Debate:Was the European colonization of the Americas good for the native people?

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Do you mean the countless millions of dead ones or the handful who survived and were put into the "ghettos" we like to call "reservations?"--Eastfernstreet 15:05, 26 May 2007 (EDT)

The European colonists brought Christianity to the Americas and ended the Central American practice of human sacrifice. --Ed Poor 05:22, 21 May 2007 (EDT)

I wonder how many people were killed to achieve this (latter) laudable aim? BrianCo 05:32, 21 May 2007 (EDT)
The Spanish forced Christianity yes. Did they sit down and tell them about it? Not really, they kinda just killed them all for their land and justified it with Christianity. God, Glory, Gold. GordonF 18:45, 15 March 2009
I remember that the Europeans practiced something much more civilized that was called burning at the stake. That was especially popular during the Spanish Inquistion where thousands of people were put to death for such crimes as heresy or blasphemy. So long live society approved murder. Rellik 21:41, 28 February 2008 (EST)

They sensibly replaced it with the human sacrifice to the concept of justice (capital punishment). The improvement here is that efforts are often made to avoid sacrificing innocent individuals. Thus the blood-lust of the population could be nurtured without arbitrary victimisation of innocents. Auld Nick 05:28, 21 May 2007 (EDT)

North American Indians did not practice human sacrifice. Poblano 10:45, 21 May 2007 (EDT)

Yes, it was definitely good for the natives. Look at how they lived before Europeans came to America. They lived in tepees and were practically naked all the time. Wouldn't you want help if you were in that situation? Thanks to our colonial ancestors, native people now have a much higher quality of life due to casinos, yet are still able to maintain some of their old ways on their reservations. It is the duty of civilized peoples to raise their inferiors up from savagery. Rudyard Kipling's "The White Man's Burden" comes to mind:

Take up the White Man’s burden—
Send forth the best ye breed—
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild—
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

--Conservateur 14:12, 21 May 2007 (EDT)

I sincerly hope that the above opinion is not serious, and if it is, that it is not the opinion of the majority of contributors on this site. What a shame.Jnl001 19:49, 22 May 2007 (EDT)

I'm hopeing this is a Devils advocate posting or one based on sheerignorance of history and contemporary life in Indian Country, because it is one of the most racist, bigotted things I've read in a long time. Maybe this is what the next round of media articles about Conservapedia will focus on. I can see the headlies now. "New Wiki becomes bastion of skinheads and American Nazis"--Third Day 09:58, 23 May 2007 (EDT)

I don't really see how one could argue otherwise. The Europeans taught the Indians that it was wrong to kill each other in the name of their false gods, and taught them Christianity. It is unfortunate that many were killed by diseases, but at least their souls were saved. And I agree with Conservateur's point that the whites improved their living conditions immensely. JBT 02:36, 2 June 2007 (EDT)

JBT, who are you to say whose gods are false and whose gods are true? If people who follow different gods, and people who disbelieve in all gods would just agree to disagree then we'd all be a lot happier! --Eyupdutch 10:16, 28 June 2007 (EDT)
I'm sure the native people are always glad to be forced into slavery and have their customs and culture brutally put down. Not to mention the 95% (a conservative figure) of their population that died due to disease and war brought by the white man. Yep I'm sure they loved that. Rellik 20:32, 28 February 2008 (EST)
The Europeans introduced Christianity to the natives, allowing them to convert and go to heaven rather than remaining in pagan superstition and burning in eternal perdition. Nothing is more valuable than eternal life, and nothing the Europeans could have done could have made their effect on the natives negative. --ProudGator (talk) 15:50, 21 April 2019 (EDT)


Am I allowed to argue on both sides? I don't think this is a black and white issue.

If the reports of "smallpox blankets" and Caribbean slavery are true, then Columbus took advantage of several thousand Native Americans. Also, I've heard that the native population was reduced 90% by European colonists - presumably through conquest and starvation. --Ed Poor 05:37, 21 May 2007 (EDT)

I'm not sure what the point of this debate is, the question seems bit of a Trojan Horse, but I would imagine that those who survived would say no. Bringing disease, alcohol and superior firepower to wipe many of them out, then settling their land out can hardly be a good thing from their point of view. Hopefully a few of them will respond here. Of course from the colonists' point of view everything has turned out pretty good. Also European colonization of the Americas covers a very wide range of incomers and indigenous peoples so there can be no simple answer. BrianCo 05:45, 21 May 2007 (EDT)

Of course not. Just look at Mexico, smallpox killed of more than half of the native population, and people starve, the dead laid in the streets of their once clean cities, and people were tripping over their own intestines at Toxcatl. Also, in America, Wounded Knee Creek killed many Souix, Slavery was common, and the government ripped off the Ojibwe with promised food. The Navajos were also forced to march hundreds of deadly miles from their home. Also in South America, people were worked to death in the silver mines.

No. Just look at the Trail of Tears and the Wounded Knee Massacre. I don't think after the North American Indians (who did NOT practice human sacrifice) who surivived mass slaughter, deportation, the rape of their women, the capture of their land, the deliberate and inadvertent spread of disease were thinking: and they brought us Christianity! What benevolent people! Poblano 10:45, 21 May 2007 (EDT)

My God. I cannot believe that anyone is so historically ignorant that they even could ask such a question. Let’s put it this way: If invaders raped your women, forced their religion on you, stole your land, and exposed your people to diseases that resulted in population loss of 90%, would you be OK with that? I did not think so. White man’s burden? Who asked for your help? We were just fine until you jackasses showed up.--Davyjones 14:30, 21 May 2007 (EDT)

I hate to ruin your liberal-taught preconceived ideas of how America was colonized, but you have been grossly misinformed. There was not nearly as much raping going on as is claimed by anti-European groups. And for the most part, at least in North America, land was not stolen. It was bought by the British/US governments from tribal leaders, but some of the tribe members refused to leave and had to be evicted or killed. And don't pretend like native tribes were having one big peacefest prior to the arrival of Europeans. The fact is that tribes had been at war with each other for centuries, committing atrocities that rivaled or even surpassed those of the colonials. Even when uniting against the so-called "invaders" would have been in their best interests, they didn't do so.
If it wasn't for European colonization, there would still be wars between tribes going on today. You're welcome.--Conservateur 14:42, 21 May 2007 (EDT)

DO you have any sources to back that up?--Davyjones 14:54, 21 May 2007 (EDT)

I thought "scalping" was common knowledge. Do you really need me to give a source for the practice? Torture was so common among some tribes that it is became a mark of courage to endure it with no outcry. Maybe the 'courage' thing needs a reference, but *sheesh* can't you just go to Google when someone makes a point in a debate?
Are we airing our different points of view to find out how others think, or do we imagine a huge audience is watching to see who wins? --Ed Poor 19:55, 22 May 2007 (EDT)

Good to know that that rape and murder is something to be thankful for. So remember, the next time someone breaks into your home, kills you, rapes your wife, and carries your children off and sells them into slavery, you are supposed to thank them! No wonder people think conservatives are stupid and racist! They never miss a chance to prove they are!--Davyjones 15:04, 21 May 2007 (EDT)

Conservateur, moral equivocation doesn't make what colonists did either helpful, good, or justified in any way. Just because some of the tribes were at war with each other, or that they committed atrocities that "rivaled or even surpassed" those of the colonists, doesn't make it alright that we devastated them with disease, took any of their lands whatsoever, and committed any acts of violence for the goal of westward conquest. The fact is, colonists were the result of their decimated population, and the loss of their tribal lands, whether through sale or force, and that has to be recognized. And even if it was our intervention that stopped their warring (though clearly, that was not the goal when we set out to expand "our" country), it cost them more than any of their tribal conflics ever did. The natives got the short end of the bargain.--Stereophile 20:45, 21 May 2007 (EDT)

One almost does not know where to begin. As the above poster noted, it is hard to fathom why this question is even asked in 2007. Nervertheless, I will try to address some of the misconceptions I see above. Most native peoples did not practice human sacrifice. As for the person above who states that jative land was not stolen, I agree with the poster who challenged him to provide sources. I noticed that none were forthcoming. As for not uniting in the face of European invasion, you have to remember that Native Americans viewed themselves as over 500 different nations. Would France, Spain, et al. have united in the face of an invasion? I also wish to address the remark concering scalping. Around 1980 or so, James Axtell published an article in the William and Mary Quarterly called "The Unkindest Cut" that showed that scalping was a European innovation. European officials paid Indians a bounty for each enemy scalp they brought in. In the eighteenth century, on the Carolina frontier, colonists also collected these bounties. So, who really is the "savage" here? I do not agree with the rather forceful tone of davyjones, but posters on Conservapedia may want to consider this: Some of the things they post can be used against conservatives. If you post something that could be made out to sound "stupid" or "racist," I assure you, there is someone out there who will use it that way. Since what we want is to win people to the conservative side, think before you post. I'm not saying do not say what is on your mind, but think how it can boomarang on conservatives.--Lobo 12:35, 24 May 2007 (EDT)

That's the second time you've inserted that nonsense:
  • "Historical records, archaeology, and other sciences strongly indicate the practice [of scalping] originated among certain Native American tribes." [1]

Hardly nonsense, and this is a good opportunity to point out the limitations of relying on “scholarship” that appears on the internet. The quote you cite from Bray’s article uses the Axtell article (that Lobo refers to above) as its support. There is only one problem. The Axtell article does not support Bray’s contention. The rest of Bray’s article lists scalping incidents that occurred during the French and Indian War which occurred two and half centuries after initial contact between Europeans and Native people. It would really be a good idea to check the veracity of your sources. --McIntyre 11:10, 3 June 2007 (EDT)

No...... because they were almost wiped out. Doesn't sound to good to me. Blsiusliurthg 14:10, 19 September 2007 (EDT)

We live on stolen land from an imprisoned people. Uberdude 15:30, 30 November 2007 (EDT)

I think the first time I posted this it was in the wrong place. This is aimed at Conservateur and while the comment was posted a while ago, I felt the need to say something:

First of all, I am shocked that this kind of debate is brought up in the 21st century. The only thing I find more despicable than the fact that this question is being asked is your argument. You debate like a ten year old in grade school who's research is founded on crappy John Wayne movies. I cannot help but think that this kind of argument is born out of ignorance and a rejection of facts. To first correct your argument, you probably did not bother to research any culture of any Native American tribe at all. Almost every tribe found between the Atlantic Coast and the Rocky Mountains were nomadic. This is not to say that tribes were constantly moving around. On the contrary, Native American tribes in the northeast would typically spend 10-15 years in any given settlement until the local resources ran out, and then they moved onto another area. Therefore, many tribes believed that land could not be owned, and that it could only be used temporarily. So as you can see its a clash in idealogies; settlers believed in the concept of private land ownership, while on the other hand, Native Americans had never heard of such a thing. I suppose that from this you could argue that very early on the colonists simply did not know any better. However, rather than try to come to an agreement with tribes on how to use the land, the settlers went ahead and as you so eloquently put it, "evicted or killed" the native populations. Of course this argument can only be applied early on, as North America became further settled, and Native American culture much more easy to grasp and learn, the government continued down the path it was already familiar with.

Now, I ask you, as a fellow American, to do one of the following: First, go out and buy a book called Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. It is long and sometimes dry, but it provides excellent historical and anecdotal texts that help to portray the plight of many Native American tribes. Read it, and then come back to this debate. However, if you do not read that book I ask you then, wherever you may be, in the office, at home, at church, to get out of your seat, go outside, and step in front of a large, fast moving vehicle. It is clear that this is not the only subject that you may have misconceptions of, and it is also clear that you do nothing ni order to fix these misconceptions. This country does not need your type of ignorance.

Was the Roman colonization of Europe good for the native people?

Maybe yes or maybe no. The effect was that Europe became Roman just as Americans became westernized. We will never know, in both cases.--Roopilots6 19:29, 13 June 2007 (EDT)

There is absolutely no way of telling because the Roman Empire killed anyone opposed to their rule, man, woman, or child. Even Julius Ceaser. Rome didn't colonize Native European tribes and kingdoms. Rome conquered them. ~ Christos 01/27/08

completely different, 1) they didn't kill a significant portion of them with diseases 2) they let them live where they were living previously to a large extent 3) they didn't scalp them 4)yes the Americas became westernized, but a large portion of the Native Americans weren't around to see it, and the ones who were lived on reservations. and yes it is quite obvious that the colonization of America was significantley worse (and even if the romans killed everyone opposed to their rule the colonizing Europeans killed pretty much everybody). and by the way christos invasion isn't as bad as colonization (for the natives)-Greenmeanie 23:12, 22 May 2008 (EDT)

A lot of crude misconceptions here, this unfortunately being the standard for broad revisionionist perspectives on colonialism, specifically throughout the Americas. However, one thing that I see being avoided is any admittance of the various social technologies of indigenous communities in general. This garish disdain for any kind of beneficial contributions to (actual) democracy, community organization, military technique, linguistic integrity, diplomacy, intrinsic collectivism and so on gives all of us an excellent primer to analyze the face of contemporary racism. That being a "reactive" collage of insistence that the only true victims of discrimination are the presiding cultural stewards themselves, (often) white, "successful," heterosexual males who we are thus portrayed as constant targets for some ludicrous PC ideology laying waste to their lives. A theory contradicted daily by the mere visibility of an entire culture held in the reigns of these supposed oppressed.

It is for this reason that I believe a backwards justification for colonial imperialism is drafted. With conquest and bloodshed being vainly denied, sugar-coated, or otherwise dishonestly portrayed as miniscule while the "benefits" of what is currently a system in peril reigning in the collective imagination as a societal role model.

Euro Colonization of the Americas: NO

I say no, it was not good for the native peoples. Quite simply because their numbers and identity as a separate peoples are reduced to almost obscurity. No, it was not good for them. Even if they may have learned certain cultural and civil refinements from the Europeans, they have still been reduced to almost non-existence through disease, war, depletion of their resources, and cultural assimilation and inter-breeding. I'm not giving a good/bad opinion on this so please do not misconstrue it. Jros83 21:04, 22 June 2007 (EDT)


i'm gonna ride the fence, yes for those alive today, no for those that died along the way... :) --Wally 19:30, 26 June 2007 (EDT)

Have you ever been to a reservation besides for the casino or the fireworks? It's not exactly upperclass living by a long shot. The Native people as a whole have higher rates of alcoholism, crime and unemployment, among other things. Good thing we came and saved them all so they can all go to heaven and live with Jesus!--Tehstone 17:13, 12 September 2007 (PST)

It depends on which European power was doing the colonizing. The trail of tears, wounded knee, smallpox blankets, are all perpetrated by the English or their relatives the Americans of the day. The Spanish forced Christianity on the Southern Native Americans as did the Portuguese. I've never before heard of however of any famous French atrocities or any examples of French treatment. If the modern living standard is used to measure whether European colonization was good for the Natives, then that answer is no because even though infant mortality rates and the such were hard to keep track of among Native populations in those days, the measure of pride and culture that was taken away in the subsequent years of European colonization can. ~ Christos, 01/27/08