native american and the war
|We must destroy the myth that the Amerindians lived in perfect harmony before the arrival of the Europeans. Indeed, war occupies a central place in the culture and way of life of many nations. Wars are a permanent reality everywhere even though, according to historian Tom Holm, their intensity, frequency and decisiveness are variable. The causes are complex and often interrelated, stemming from motivations and individual and collective needs.|
|The evidence gathered by archaeologists confirms the leading role of war in Amerindian societies long before the arrival of Europeans. From the year 1000, for example, the Huron, Neutral, Petunian and Iroquois villages are more and more often surrounded by a palisade of piles that can reach 10 meters in height, and some have a second or even a third enclosure for better protect yourself from enemy attacks. Craig Keener describes how these structures become larger and more elaborate until the 1500s, which represents a huge investment in joint work that the villagers would certainly not have done had they not felt it necessary . Sieges and assaults had to be delivered against these fortified villages before the arrival of the Europeans. Wars have also led to the creation of very complex political systems among these Iroquoian nations. The major confederations, such as the Iroquois Confederacy of the Five Nations and the Huron Confederation, which probably date back to the end of the sixteenth century, were born of the desire of their members to put an end to the fratricidal wars that ravaged their societies for hundreds of years.|
|Warriors usually move in small groups and seek to surprise or encircle the enemy, while avoiding the same tactics on the part of the enemy. This is to take advantage of the ground to remain hidden and ambush the enemy, or to melt on a camp at night to surprise the occupants in full sleep. After reaching their goal, the warriors retreat before the riposte can get organized. Although adapted to the conditions in the forests of North America, guerrilla tactics are at odds with the European methods of the time. In the eyes of Europeans, for whom a rigid discipline is essential if a soldier is to be able to provide maximum firepower in a formation massed in open ground, the Indian warriors are unruly fighters, devoid of any tactical sense. In addition, Europeans consider that hiding behind trees is evidence of cowardice and that aiming especially at officers is not sporty and barbaric. Indian warriors, on the other hand, are very proud of their own tactics and they often despise the European methods of combat, which they consider courageous, but reckless.|
In the pre-Columbian Amerindian world, the Aztec flower wars summarize all the Indian war codes. A flower war (or "war of the flowers", which is the translation of the Nahuatl word Xochiyaoyotl) corresponds to the battles in which the Aztecs opposed (thus the Mexicas, or one of their allies of the Triple Alliance, the Acolhuas either the Tepanecs) and the troops of Tlaxcala or another city in the neighboring valley, the Puebla Valley. It was a very codified exercise but also very ritual, during which two camps clashed. In general, two cities (called altepeme) clashed in order to capture prisoners willing to sacrifice to the deities. The moment when the battle was taking place was agreed in advance, and it took place at a place on the boundary between the two cities and named cuauhtlalli or yaotlalli.
The paradox of the Native American Enrollment:
"Many Amerindians do not see their service as merely patriotic," says Windy Shouderblade, Cheyenne, veteran of Vietnam, "it's something deeper, passed on from generation to generation. They are our fathers, our grandfathers. Warrior status is always a completion for the Indian. They are always ready to face the enemy when the time comes ''
'' The members of my tribe, the Oneida, have served the United States in every conflict since the revolution, '' says Amos Christjohn, '' we helped General Washington to come back and take the American colonies, to fight like indians ''
"Native Americans have a deep respect for the supreme being, the creator," says Douglas Leng, Winnebago, Korea Veteran. "The eagle is the one who flies the highest and the elders have taught us to respect it. We consider these feathers sacred. Each tribe has an Eagles staff, and the only way to add a feather is to defend our territory. This tradition continues today "
Carson Walks on Ice adds: "Traditionally, war was used for revenge, honor, or stealing food. We did not fight for territories or for the pleasure of killing. When we came back from the battles, we had more honor with the captured property and the prisoners than with the number of killed. "
Doug Long, Winnebago says: '' my grandfather did the first world war, my oldest brother did the second world war, I did Korea with my little brother, and I have seven grandchildren who did the Storm Desert operation. In our tribe, every time we have a new warrior, we add an Aigle feather to the Eagles staff. My family adds seven. I'm sure I'm speaking on behalf of all Native Americans saying I'm proud to have served. "
The primitive and "democratic" character of Amerindian societies, if it is often made of pugnacious adversaries, ends up by their resistance to failure. Few of them present a united front against the invader. Nor do they perceive that it is a matter for them to wage a war of survival, which makes any unified resistance movement extremely haphazard, each group or clan deciding for themselves whether it is in their interest to fight or make peace. Embarrassed by geographical divisions, tribal, clan or family rivalries, the fragility of the common cultural bond, the few attempts at a concerted response, inspired by a common concern, rarely resist the first military failure.
The real interest of their recruitment is not tactical but political and psychological. The Amerindian resistance is in fact only a succession of fragile and punctual coalitions between tribes, to which cooperation appears as a condition of their survival. By recruiting among them, the Americans, Canadians and Mexicans undermine this cohesion of the Amerindians, and demoralize the most relentless.