without regard to the Indians. And later, President Grant who first had a peace policy with the Indians, made a decision to use ultimate military force to steal the Black Hills away from the Indians (because the white man wanted the gold there). And President Grover Cleveland considered the Indians a nuisance and therefore made laws to open all Indian territory up to white settlements. In fact, most of the American Presidents were unjust toward the Indians and even commanded U. S. troops to either force them out or kill them. It was always the white man first. They always had priority over the land. Hence, in my opinion, most of the blame for the injustice toward the Indians should go on the American Presidents, but also on the U. S. military generals that seemed to have so much hatred in their heart—to do so much mutilation and killing of the Indians, esp. the women and children. They just slaughtered them!
In the end, the government decided to force the Indians onto government owned reservations. They took their weapons away and they were not allowed to hunt for food. Instead, the government gave them boxes of food, just enough to survive. The reservations became like a prison. Many Indians still live on reservations, and I have heard that most are worse than third-world countries.
I wish I knew what could be done for the Indians. First, I think we should educate all whites on what actually happened—the Indian wars and abuses. Then we need to change our policies and reverse the bad decisions that were made. And we need to make more effort in doing the right things, and to interact with the Indians and find out what they want and how we can help them and lift them up to restore their dignity. I think Indians have so much to offer this world. They are good people and should not have been treated so badly. What can we do to lift them up?