Legacy of native guerilla leaders and dimensions of wars in America « Khabarhub
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Legacy of native guerilla leaders and dimensions of wars in America



In my previous articles, I explained briefly that first hunters and gatherers who came to the US were from Northeast of Asia either via Beringia or Alaskan coastal routes about 15,000 to 24,000 years ago.

The 1st wave of arrival to America was not other than “Native Americans’. The 2nd wave of arrival to America was dominated by Icelandic-Norwegian merchant Bjarni Herjolfsson who sighted today’s North America in the year of 986 CE before the formal settlement of another Icelandic-Norwegian explorer “Leif Ericson” in Vinland in 1002 AD as a Norse-Vikings.

The 3rd wave of incessant arrival was hugely associated with proper white Europeans from Portugal, Spain, France, Dutch, and Britain, of which Italian explorer Christopher Columbus (1492) and John Cabot (1497) were the first to make the history of exploration in the Americas.

The 4th arrivals were no other than Africans in the year of 1619 that were brought to Virginia to work on tobacco plantations as slaves. Then, there was a cosmopolitan wave of migrations to the US from different quarters of the world in search of opportunity, prosperity, and dignity.

After the arrivals of Europeans, there was big fight basically between “Native Americans”/American Indians and Europeans for the sake of controlling natural resources including lands, thereby capturing the economic benefits and opportunities which led to desperately known “Guerrilla wars, fights, and movements in America. How did those guerilla wars occur and how could the US come across those guerrilla wars to solve and what were the natures and legacy of guerilla leaders would be today’s penmanship.

East coast Native Americans were known for growing corn and trapping animals in the woods and on the west coast they used to build canoes for fishing, and on the “Great Plains,” various groups of Native Americans were hunting buffalo. To be specific, the Anasazi and Hohokam native peoples lived in the desert what is now Southwestern USA used to grow corn, beans, and squash and built amazing cliff houses called pueblos. Hohokam people specially built canals to water their crops, wove cotton and made decorated clay pottery.

The Great Plain American Indians were largely categorized into two broad groups; the first group became fully a nomadic horse culture during the 18th and 19th centuries engaged in buffalo hunting with the exception of some in agriculture. Basically, they consisted of about 17 sub-groups. The second group of Plain Indians was semi-sedentary and undertook hunting buffalo to a lesser extent, but lived in villages, raised crops and involved in active trade with other tribes. They were about 18 sub-tribes. The Sioux were the largest nation of the “Great Plain”. They used to live in the “tepees” as their tents made out of wooden poles covered with buffalo hide as an ideal home for the hunters.

Native Americans did not have horses or wheeled vehicles and guns before the arrival of Europeans but became experts at shooting from horseback after Spanish introduced guns and horses in the 17th century. Spain and Portugal divided the Americas between them by the treaty of Tordesillas in 1494.

Europeans fought for North America. The English, French, and Spanish claimed large areas of North America for themselves, even though many Native Americans lived there for centuries. Some tried to convert the Native Americans to Christianity resulting in big conflict.

The colonists fought battles with Native Americans and with rival colonists over land ownership. Spain claimed Florida, New Mexico, California, Arizona, and Texas in 1542. The first serious attempts at European colonization were made in 1580 by English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh in an area named Virginia. He set up Jamestown as a colony in 1607. A group of religious dissenters from Plymouth in England landed near “Cape Cod” in Massachusetts and founded a small settlement called the “Plymouth Plantation”.

French explorers began to colonize today’s Quebec in Canada in 1608 and later began to travel along with Mississippi rivers claiming the whole river valley for France naming it Louisiana after the King Louis XIV of France.

In 1624, the Dutch West India Company founded the colony of New Netherlands on the Hudson River and built a trading post on Manhattan Island calling it as “New Amsterdam”. The English captured New Amsterdam from Dutch and renamed it “New York”. The first German settlers arrived in Pennsylvania in 1683.

In the 1400s, there were more than 300 tribes or nations dotted throughout North America. Over the next 400 years, many other foreign powers occupied different parts of American land. By 1910, the native population drastically declined to about 400,000 from 2 to 3 million people and many tribes had been forced from their homeland on to reservations.

Then the arrival of Europeans soon had a disastrous effect on the Native Americans due to the lack of resistance against diseases like measles and smallpox, warfare, territorial confiscation, removals, one-sided treaties and slavery due to discriminatory government policies into the 20th century.

Many Native Americans died in land disputes. Even though there are many contemporary issues remained unsolved, but since the 1960s, Native American self-determination movements have resulted in changes to the lives of Native Americans.

The Indian Removal Act passed in 1830 forced all Native Americans in the eastern states to live in reservations. One of the first nations to suffer was the “Cherokees”, many of whom died on “Cherokee March” on the way in 1838 what are known as “Trail of Tears”. The Homestead Act of 1862 allowed settlers to buy land on the “Great Plains” very cheaply.

Similarly, Navajos (Navaho) were forced to go on “The Long Walk” to Bosque Redondo in 1864. Many Cheyenne were massacred at Sand Creek, Colorado. The US government forced the Chiricahua Apaches to move from their homeland to a reservation in eastern Arizona in 1876.

In June, General Custer’s cavalry force was trapped and killed by Sioux and Cheyenne warriors at the battle of Little Bighorn. In revenge, the US cavalry massacred over 200 Sioux at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota. By 1885, only 2000 buffaloes were left down from 15 million in 1860.

Out of 50 states of USA, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians plus other Pacific Islanders are excluded from the definition of Native Americans by the United States Census Bureau. Broadly speaking, there are about 11 cultural and 11 linguistic groups in Alaska, five distinct sub-groups in Hawaii and other Pacific Island Americans.

More than 500 federally recognized tribes out of tentatively 5.2 million American Indians in the USA account for 0.97 to 2% of the total population of America, 78% of who lived outside “Indian reservations”. American war of Independence declared from Great Britain gave rise to the creation of the United States of America by signing on July 4, 1776, between representatives of Great Britain and the delegates from the 13 colonies and the prudent settlement of American Civil war of 1861 swept America into greater power.

Thereafter, in the face of technologically advanced American army, it was very difficult for traditionally equipped Native American warriors or guerilla fighters to have victory in order to protect their land and cultures.

Even though, American history witnessed fierce guerrilla wars between the tribal Native Americans and the settlers at first and then between the dominant tribal chiefs and the US government. European arrivals in Native America accelerated skirmishing guerilla wars 1610 and 1909 for almost 300 years, but eight defiant tribal leaders vehemently fought their guerilla wars were namely; Opchanacanough (1554-1646), tribal chief within Powhatan Confederacy in Virginia; Pontiac (1714-1769), Chief of Ottowa Indians who fought against the British called Pontiac’s war near the great lakes in Illinois Country; Lappawinsoe (1677-1776), Chief of Lepane-Delaware tribe cheated in Walking Purchase; Black Hawk (1767-1838 ), leader of Sauk tribe who led the Black Hawk War between the United States and Native Americans; Osceola (1804-1838), chief of Seminole people in Florida; Joseph (1840-1904), chief of Nez Perce tribe of Washington; Red Cloud (1822-1909), chief of Sioux tribe (Red Cloud’s war) for controlling Powder River Country in present north-central Wyoming;  and Geronimo (1829-1909), super-leader of Bedonkohe Apache as a part of the prolonged period of the Apache–United States conflict.

When Mexican troops killed Geronimo’s mother, wife, and three children brutally, he became a “guerrilla fighter” and as super-leader of Apache tribe. Mexican and American soldiers were feared by Geronimo’s personality. Geronimo ultimately surrendered to Gen. Nelson Miles in Skeleton Canyon, Arizona on September 4, 1886, which marked the end of guerrilla war chapter in Apache tribe and western American history.

He took part in President Roosevelt’s election victory parade in 1905 after spending more than 14 years in captivity as a celebrity in defeat. He was buried at Fortsill, Oklahoma in the US after his death on February 17, 1909.

In nutshell, entire humanity should learn the historical lesion from both the defiant guerrilla fighters and the powerful American nation, what would happen if both sides were rigid in their positions.

Nation will win if she implements plans with strategic moves. Where are the jargons of human rights, freedom of expression and minority rights as used to plead globally in reality with a view to implementing in the nation’s life?

Charles Darwin’s struggle for existence does produce the survival of the fittest in natural as well as in the political world. That’s why; American leaders learned the lessons from their hardship in history, made their nations with greater commitment, improved their economy with greater fascinating jobs for making the unhappiest and most dissident people more supportive of the state.

From American history, we all stockholders in Nepal should learn a very strong lesson from ten year’s guerilla wars in our soil. Without charming economic growth, no guerilla wars can be controlled nor stopped at any corner in the world. Corrupt nations and leaders will water the plant of guerilla war to grow faster! That’s the crux of the matter! Sabai lai chetana vaya!

Publish Date : 30 April 2019 13:31 PM

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