Benjamin Franklin
1706 - 1790

Franklin wrote the following after a large group of innocent Indians were massacred because of the actions of others from another Tribe:

"If an Indian injures me, does it follow that I may revenge that Injury on all Indians?

"It is well known that Indians are of different Tribes, Nations and Languages, as well as the White People.

"In Europe, if the French, who are White People, should injure the Dutch, are they to revenge it on the English, because they too are White People?

"The only Crime of these poor Wretches seems to have been, that they had a reddish brown Skin, and black Hair; and some People of that Sort, it seems, had murdered some of our Relations.

"If it be right to kill Men for such a Reason, then, should any Man, with a freckled Face and red Hair, kill a Wife or Child of mine, it would be right for me to revenge it, by killing all the freckled red-haired Men, Women and Children, I could afterwards any where meet with."

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7
Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 |Chapter 14 
Chapter 11

We Were Not the Savages - The Edge of Extinction

U.S. President Martin Van Buren said in 1837, “No state can achieve proper culture, civilization, and progress… as long as Indians are permitted to remain.”1 This statement clearly reflects the White supremacist mentality that the indigenous peoples of the Americas have had to contend with since Columbus landed in 1492.

No one can estimate with absolute certainty what the Mi’kmaq population was when Great Britain assumed control of Acadia from the French in 1713. However, only a large population could have withstood the genocidal campaigns the English conducted against them during the next 154 years. Such a conclusion is also supported by the fact that the English considered the Mi’kmaq a force to be reckoned with for seventy-five years or so after seizing control of Acadia. Further supporting the argument for a large Mi’kmaq population is the fact that the British did not initially pursue the subjugation of the Mi’kmaq Nation with the same cruelty they used against the smaller Amerindian Nations in New England.

But after 1713 the pressure on the Mi’kmaq population began to escalate as the English single-mindedly pursued their long-term goal of subjugation and extinction. They used every means available from military might to poisoned food and germ warfare.

These quotes bear witness to English barbarism: “The English countered… serving poisoned food to the Indians at a 1712 gathering,”2 which resulted in the indiscriminate deaths of innocent men, women and children. In one of many incidents recorded by Father Pierre Maillard, “a detachment of English soldiers came across a small camp of five Mi’kmaq women and three children in a remote area of western Nova Scotia and killed and disembowelled them.”3 The English also engaged in germ warfare: they “traded poisoned woollen goods to some Micmac, causing the deaths of more than two hundred Indians.”4

Two contagious diseases, smallpox and a fever, probably typhus, contracted from both British and French military personnel, also caused enormous casualties among the Mi’kmaq. A smallpox epidemic among French soldiers stationed at Louisbourg spilled over into the Cape Breton Mi’kmaq community during an epidemic in 1732-33, causing many deaths. It “reached such proportions that the Indians refused to come in for their gifts, without which they were reduced to the utmost misery,”5 suffering hunger and starvation. An unknown contagious fever was brought ashore in Nova Scotia in 1746 by the remnants of a French fleet that had been sent to retake Louisbourg:

The fever took a heavy toll on the Europeans: more than a thousand men had died at sea and another thousand died on the shores of Chebucto

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