August 1, 1999 Costal Community Network News, July/August 99

British Genocide - American Indians deciminated

“I will not ignore ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Kosovo.” British Prime Minister, Tony Blair

“The idea that Great Britain has any moral standing to intervene in another nation’s civil war because of supposed “ethnic cleansing” is simply preposterous. As a ruthless imperial power, It wrote the book on subjugating other races.” William Hughes

I agree with Hughes completely: Until Great Britain apologizes for the centuries that it spent invading, subjugating, and destroying great civilizations around the world, and the consequent ethnic cleansing of many of the citizens of the Nations it subjugated, it should keep silent. Daniel N. Paul

British Genocide

NOTE: The following is what Robert Jackson, chief American prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, had to say about genocidal behaviour:”

“No regime bent on exterminating another peoples will describe their intent in so many words, since such intent is imbedded in the very operation of the system of extermination. On the contrary, the actions of the agencies of murder are enough proof of such intent, and therefore when the transporting of people into the conditions of disease and death is condoned and facilitated by a government, and when these crimes are concealed from the scrutiny of the world of the same government or other agencies, it can be safely asserted that this regime intends to annihilate the targeted people and is guilty before the world of crimes against humanity.”

On September 27, 1989, I made my first public comments about the genocide the British committed against the Mi'kmaq in the Maritimes. The following is a very short version of the events that inspired me to do so.

During the first three centuries of the European invasion of the Americas, many European powers devised specialized, brutal ways to exterminate Native populations. The English were not an exception. During the late 1500s and 1600s, they first tried and tested successfully in what is today the Eastern United States their speciality: the use of scalp bounties to exterminate the region's Native populations. The age and sex of the victims usually determined what prices the bounty hunters were paid for the scalps they collected.

As if prideful of their inhuman deeds, English colonial officials left behind for posterity very detailed records of how they used these barbarous methods to virtually cleanse that area of North America of its original inhabitants. Their efforts proved so successful that by 1749 many of these once independent and proud people were wiped out or reduced to pitiful beggars. A similar fate awaited the Mi'kmaq.

Two years after Great Britain and France signed the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, which transferred to British control French colonial interests in Nova Scotia, the Mi'kmaq entered into a fight for the survival of their civilization with Great Britain that lasted for 50 years. That fight began in 1715 when, in an attempt to assert British control over the Mi'kmaq and thus the colony, two English officers met with the Mi'kmaq Chiefs to inform them of the terms of the Treaty and how it applied to their people. The Chiefs, responding in anger to their dictates, asserted that they did not come under the Treaty and that they would not accept George I as their sovereign. Nor would they recognize the king as owner of their country.

Further fueling the Chief's anger, the officers laid out the long-term intentions of the British: They proposed that the Mi'kmaq allow British settlement in their villages for the purpose of creating one people. The Mi'kmaq immediately rejected this outrageous request to submit to extinction through assimilation. The question of why the British did not then immediately start using scalp bounties to bring the Mi'kmaq in Nova Scotia to heel hasn't been answered. My guess is that they still considered the Mi'kmaq to be too powerful a force to be dealt with in such a manner. Their restraint lasted until1744.

At that time, after decades of waging an undeclared war with the Mi'kmaq, the colonial governments of Massachusetts and Nova Scotia formally declared war upon the Mi'kmaq Nation. As part of these declarations bounties were offered for the first time in Nova Scotia for the scalps of the Mi'kmaq and for any whites who aided them. Prices varied for the scalps of men, women, and children. This “legal” hunt ended when the 1748 signing of the Treaty of Aix-La-Chappelle.

In early 1749, under the direction of Lord Halifax, Commissioner of the British Lords of Trades and Plantations, Britain implemented a plan to settle more Protestants in Nova Scotia. The Lords named Edward Cornwallis to lead the effort. He, with a large contingent of settlers and military personnel, landed in Nova Scotia on June 26, 1749. He immediately began building a settlement at Chebucto harbour, which was later rechristened Halifax in honour of the Commissioner.

At first, the Mi'kmaq greeted the new arrivals with open arms. Here is how one settler described their reception in a letter home: When we first came here, the Indians, in a friendly manner, brought us lobsters and other fish in plenty, being satisfied for them by a bit of bread and some meat.

If Cornwallis had at this time chosen to deal with the Mi'kmaq in a respectful manner, I firmly believe that peace would have prevailed. He did not.

In early September of 1749, Cornwallis sent several English officers to meet with the MI’KMAQ Chiefs to tell them that they must now accept the King’s sovereignty over their land, and they must submit his rule. When the Mi'kmaq refused, war broke out once again.

On October 1, 1749, Cornwallis called together members of his council to deal with the situation. They decided that to declare war against the Mi'kmaq would tacitly acknowledge them as a free and independent people. Instead, they chose to treat them as criminals, and as rebels against His Majesty's government. It was then decided that a bounty would be offered for any Mi'kmaq, including women and children, taken or killed. To carry out their genocidal intentions, the council locally raised a company of fifty volunteers for immediate field action. And, during the winter months, they recruited a company of one hundred bounty hunters in New England to join with Gorham's Rangers, a Mass Bay colony militia stationed in Nova Scotia, to scour the province for human prey.

In a letter defending his action to the Lords of Trade and Plantations in London, Cornwallis wrote that his intention was to remove the Mi'kmaq forever from Nova Scotia. The Lords wrote back that "by filling the minds of bordering Indians with ideas of our cruelty" that Cornwallis might cause the Tribes to unite and carry out a general continental war against the Europeans.

Despite his best efforts, Cornwallis failed in his bid to exterminate the Mi'kmaq. But, after the “Burying of the Hatchet”ceremony in 1761, the Mi'kmaq were victimized at various times over the two centuries by starvation, malnutrition, and other indignities. Today, the Mi’kmaq Nation is beginning to rise again.

Was the 1749 founding of Halifax a positive event for the Mi'kmaq people? Only a white supremacist could believe that a European Nation's invasion of Mi'kmaq lands, which practically destroyed Mi’kmaq civilization and reduced the Mi’kmaq people from a high standard of living to a starvation existence, was an improvement in their lifestyle. Therefore, the answer must be a resounding “no!”

Daniel N. Paul

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Click to read about American Indian Genocide

Please visit these URLs to read more about British barbarities


A better understanding of the before mentioned can be had by reading: First Nations History - We Were Not the Savages - 2006 Edition

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