SINCE PREDATOR CAME: Notes from the Struggle for American Indian Liberation by Ward Churchill

SINCE PREDATOR CAME: Notes from the Struggle for American Indian Liberation

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Eighteen essays, most previously published in collections and small journals, detailing the injustices perpetrated against the Native American by more recent arrivals. Though these pieces form a somewhat haphazard volume, Churchill's (American Indian Studies/Univ. of Colorado, Boulder) main point is clear: Since Columbus reached these shores 500 years ago, the Indian has suffered immeasurably--mostly through the wanton cruelty or gross negligence of the conquering people. And because each of these chapters was written individually, the message--along with the same facts and statistics--is repeated often. That said, the points are for the most part convincingly argued. Churchill asserts that Native Americans do not vilify Columbus because he discovered America--although ""discovered"" is clearly not the right word to use, since there were 100 million people living in the Western Hemisphere in 1492--but because he enacted cruel policies toward the Indians when he returned the following year as viceroy and governor of America, a position he held until 1500. Churchill also goes into great detail to prove that Indians were tricked out of property that the US granted them. All the essays here are heavily footnoted, and the author quotes extensively from contemporaneous sources to document the excessive cruelty of the conquerors. Although he rightly points out the political motivations behind scientific theories in his discussion of the Bering Strait land bridge, Churchill does not acknowledge his own equally political reasons for wanting to refute it. He also uses arguable logic occasionally, as when he suggests that there is no difference between the Indians who died because they were not immune to European diseases (as opposed to those who were deliberately infected) and concentration camp victims who died of typhus. But if Churchill sometimes overstates his case, he nonetheless poignantly demonstrates that whites have a lot to make up for.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: "Aigis (1449 West Littleton Blvd., Littleton, CO 80120)"