In researching my book American Heart of Darkness, I found persistent myths about the growth and development of the United States. From the first colony in Jamestown to the present, these myths have covered up the reality of what values and prerogatives actually drive the national direction.

First and foremost among these are the prevailing assumptions that the indigenous population of what is today 'North America' was 'primitive' and just could not 'adapt to modernization'. Further, that they were not resistant to European diseases and that this was the primary reason for their numbers having been reduced from at least 18 million to a mere 200,000 early in the 20th century.

The Native American world view was far different from that of the English speaking (and thinking) historians who wrote 'our' history. What the Native Americans experienced was the outright slaughter of their people and the theft of the land on which, and from which, they lived. Many, especially the plains Natives, did not think of land as something somebody could own. It was just there, like the wind, for all to use. Of course there were disputes over hunting territory and so forth, but these were child's play compared to what Europeans called 'war'.

Historians looking at land issues from the Native American point of view did not see much in the way of fair negotiating for the purchase of land. When the colonists bargained with the natives, it was not negotiated in good faith. I believe it was in Pennsylvania that an agreement was made for a fixed amount of money for land that extended westward for "as far as a man could walk in one day." Now, that would be about ten miles through wooded terrain. That wasn't a good enough deal for the colonists, so they had a team clear a path to the interior and recruited someone who would be the modern equivalent of a race walker who could cover about 75 miles in a day, maybe more. The Native people just did not think in such a duplicitous way.

I really looked into the smallpox issue and I found that this could not possibly have been responsible for the eradication of about 18 million natives. Around the end of the 18th century, many Europeans died each year from smallpox, but it was in no way comparable to the literal extermination of the American natives. To be sure, smallpox was a factor, but outright slaughter, displacement of entire nations, starvation, and other disease were the cumulative effects that led to the native American holocaust. Add to this the fact that a people whose whole civilization is under assault are not going to have many children. After all, living amongst the slaughtered bodies of your people isn't exactly romantic.

Most natives died from the period after the Civil War to the early 20th century (about 50 years). This was when the likes of William Tecumseh Sherman masterminded the slaughter of about 30 million buffalo for the purpose of starving out the plains Indians. This was deliberate. I found it in his memoirs and his personal papers. It was the largest slaughter of mammals in the history of the world, and he said it was the only way to be done with the Indians and their "useless way of life." This fit right into the belief systems of his Calvinist ancestors. Sherman and his like did not buy any land what-so-ever. They stole it. It was interesting that he noted that all of his troops from the Civil War were no match for the Comanche, and the only way to beat them was to destroy their food source. He had already practiced "total warfare" against the South. The Union Pacific railroad was built largely for the purpose of transporting so-called Buffalo hunters, a repulsive collection of animals in human form.


Colonists with American buffalo skulls
The whole story was really disgusting and did not leave me "proud of my heritage". One of those lowlander Scots who came here in one of the waves of immigrants was named "Kirkconnell," and I am not sure what he did or did not do, but it probably was no different from the overall scheme of things.

Having done extensive ancestry research, I do agree with the comment to my last article that only the first settlers were British, and that most of those that followed were not. I found wave after wave of German speaking refugees that consisted of Jews and Berbers descended from those who fled Spain during the Spanish inquisition. Of note is the possibility that some of these people came to America before the 1600s. Not well known is the fact that the Moorish enlisted troops were Berbers, not Arabs, who left Spain along with the Jews. Also, there were tens of thousands of German speaking gypsies who seemed to have been successful in hiding their origins and blending in.

Many of these peoples anglicized their surnames and pretended to have British origins. There were other refugees from other areas that did the same thing. I found some in my family who had hidden their origins for so many generations that they had forgotten what they were hiding, but still had the tradition of hiding it. Some in my mother's family used Gypsy expressions but did not know the origins of these sayings. It is interesting. I once ran into another researcher who thought he was Native American, but found out that he was really Gypsy. He had descended from Gypsies who were pretending to be Native Americans because they thought they would face less discrimination.

In most areas of North America you had to be on record as being White to own property, and there were other "perks" to having Anglo-Saxon, Christian origins. Well guess what happened? Many Jews, Muslim, and Native Americans became WASPs. It is ironic that much of American ancestry has been buried to the point that Americans really don't know who they are. Perhaps this adds to the 'they' concept in that Americans think of 'other people' as being completely alien to themselves. Americans have forgotten that the 'we' came from 'them'. Elizabeth Hirschman goes into who, what, where, when, and why of all of this in her most enlightening book, Melungeons, The Last Lost Tribe in America. It is a fascinating read that is so 'outside the box' that many Americans reject it out-of-hand.

Having destroyed a highly advanced civilization of Native Americans, an act of genocide that Hitler did not come close to doing, America went even further West. I found evidence that about one million "useless" Phillippinos met the same fate as Native Americans in the early 20th century. The methods used were identical to what happened to Native Americans, and small pox had nothing to do with it. Their genocidal tendencies unsatisfied, about 3 million South East Asians also became the 'new Indians' in the second half of the 20th century, and again, no small pox. The parallels are too many to ignore. 'Pacification' was a term used by Andrew Jackson in his campaign against the Seminole and also by U.S. forces in Vietnam. What it really meant was far from pretty. And it was the Rand Corporation that took the position that "at least one half of all food production" in South Vietnam would have to be destroyed to weaken the insurgency in South Vietnam. This "study" resulted in the mass poisoning of our ally and even our own troops as Monsanto and Dow Chemical's stock went up. I was one the recipients of one of the most toxic chemicals known to man, dioxin. "Destroy the food source" is too similar to what Sherman did to the Buffalo to be a coincidence. But as with the French, the weak prevailed against the strong in South East Asia and it was the United States that had to lower the flag. Did the U.S. stop there? No. The U.S. had to 'liberate' Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and many more...


Giving thanks...
Yes, there are some things that Americans are really good at, but I think that the hidden racism and genocide, past and present, are festering wounds that cannot heal and will not heal until there is a full accounting of these horrific crimes. We are an extroverted people who are talkative and interactive. We have confidence in ourselves, and we are very innovative. Americans work together well and share information. We like to teach others what we know. We are impulsive and not afraid to try new things. America never stood as tall as when American astronauts landed on the Moon.

I just got back from a fitness center where a Ugandan man told me he was a young boy when the Moon landing happened, and from that day on, he decided that America is where he was going to live. It was a long story, but he finally ended up at U.C. San Diego and somehow put the money together to graduate. This Ugandan's story is the story of America. This is how people got here. They heard there was opportunity here so they jumped on a ship, or whatever, and here they are. No wonder we have the highest rates of Attention Deficit Disorder in the World; our ancestors would have had to have had it to get here in the first place! Maybe that is why we run around the world like a Bull in a china shop.

We have, however, allowed the very worst of us to set the course for the ship of state. Think what the world would be like now if we had spent the countless trillions of dollars that we have spent on destruction on creation! It could have been done, but instead we waged a war against the weak from the beginning to the present.

I like us, but I think that the trail of blood we have left behind has damaged our national character. In destroying the souls of others we have also damaged our own. We need to own up to what we have done and what we are doing so that we can go forward and meet the challenges ahead. We have got to stop this. We are destroying ourselves and also the rest of the world.

In the US military for 27 years, Robert Kirkconnell later taught high school for 15 years. Today he is an activist and author of American Heart of Darkness: The Transformation of the American Republic into a Pathocracy