The genocide of American Indians… by American Indians

We have a tendency these days to romanticize the indigenous peoples of the Americas. While there’s some justice in that — popular culture has been less than kind in its portrayal of Indians over the years — it nevertheless runs up against the facts of history.

To wit:

Crushed leg bones, battered skulls and other mutilated human remains are likely all that’s left of a Native American population destroyed by genocide that took place circa 800 A.D., suggests a new study….

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The entire assemblage comprises 14,882 human skeletal fragments, as well as the mutilated remains of dogs and other animals killed at the massacre site — Sacred Ridge, southwest of Durango, Colo….

The unearthed bones and artifacts indicate that when the violence took place, men, women and children were tortured, disemboweled, killed and often hacked to bits. In some cases, heads, hands and feet appear to have been removed as trophies for the killers. The attackers then removed belongings out of the structures and set the roofs on fire.

And possibly the saddest part of all:

At least two… separate studies have come to [the conclusion that] the genocide victims at Sacred Ridge belonged to an ethnic group that was different from that of other nearby populations.

American Indians weren’t only the victims of ethnic genocide, they were sometimes the perpetrators as well.

  • Brian Saint-Paul

    Brian Saint-Paul was the editor and publisher of Crisis Magazine. He has a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of America, in Washington. D.C. In addition to various positions in journalism and publishing, he has served as the associate director of a health research institute, a missionary, and a private school teacher. He lives with his wife in a historic Baltimore neighborhood, where he obsesses over Late Antiquity.

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