There are many myths about the treatment of Native Americans by the settlers. These myths are meant to pursue you into believing that America is evil. Below, I go over the top 7 myths you will be likely to encounter.
1) Settlers killed most of the Native American population: This is false. Most of the Native American population, at that time, died from disease. Diseases such as smallpox, measles, influenza, and typhus killed approximately 90-95 percent of the Native American population. These same diseases also killed European settlers, but at a much lower rate. The native people had no past exposure to these destructive infections and had no natural immunity, making them significantly more vulnerable.
Many of the diseases that Europeans brought to the Americas didn’t originate from Europe. For example, smallpox is thought to have originated in Egypt or India at least 3,000 years ago. It seems very unreasonable to blame the European people for a disease that most likely originated in India or Egypt.
Also, illness would have devastated Native Americans regardless of who came over the Atlantic — or the Pacific. The Chinese would have spread precisely the same sicknesses had they come over.
2) The Native American population is much smaller today than it was in the past: Actually, that’s false. The Native American population today isn’t far off from the total population of the past.
(Early estimates put the total Native American population at 1.5 to 10 million in North America). The estimates for the past Native American population vary. Anthropologist Russell Thornton estimated the population at 5 million for the continental US; while geographer William Denevan estimated about 3.8 million for the United States and Canada.
The number of Native Americans today is most likely higher than it was in the past. According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2017, the total population of Native Americans in the United States is 6.79 million.
3) Native American tribes lived in peace amongst each other: This is also wrong. A large portion of Native American tribes were not peaceful. Comanches, Apaches, Sioux, Powhatan, and Iroquois were very violent tribes that had very large forces. They didn’t just perpetrate violence toward European settlers, they were also violent to other Native American tribes as well.
In addition, Native Americans battled long before Europeans arrived. Archaeologists have discovered numerous human skeletons with ax marks and embedded arrowheads that predate the arrival of the Europeans. The wars between tribes were extremely violent. Evidence from archeological sites shows that tribes would often mutilate the bodies of enemy tribes. (An example would be the Crow Creek Massacre; were some individuals in the enemy tribes had their tongues removed, their heads cut off, their teeth broken, the top of their heads scalped off, their hands and feet cut off, or other forms of dismemberment.) Wars were often fought to avenge the slaying of kinsmen, steal resources, obtain slaves, or take the land.
4) Native Americans have always lived in America: This is false. Evidence shows that Native Americans are originally from Asia.
This is supported by an autosomal genetic study from 2012, that found that Native Americans originate from at least three migrant waves from East Asia.
According to an autosomal genetic study from 2012, Native Americans descend from at least three main migrant waves from East Asia.
According to a 2001 study called, ‘Genetic link between Asians and native Americans: evidence from HLA genes and haplotypes,’
“These findings further support the genetic link between East Asians and Native Americans. We have proposed that various ancestral populations in East Asia, marked by different HLA haplotypes, had migrated and dispersed through multiple routes. Moreover, relatively small genetic distances and the sharing of several HLA haplotypes between Ainu and Native Americans suggest that these populations are descendants of some Upper Paleolithic populations of East Asia.”
5) Native American land was stolen: There are many objections to this claim. For starters, the Native American population was way too small to be occupying all the land. For example, New York City has a current population of about 8 million people. That’s most likely larger than the past Native American population.
Also, all land was stolen. If you asked a Native American tribe whose land it was, several tribes would claim ownership. So, when multiple people claim ownership of something, then who owns it? Native Americans often stole land from each other. So, who does the land belong to? In addition, countries in Asia can claim ownership because Native Americans descended from Asia.
6) Most Native Americans today live on reservations: This is false. Currently, 78% of Native Americans do not live on reservations. About 22% of our country’s 5.2 million Native Americans live on tribal lands (2010 U.S. Census).
7) Only the European Settlers Committed Atrocities: This is false. Atrocities were committed on both sides.
Here’s A List of Notable Massacres Committed By Native Americans
-Fort Mims Massacre
-Massacre at Bath
-Massacre at St Bartholemew’s Parish
-Fort Recovery Massacre
-Cookes Canyon Massacres
-Bloody Point Massacre
*List of massacres on both sides (Click link)
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