|Image via el Wik|
The events are disconnected in a quite striking manner. Events just sort of happened, you see? But since the desired outcome was reached, there's no sense in dwelling on things, and those that do are sore losers.
For example, the charming town where I reside includes a monument:
The concentration camps didn't start in Nazi Germany, or even the Boer War (as is often presented). They began right here on these shores, started by one William T. Sherman's personal order. But this is just an isolated event in the colorful cardboard history.
As is Sherman's march to the sea and his order to "make Georgia howl". No pattern to see here, move along. It's not that Sherman learned the tactic of destroying the crops to starve the women and children as a way of bringing the men to submission: the Second Seminole War was just another disconnected event:
The Army worked to find the Seminole camps, burn their fields and stores of food, and drive off their livestock, including their horses.The disappearance of the great herds of plains bison is also taught as a disconnected event - greedy hunters inflicting an environmental outrage. Stupid greedy hunters!
What's never discussed is who else was in the picture:
As the U.S. government and its restless people looked to expand westward after the Civil War, they started to infringe upon Indian lands. During the Plains Indian Wars, as the U.S. Army attempted to drive Indians off the Plains and into reservations, the Army had little success because the warriors could live off the land and elude them—wherever the buffalo flourished, the Indians flourished.And so the bison had to go, their carcasses to rot by the million. And Sherman's plan worked, just like it had in Georgia and Florida.
General William Tecumseh Sherman, who had broken the back of the South during the Civil War with his ruthless March to the Sea, helped negotiate the Fort Laramie and 1867 Medicine Lodge treaties that were supposed to end U.S. hostilities with northern and southern tribes. But that’s when officers started thinking about a new strategy. Sherman knew that during the Civil War the Confederates’ means and will to fight were extinguished by his brutal—and brutally effective—”scorched earth” policy that decimated the infrastructure of the South. Why couldn’t the same strategy be applied to Indians and their buffalo? Greymorning said, “The government realized that as long as this food source was there, as long as this key cultural element was there, it would have difficulty getting Indians onto reservations.”
The end came quickly—less than 400 wild bison were left by 1893. And the Plains Indians were just about pushed off the Plains as well—their warriors had fought valiantly against the Army in spite of their inferior numbers, but they now felt inadequate because they were unable to provide for their families. Those proud warriors were confined to reservations, told to farm and wait for the government to provide rations. “It’s really hard to force another culture to recognize what your attributes are for being an upstanding man. They were told, ‘A good farmer is the best thing you can be in our culture,’?” said Jim Stone, a Yankton Sioux and the executive director of the Intertribal Bison Cooperative. “To force that sedentary lifestyle on somebody who was out living on the adrenaline rush of hunting buffalo—either on horse or foot—I don’t know if we can fully comprehend what that would feel like. They had been the caretaker of the buffalo, and suddenly there were no more. From the cultural side, they had failed in their role as humans. I don’t know how I would deal with that.”But somehow this isn't taught in schools these days. Sherman is a hero, painted on the schools' red, white, and blue cardboard curricula. And anyone who objects - a Seminole, or a Georgian, or a Sioux - why they're just sore losers. Actually, only the Georgians are the sore losers, because a good Progressive would never be so declassé as to say that to a Native American. Just to a southerner. After all, the Progressive has his Approved™ red, white, and blue cardboard to back him up. Where nothing is connected unless it's Useful.
This sesquicentennial is so not Useful.