The United States and Indian Peoples
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
252 Pages | 6 x 9 | 8 maps
Virtually all of these wars, Nichols shows, grew out of small-scale local conflicts, suggesting that interracial violence preceded any formal declaration of war. American pioneers hated and feared Indians and wanted their land. Indian villages were armed camps, and their young men sought recognition for bravery and prowess in hunting and fighting. Neither the U.S. government nor tribal leaders could prevent raids, thievery, and violence when the two groups met.
In addition to U.S. territorial expansion and the belligerence of racist pioneers, Nichols cites a variety of factors that led to individual wars: cultural differences, border disputes, conflicts between and within tribes, the actions of white traders and local politicians, the government’s failure to prevent or punish anti-Indian violence, and Native determination to retain their lands, traditional culture, and tribal independence.
The conflicts examined here, Nichols argues, need to be considered as wars of U.S. aggression, a central feature of that nation’s expansion across the continent that brought newcomers into areas occupied by highly militarized Native communities ready and able to defend themselves and attack their enemies.