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U.S. Independence Day Special:
Comprehensive United States history does not offer much cause for celebration.
⁓The Voice before the Void
“Every Year Has Its Dark Stain”
from A Century of Dishonor: A Sketch of the United States Government’s Dealings with Some of the Indian Tribes
Helen Hunt Jackson
There are within the limits of the United States between two hundred and fifty and three hundred thousand Indians, exclusive of those in Alaska. The names of the different tribes and bands, as entered in the statistical tables of the Indian Office Reports, number nearly three hundred….
There is not among these three hundred bands of Indians one which has not suffered cruelly at the hands either of the Government or of white settlers. The poorer, the more insignificant, the more helpless the band, the more certain the cruelty and outrage to which they have been subjected. This is especially true of the bands on the Pacific slope. These Indians found themselves of a sudden surrounded by and caught up in the great influx of gold-seeking settlers, as helpless creatures on a shore are caught up in a tidal wave. There was not time for the Government to make treaties ; not even time for communities to make laws. The tale of the wrongs, the oppressions, the murders of the Pacific-slope Indians would be a volume by itself, and is too monstrous to be believed.
It makes little difference, however, where one opens the record of the history of the Indians ; every page and every year has its dark stain. The story of one tribe is the story of all, varied only by differences of time and place ; but neither time nor place makes any difference in the main facts. Colorado is as greedy and unjust in 1880 as was Georgia in 1830, and Ohio in 1795 Continue reading