Was the European settlers killing off Native American’s technically a genocide?

I was arguing with my friend who claims that it was not a genocide because according to the dictionary: noun the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group.

So, he’s saying since Native Americans still exist today, it shouldn’t be counted as a genocide. I said you could say the same about the holocaust, and he says that was not a genocide either. Just a mass murder. Can I get some clarification? Thanks.

Adopted by Resolution 260 (III) A of the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948.


Article 2
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

п‚· (a) Killing members of the group:

(the many massacres and campaigns aimed at killing native americans regardless of age or gender is well documented. Nothing more needs to be said here.)

п‚· (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group:

(the conditions imposed on native people on reservations was designed to cause them harm. Studies have also shown that the steretype in the dominent culture and the portrayal of native people as war like, drunk, and lazy, also affects native children and how they see themselves.)

п‚· (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part:

(the reservation system was designed to “contain” native people so they could be destroyed more efficiently. Starvation was one tactic and biological warfare another.)

п‚· (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group:

(up until the late 1980s, native women were sterilized as a matter of policy by IHS doctors. These sterilizations were done without their consent and in many cases against the women’s will.)

п‚· (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

(native children were taken by force from their families and sent to residential schools often hundreds of miles from home. There they were trained to be “white” and in many cases were sexually and physically abused. Over 50,000 children between the ages of 3 and 15 were killed in these institutions in canada alone and similar numbers in usa. many of these schools remained open into the 1990s and survivors of them are still alive. Until 1973, native children in usa were also removed from their mothers as infants and adopted out to white families as an attempt to assimilate native people into white society.)

It was genocide. Just like Rwanda and the Holocaust were genocide…and there are still Jews and ethnic groups in Rwanda. Genocide unfortunately happens a lot….it doesn’t mean that a whole cultural or ethnic group was killed off or doesn’t exist anymore.

If you have your friend look at the definition again &quot:..the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group&quot: the key words are deliberate and systematic. Nazis systematically plotted and executed millions of Jews as well as homosexuals and gypsies. If the war hadn’t ended, the Nazis may of succeeded. The same thing in Rwanda and Darfur. The same thing is sadly happening in other parts of the world as well. Millions of people killed because they are thought to be the wrong race, ethnicity or culture.

Mass murder is a bit different but the same. It kind of falls under genocide (if you look under the dictionary it’s actually a synonym to genocide)
The definition of mass murder is, &quot:the savage and excessive killing of many people&quot: So it’s more mass murder of people, sometimes but not necessarily targeting a certain people group.
So the Holocaust and the killing of Native Americans could be mass murder as well as genocide. Other instances wouldn’t necessarily constitute genocide under the dictionary definition. For example, The Washington D.C. Snipers were mass murderers, killing people for no reason. But to my knowledge they weren’t plotting against a certain people group. So were the Manson murderers and even Columbine and V.A. Tech.

So genocide is like mass murder, but targeting a certain group of people because of their race, culture, or ethnicity. Mass murder is killing many people, not necessarily a certain people group.

Do you kind of see what I mean, I hope I’m making sense. I wasn’t exactly anticipating answering a question about genocide, kind of depressing. But I hope that helped.
Make sure your friend knows to evaluate the entire dictionary definition before making an argument ( :

Oh, and although in some instances the settlers and Native Americans were fighting over land, mainly with the volatile tribes, in many instances it was genocide. Anyone know the true history of Thanksgiving? Or how settlers deliberately broke the treaties or killed innocents? Or attacked the friendly tribes? How we took children away and forced them into westernized schools in an attempt to make them whiter&quot:
I know this isn’t exactly textbook American history (it’s been more or less shoved under the rug), but it did happen. So some of you may have re-evaluate what you were taught in AP history classes ( :
Anyone else think it’s sad that they are still living on reservations with substandard education?

Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group. (Wikipedia)

The systematic and widespread extermination or attempted extermination of an entire national, racial, religious, or ethnic group. (Answers.com)

Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction of a group of people defined by their nationality, or by their ethnic, cultural, or religious background. (Encyclopedia of Good Health)

It is clear that your friend doesn’t know the definition of genocide, because these definitions make it clear that the destruction of the group need not be 100%. Notice the terms &quot:in whole or in part&quot: and &quot:attempted extermination.&quot:

Genocide is also a subject of social science and scholarly study, but its legal definition does not easily allow for empirical and historical research. For this reason the definition of genocide for research purposes has, in essence, been of two types. One is the definition of genocide as the intention to murder people because of their group membership, even if political or economic.

To all those who think it wasn’t genocide, go beyond the limitations and bias of the propaganda pushed in &quot:History&quot: classes, do some research on all the stuff that was going on. For example, learn about the &quot:residential schools&quot: program and associated government policies from the mid 1800’s and that lasted until 1983 in Canada, designed to extinguish Native culture and values and languages, and an attempt to assimilate them into ‘western-industrialized’ society. Children ie future generations were taken away from parents and forced to live in institutions run by white English speaking people, who beat and humiliated natives who ever used any of their indigenous languages. Most who actually conformed and tried to assimilate to western ways were still dejected by white society, with discrimination and low job prospects or job security. They lost their own culture and languages, and were still not welcome in western society…and these are the great grandchildren of the survivors of the massacres in the 1800’s


The army was sent in to kill native Americans when the construction of the transcontinental railroad was being held up by them.

The Sand Creek Massacre, Wounded Knee, concentration camps (oh, sorry, I mean reservations) for Native Americans – all carried out by the army under direct government orders as a matter of state policy.

That’s genocide, and not ‘technically’ but in reality.

No, I don’t believe it was.

When the European settlers first arrived, Native Americans were killed by foreign diseases as well as the Conquistadors. Later, there were fights between Europeans and Native Americans, and the Native Americans were eventually forced off their land onto reservations.

Although the Native Americans are grouped as a similar people, they did fight back against the Europeans, which I believe is a key point here. An example of genocide would be the Holocaust or Darfur. Here, people were killed because of their religion and culture.

The Native Americans were killed not because they were simply Native American, but because the Europeans wanted their land. Therefore, this would be considered war, not a genocide. They were fighting over land, not deliberately trying to exterminate and entire race of people.

The Holocaust was a genocide because the Nazis were trying to exterminate the Jewish culture. The Europeans were not trying to remove the Native American culture.

Listen here, I’m a Navajo indian: and I see that the others claim it wasn’t genocide. Well look at this, in the 1860’s my tribe was forced at GUN POINT to leave their homes. They were later forced on something that we called the long walk, which was march across New Mexican wasteland in the winter to a reservation called Fort Sumter, New Mexico: in Bosque Redondo. When they got there, they suffered, from starvation and exposure: and violence from other tribes that the US government failed to protect them from. Not even counting the untold number of women and children who were sold as slaves to Mexico. This lasted for years till they were finally allowed to go home. Last I remembered, this does count as genocide.

Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group.

While the Native Americans could certainly have been treated better, the idea that they could have been left alone is foolish. When land is sparsely populated, other people will move in unless you can defend it.
Most Native American land in the USA was settled by people who moved there inspite of laws and treaties. Neither the Natives nor the American government was able to keep them out. the Natives were too few, too weak, the American government too poor to try and put soldiers over a huige amount of territory in enough numbers to guard all the frontier from people moving OUT of US areas into Indian areas.
Goals of the people in any contested area was removal of the enemy- not their removal from the gene pool.

I don’t believe it was a genocide. It was not an intentional, orchestrated act to wipe out an ethnicity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *