Power and Politics in American Indian History: War

CJ Trowbridge


Power and Politics in American Indian History

Response 4

Nick Estes, Our History is the Future (2019), Chapter 3, War

            The history of the United States has always followed the same process; steal land from other people so the empire can expand, then replace those people with white colonial settlers and their slaves. (Estes 86) The core principle of American imperial expansionism has always been eliminating the original population in order to replace them with white settler colonists. (86) While the European holocaust had a clear beginning and an end, the Native American Holocaust has been going for centuries, accomplishing almost complete extinction of the original population, and it’s showing no signs of stopping. (86)

The united states prosecuted centuries of bloody conflict for the purpose of exterminating the native population in order to steal their land and replace their communities with white settler colonies. (87) Early on, the American empire traded with native communities for food and furs while exploring and expanding into their territory, but eventually there were enough white imperialists in those areas to erect countless fortresses and declare open war; leading to widespread extermination of over a hundred million native people. (87)

The American imperial military frequently slaughtered innocent civilians by the thousands, including infants and children, as well as destroying their food supplies and infrastructure in order to prevent any survivors from escaping the wholesale murder being unleashed on their communities. (98) It’s hard to see exactly what the difference is between the American empire and the third reich. Massacres became commonplace across the country as more and more native populations were exterminated to make room for white settler colonists to pave over their land and expand the American empire. (98)

In 2016, during the protests against the illegal pipelines being built over hundreds of bulldozed burial grounds and other sacred sites, police and private security stole religious artifacts and cultural symbols from the tribes, put them in a large pile, and urinated on them. (118.) The genocide the American empire is committing is not just a physical one but a psychological one. It’s not enough to murder a hundred million people. It’s not enough to slaughter infants in their mothers’ arms. The American gestapo also feels the need to literally urinate on religious symbols in order to further the cause of bulldozing graveyards. Truly there is no low to which the American empire will not stoop in its centuries-long effort to stamp out and exterminate any trace of the once-vast civilization upon whose stolen land this nation was built.


Alyosha Goldstein, “By Force of Expectation: Colonization, Public Lands, and the Property Relation” (2017, 126-140)

            White nationalist populism and vigilantism has been encouraged and exacerbated in recent years by a combination of bad public policy, bad leadership, and bad court decisions. (Goldstein 126) The people in charge of protecting public land and public resources has actively worked to subvert these obligations and give away public lands to greedy corporations. (126). Additionally, wealthy reactionaries have funded the creation of a nationwide network of propaganda manufacturers called ALEC which writes bills for congresspeople to submit as their own work in exchange for cash bribes, a process which is currently perfectly legal. (126)

White imperialist settler colonialism in America leverages a strange new combination of Locke and Bentham to simultaneously assert both an entitlement to the property of others and the divine providence of the sacred institution of private property (for white people only). (128) For centuries, imperial policy in America has reflected this strange new form of land rights; simultaneously defending the ownership of land by white people and denying the rights of those who had already lived there for tens of thousands of years before being exterminated and displaced by imperial citizens. (129)

For one modern example, the Southern Paiute reservation was established at 2.5 million acres in the nineteenth century. In the years since then, nearly all of that land has been stolen by white settler colonists. The reservation went all the way down to just a thousand acres. (137). Court cases and legislative efforts and criminal actions have always sided with the white imperialists rather than the people whose land they are continuing to steal. (138)

Land use policy began in this country as a deliberately racist tool for stealing land from native people so that white settlers could displace them. It evolved over the centuries into a strategy of widespread extermination which slaughtered more than a hundred million native people. These racist effects of these ongoing policies are alive and well today and continuing to bleed away every last trace of land from the people who have lived here for tens of thousands of years before the rise of the white imperial ethnostate.




Works Cited

Estes, Nick. Our History Is the Future. Verso Books, 2019.

Goldstein, Alyosha. “By Force of Expectation by Alyosha Goldstein – UCLA Law Review Discourse.” UCLA Law Review, 21 Sept. 2019, www.uclalawreview.org/by-force-of-expectation/.