America’s Indian heritage

A commenter at Steve Sailer’s explains why Americans tend to feel differently about Indians than Central and South Americans, or Canadians, do:

In America, the Indians fought back with everything they had not for years, not for decades, not for generations, but for centuries.

And the resistance began at the beginning, so to speak, as they were whipping the Spanish at least as early as 1513, when the Timucua drove Ponce de Leon off near present-day St. Augustine, Fla., and later that year the Calusa drove him out of San Carlos Bay, Fla. Four years later Hernando de Cordoba’s fleet, returning from a campaign against the Maya, dropped anchor in San Carlos bay to replenish water and supplies, but their landing party was driven off by the Calusa, who were described as “very big men with very long bows and good arrows.”

Ponce de Leon and Cordoba returned to San Carlos Bay in 1521 with 200 soldiers, settlers and supplies to establish a colony. The Calusa again defeated and drove them off, killing both de Leon and Cordoba.

Then there was the disastrous Navaraez expedition into northern Florida in 1527 with 600 soldiers, where the Spanish crossbows were no match for the Indians 7-foot long bows, as thick as a man’s arm, that could penetrate six inches of wood at 200 yards. Only four Spaniards survived the catastrophe.

In 1539, Hernando de Soto, who had been Francisco Pizarro’s chief military adviser and among the 168 who conquered the Inca empire, and a veteran of 15 years of warring against south-of-the Rio Grande Indians, landed in Tampa Bay with 330 infantry and 270 cavalry, most veterans of the Spanish conquests in the south. They had given up European armor and adopted Aztec quilted cotton armor covered with leather as more effective protection.

They marched north reaching the Choctaw town of Mabila on the present site of Selma, Ala., which they assaulted and took after prolonged fighting, estimated having killed 2,500 inhabitants. But no Indian surrender ensued. Instead, they forced the Spaniards to retreat and harried them, the Chickasaw attacking and burning de Soto’s winter camp, inflicting severe losses. Ultimately, only about half of de Soto’s force survived the expedition — not including him.

And so it went for hundreds of years, into the 20th century, if we count the 1911 Shoshone uprising, which was not called a “war” but a “riot,” as nomenclature was changed after Wounded Knee.

It is remarkable that some 350 years after the Calusa crushed Ponce de Leon and Cordoba, the Sioux defeated Crook and annihilated Custer.

So the American Indian earned respect and a place in our history that he does not have in Latin America or Canada. That’s even reflected in our language. Only the American armed forces to this day speak of going into Indian Country, and mean it ominously. Only American paratroopers legendarily shout “Geronimo!” as they leap from airplanes. Only a famous American general was named after an Indian. We speak of being off the reservation, and on the warpath. We Indian wrestle and walk Indian file. Indians are a part of, in today’s parlance, who we are in a way they are not in Canada or Latin America.

I find it fascinating that Indian ancestry is so respected that some whites will even attempt to deny that those they don’t like could possible have any. In any event, the Indian experience is one more factor that tends to separate the American colonist/settler from the later US immigrants.