On settler colonial genocides (and knowing about it): Jeffrey Ostler, ‘“To Extirpate the Indians”: An Indigenous Consciousness of Genocide in the Ohio Valley and Lower Great Lakes, 1750s–1810’, The William and Mary Quarterly, 72, 4, 2015, pp. 587-622
Abstract: As European Americans invaded the Ohio Valley and lower Great Lakes region from the 1750s to the 1810s, many Indians feared the very worst. Reports from traders, surveyors, missionaries, non-Indian captives, and government officials show that Indians believed that colonizers intended to “extirpate” or “exterminate” them, words equivalent to the modern-day term genocide. In making this allegation, Indians cited numerous instances of nonnatives’ use of biological warfare and violence against them. Most Indians who adopted this perspective were affiliated with international nativist confederations that directly contested Anglo-American expansion. Indeed, allegations of genocidal intent were an important source of mobilization for these anticolonial movements. But even some native leaders who opposed resistance and advocated diplomacy did so because they thought accommodation was the only way to avoid the genocidal destruction of their communities. Recovering an indigenous consciousness of genocide deepens our understanding of Indians’ thinking about race by highlighting its defensive character, in contrast to the more aggressive and hierarchical racial thinking of Anglo Americans at the time. It also offers new approaches to the stale and often unproductive debate about genocide in American history.
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