Reservations, Internment Relocation Centers and Ghettos are America’s Concentration Camps… Welcome to the United States; Land of the (not so) Free
Dec. 29, 2015 marks the 125th Anniversary of the murder of 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South. Dakota on December 29, 1890. These 297 PEOPLE, in their winter camp were murdered by Federal Agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms” for “their own safety and protection”. The slaughter began AFTER the majority of Sioux had peacefully surrendered their firearms.
Decomposing bodies of Yaqui Indians
“SEVERELY MALNOURISHED DAKOTA INDIAN WOMAN IN A TIPI”
Following the systemic slaughter of the Buffalo nations 1891
~ “It is, in the end, cheaper to feed the whole flock for a year than to fight them for a week.” -U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1850.
~ “They take our land, they take our hunting and then they force us to work for food that make us sick.”
On the Great Plains, tribes came to be seen grudgingly as “Wards of the Nation” and were guaranteed at least on paper, food rations by treaties signed with the United States government in exchange for their vast traditional lands.
Rations cards were issued by the Indian agent to the heads of each household for up to nine dependents once weekly. Rations were often late; the rotting meats caused sickness and death. Rations came in the form of beef, flour and pork with the occasional coffee, sugar, soap and tobacco. Indian agents came to use rations as a form of coercement, to threaten against participation in cultural gatherings, forcing Native families to send their children to government boarding schools often hundreds of miles away with the warning -“do this or I’ll take away your ration ticket!”
Over time, the promise of rations came to be seen as a burden by society of the day a view promoted by politicians and in the national media. Rations were then decreased and ultimately eliminated. Over time the land and climate could not sustain and support the small-scale agriculture the government Indian agents were forcing Natives into under the admonition prevalent at the time, “Till or starve!”.
Brutal winters killed the native’s cattle and the government issued passes for settler’s cattle herds to graze on supposedly protected reservations lands, these herds trampled and destroyed what crops the tribes planted and they did manage to grow.
Drought stalked the Plains then, as today. Traditional roots, berries, and plants on the reservation became over-foraged, and bison, who would have kept everyone fed, were by this time nearly extinct. Tribes no longer had an effective system of sharing food as was custom prior to reservation life that had always protected the poor, elderly, ill, and the disabled from starvation. Leading to despair, furthering the breakdown of ancient life ways in, culture and community.
~ “The government is ready to assist in their support, to grant them reservations, to give them food and make them presents; but it must and will, with sharp hand, enforce their respect to travel, their respect to lives and property, and their respect to trade throughout all this region. And if this cannot be secured, short of their utter extermination, why extermination it must be.”
– Schuyler Colfax, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, May 1865.
Gordon, or Whipped Peter, was a slave on a Louisiana plantation who escaped from slavery in 1863. He would go on to serve as a soldier in the United States Colored Troops. Harper’s Weekly published photos of Gordon’s scarred back, the result of his time in slavery. The photos helped make slavery more real for those living in the North and accelerated the Union cause in the war.
African-Americans made up less than 1 percent of the North’s population but were 10 percent of the Union Army. Black men weren’t allowed to join the army until 1863. About 180,000 Black men, more than 85 percent of eligible African-Americans in the Northern states, fought. While White soldiers earned $13 a month, Black soldiers earned only $10 — and then were charged a $3 clothing fee that lowered their monthly pay to $7. The highest paid Black soldier made less than the lowest paid White one. After protesting by refusing to accept their wages and gaining support from abolitionist Congressmen, Black soldiers finally received equal pay in 1864 — paid retroactively to their enlistment date.
Burying the Dead – Civil War
Laura Nelson Okemah OK May 25, 1911
Washington was accused of raping and murdering Lucy Fryer, the wife of his white employer in rural Robinson TX . Washington a mildly mentally challenged was tried for murder in Waco, in a courtroom filled with furious locals. The trial lasted about one hour and after four minutes of deliberation, the jury’s foreman announced a guilty verdict and a sentence of death. After his sentence was pronounced, he was dragged out of the court by observers, they put a chain on his neck and lynched him in front of Waco’s city hall. Over 16,000 spectators, including city officials and police, gathered to watch the attack. There was a celebratory atmosphere at the event, and many children attended during their lunch hour. Members of the mob castrated Washington, cut off his fingers so he couldn’t climb the chain, and hung him over a bonfire. He was repeatedly lowered and raised over the fire for about two hours. After the fire was extinguished, his charred torso was dragged through the town and parts of his body were sold as souvenirs. A professional photographer took pictures as the event unfolded, providing rare imagery of a lynching in progress. The pictures were printed and sold as postcards in Waco.
(photo above) July 19, 1935 Ruben Stacy 32 hangs from a tree in Ft. Lauderdale FL. Stacy was lynched by a mob of angry masked White men who seized him from the custody of sheriff’s deputies for allegedly attacking a white woman.
Cousins Recall Emmett Louis Till’s Murder
A poster rallying White voters to oppose enfranchisement allowing African American’s to vote
Lancaster Ohio 1938
15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford attempts to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School as an angry mob followed her, yelling, “Drag her over this tree! Let’s take care of that nigger!'” and “Lynch her! Lynch her!” “No nigger bitch is going to get in our school!”
“Birmingham, ALA., Sept. 11, 1963 —CAR WINDOW SMASHED—One of two Negro girl students who desegregated West End High School in Birmingham sits in car and is partially framed by broken auto window. A rock was hurled through the window as the Negro girls were leaving the school area after class this afternoon. (APWirephoto) 1963”
82 Japanese Americans arriving at Manzanar Internment Camp Owens Valley CA March 24, 1942
The Great Depression 1930’s
President Hoover held the belief Americans should be self-reliant and not depend on government so he took a very conservative approach to solving the economic difficulties created by the banking industry. Andrew Mellon (1855–1937), secretary of the treasury under Presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, two of America’s richest men. He saw to it that tax cuts for the wealthy passed through Congress. For relief for the needy he depended on private charities and asked Americans to donate.
Despite the general appearance of prosperity in the 1920s, Americans did not share wealth equally. Many people had few material goods and no way to change their position; a few people have a great deal of wealth and were determined to keep that wealth for themselves. The top 1 percent of the population saw a 75 percent increase. However America’s 27.5 million families, 78 percent, 21.5 million were not able to save anything after necessities were purchased. These 21.5 million earned under $3,000 a year. Six million of them earned less than $1,000 yearly.