INDIAN SURVIVAL CRISIS BULLETIN
NO. 15A OCTOBER, 1985
FUN AND FROLIC IN HISTORY
In the last installment, we had Cortes back in Mexico where his enemies had usurped his authority and even his property (he stole from the Indians was taken over. In brief, he had gotten a dose of his own medicine. That's what he had done to Indians. He went back to Spain to complain. The King patted and consoled him, but he did not restore to Cortes his "rights". Like Columbus, Cortes spent his last years in "shame and neglect" and died in dire poverty. Gratitude of Princes you might say. When no longer useful, Sir Caucasian gets rid of you. Why? Well, it's practical! The King takes the place of God on earth.
The Pizarro brothers, Francisco and Hernando, were a double trouble for the Quechua Indians in Peru, South America. The Quechua had a leader the Inca, who was an Emperor of a large part of South America. Some folks call the Quechua the Inca Indians. There can only be one Inca at a time. It is the title of the Emperor. As with other Empires, the subject nations were the weakness of the Inca's empire. Francisco Pizarro, with his business partner Almagro, Father Lugue (can't keep the clergy home, gotta be the boss behind the scene) and Francisco's kid brother Hernando, led an army of "explorers" bristling with weapons, to acquire more infidel lands for his Most Christian Majesty Charlie V of Spain. Pizarro reported that the country was divided by a civil war. What he meant to say was that he and his army got busy and made trouble among the Indians, making the nations in the Inca empire fight each other in the approved European principle of divide and rule. The trick worked like it always does. Then they pulled the same trick on the Inca as the one Cortes pulled on Montezuma. Pretend peace and when the Indios were not looking to grab everything. Like Montezuma, the Inca Atahualpa, also lost his throne, his country and his head. Civilization was in a rut. No variety.
Pizarro couldn't cope with success. It went to his head. He became a tyrant like all other conquerors. He quarreled with his partner Almagro. He must have got the worst of it because his kid brother Hernando felt called upon to settle it. He strangled Almagro so the heroic figure of his big brother Francisco may reign supreme. Almagro's son decided to avenge his pa. He murdered Pizarro in his palace: that is, in the Inca's palace. Pizarro did not share the fate of Columbus and Cortes. He was not shamefully neglected in his final years. He was gloriously assassinated.
Friar Las Casas (improved spelling), who came with Columbus on his second trip, took notes for 70 years. Without his accounts, it's doubtful if the world would have ever heard of the learning and greatness of the Aztecs. He lived and wrote at a time when the power of the Inquisition was at its height. It is said that the entire world trembled at the mere mention of it. Bartolome de Las Casas was a member of the Dominican Order who were charged with carrying out the rules and executions of the Inquisition, yet Las Casas seemed never to have been a part of any of its activities. In the years between 1450 and 1650, the Inquisition carried out over 300,000 executions of heretics and these were public burnings. In 1550, right in the middle of those hot times, Las Casas took part in a famous debate with the Cardinal of Seville. The purpose of the debate was to determine if the natives of America were to be converted to Christianity by persuasion or by force. Las Casas advocated persuasion. Las Casas by then was a Bishop and about 80 years of age. Indians were not only heretics but also infidels and as such would be put to death on the spot in Christian lands. The Cardinal of Seville advocated Indio conversion by force and won the debate. He pulled rank. He was a cardinal and Las Casas was only a Bishop.
Another issue decided at that debate was slavery. To soothe the awakening concern of many people for human rights, it was decided to make rules for slavery. The teachings of Jesus was put aside for the ore earthly theories of Aristotle 384-322 B.C., a "pagan" Greek philosopher who thought that people who practiced human sacrifice or people who ate other people (cannibals) were inferior people born to serve the better people as slaves. It was so decided by religious authorities while not considering the fact that they too, qualified for the category of "inferior people". Didn't they practice human sacrifice in the 600 years the Inquisition terrorized the world by burning millions at the stake? That was human sacrifice! Nobody thought of putting the Inquisitors to work as slaves. We are to assume that slave traders, henceforth entered the dark continent and asked the native slave hopefuls, "Hey! Are you a cannibal?" Only when the native answered, "Yeah! I'm a cannibal!" did the slavers do their "duty" and grabbed the "inferior people" for transportation to the slave marts. We're more likely to think the slavers continued to grab any black person on sight and report that their merchandise of human beings are proven cannibals. Bishop Las Casas died at the age of 92 and was probably the only sympathizer the Indians had during those days of terror.
THE RAPE OF NORTH AMERICA
While the Indios of South America were trying to evade the Holy Spanish crusaders who were out to kill all infidels (non-Christians), their counterparts in North America were being invaded by European intruders. A believer of the Dark Age law by the name of Jacque Cartier raised the customary, inevitable cross of dispossession on the shore of the red man's land at a place he called "Gaspe". The palefaced strangers like to change things around like the names of places. Cartier stole the land in the name of God but put the words "LONG LIVE THE KING OF FRANCE" on the cross. According to European mentality or morality, stealing for God is not really stealing. Anyway, God never went to school. How can he read the words on the cross? So, the king didn't live long. Nobody lives long. That cross was for other robbers from Europe. It tells other Christian robbers that the area is already taken and the native infidels already dispossessed and to keep the hell out. With more restless natives like me, Cartier's old cross would have been quickly chopped down and quietly placed in my museum.
Parkhan, Uncle Sam's great twhistorian (twhistory, new word meaning twisted history), writes that a long time of sickly Indians waited for Cartier to lay his curing hand on them. That day many Indians regained their health. Many regained their eyesight, others got cured of rheumatism, arthritis, heaves, asthma, hives, deafness, paralysis, in brief every conceivable illness was cured by Cartier that day. one would think America a most unhealthy place. The following winter Cartier and his men lay dying from scurvy, caused by lack of personal hygiene. Remember that these pious men from Europe were not allowed to take baths by their religion of Europe. Cartier forgot to lay his curing hands on their persons. He was letting them and himself die. Fortunately for them, some of the "pagan savages" noticed their plight, felt sorry for them and cured them with herbal medicine.
Cartier and his men returned to France where he reported that "Les Sauvages" thought he was God. He must have told his audience about his miracle cures, wrought by his gifted hand. His stories must have lured and intrigued other sons of Gaul for his following increased and it didn't take long for Cartier and his ships hove to again in the infidel territory of Canada. Cartier reported that "Les Sauvages" were so happy to see him again that they ran into the water and went through a pagan ritual of "throwing water on themselves" to indicate great happiness in seeing the Frenchmen again.
From traditional sources, we get it that when Cartier and his men broke out of the ship reeking to high heaven, the natives, not speaking the French language, ran into the water and started to wash themselves in the hopes that the foreigners would take the hint and wash the disease bearing filth off their bodies and the Indians would not have to go through the previous winter's thankless job of curing the foreigners all over again. But the notions of washing one's self was so foreign to the foreigners that they thought they were being treated to a pagan ceremony to show how happy the natives were to see them again. A further word is that the natives seeing that the men of Gaul did not understand the hint, the Indians climbed out of the water and forcefully disrobed the Europeans, took them into the water and washed them with strong native soap. The Indian women meanwhile, boiled the civilized clothes and washed out all the sickness. Jacque Cartier and his crew never divulged this adventure as they would all have been burned at the stake for the heresy of bathing. They weren't flattered by this kind of attention. Went back to France and never returned.
It is not to be imagined that no Christian took a bath during the Dark Age. Those who did make sure there wasn't a whisper of it to reach the clergy. To take a bath was to flirt with disaster. Some many wonder when did the Christians start to take a bath again? How did bathing stop being a heresy? In the 18th century, Europe underwent about 100 years of religious wars which ended with the power of the mighty church greatly reduced. With the advent of Reformation (mild Christianity), the average European found himself with more personal freedom than in many centuries. They were now free to take a bath and some took advantage of it. The bulk of the population had gotten used to being crummy and so stayed crummy until something strange happened. Beau Brummel happened. Beau Brummel was the first famous fop that ever happened to England. He put man in long pants. He put a tie and vest on him. Brummel invented other accouterments for the man of style. Beau Brummel innovated men's clothing style forever. In 1805, Brummel was writing a column in a leading London newspaper in which he answered questions of etiquette, clothing styles and social situations. One question he avoided answering for a while, in order to build up a crescendo as it were, was: "Since you obviously don't use perfume, how do you circumvent the offensive body odor which is the lot of every one else?" People at the time merely poured perfume over the offending parts. When Beau Brummel finally answered the question and said, "I bathe", he caused a sensation and shocked the British nation. That year in England 35,000 people died after taking a bath. The "new" fad of bathing spread all over Europe. If Europeans didn't take a bath in 1905, they certainly didn't in 1555 when Jacque Cartier and his crew polluted the air in Canada. The Dark Age ended when Beau Brummel made the British take a bath and put them in long pants.
THE CHAMPLAIN TALL TALKS
About 70 years after Jacque Cartier and his company left Canada in disgust, another French hero made the scene in red man's land. This was Sieur Samuel de Champlain who is called "The Father of New France." Jacque Cartier is the grandfather. You now how it is when one gets old. One gets pushed into the background. It's a civilized custom to stick the oldsters into old people's homes. Cartier came before Champlain yet Champlain gets the title Father of New France. Twhistory says Champlain founded Quebec. Since Indians were already living there they must have found it first. Indians don't count. They were infidels. If they find anything, they don't really find it. Only the Europeans can find it.
A word about what happens when on gets too old. In 1984, Quebec wanted to stage celebrations to honor the memory of Jacque Cartier. The celebrations were to last 69 days. Since it was going to be expensive, the promoters decided to get public contributions. They sent out petitioners to rake in the money. "Sir, will you make a contribution to our celebrations in honor of Jacque Cartier?" The Joe on the street wanted to know, "Who the hell is Jacque Cartier?" The celebrations lasted less than two weeks and it was a decisive flop.
Sieur de Champlain made friends with the Hurons and Algonquins, two powerful Indian nations who were having trouble with the Iroquois. Champlain in his account, decided to fight the Iroquois by himself to impress all the Indians with French power. So, his Indian allies guided him to the country of the Mohawks, the Iroquois country closest to the French. According to Champlain's own account, the enemy, all 200 of them (probably exaggerated their number), came to meet him. He was armed with a 16th century blunderbuss (musket). When the enemy got close enough to see the whites of their eyes, he fired off his famous gun and killed three Iroquois chiefs at once. Now, that was almost 400 years ago. A year or so ago, we heard of a police raid on a motel in which hundreds of shots were fired from machine guns filling one of the suspects. It's a reflection on modem weapons when it takes a whole clip in a machine gun to kill one man while Champlain, 380 years ago, killed three Iroquois chiefs with only one shot from his blunderbuss. John Dillinger made a mistake using a machine gun against the G-men. He should have gotten hold of Champlain's gun.
By the way, Iroquois chiefs don't go to battles. They say in the Council House (Long House) and hold council fires. The War Chief goes out to the battle field. The Grand Council has fifty Iroquois Chiefs sitting in all equal in power. If a chief in the council wishes to take part in a war party, he must first depose himself, go in as an ordinary warrior and take orders from the War Chief. After the action, if he survives intact, he can take his place again in the Council of Peace chiefs. In any war action, there is only one chief present and that is the War Chief. In Champlain's account, he says that with one shot he thrashed and dispersed the Iroquois army, scattered them in all directions. Why didn't he take over the Iroquois country then and there? Since the Iroquois were such pushovers, he and his allies should have been able to finish them all off. As it happened, they merely started a war which lasted more than 100 years and ended with the French losing their land holding in North America.
Twhistory records that Champlain took part in two other expeditions against the Iroquois. He says they defeated the Iroquois again, but that he was wounded. Since he was shot in the pants, it means he was running away from and not towards the engagement. In the third engagement, he just says they weren't successful. He's just too shy to say his expedition got chased out of the Iroquois country. He blamed it on the Hurons. They couldn't carry him out fast enough on a litter. He must have felt like a porcupine with the arrows sticking out all over him. He spent a whole winter with the Hurons getting over his wounds. He got expert medical attention, thank you. He essayed no more expeditions against Les Iroquois. There were other French heros in local twhistory. There was Naisonneuve who they say founded Montreal. He called it Ville-Marie. Twhistory says there were no Indians on the island of Montreal when the French moved in. Indians say there way. There were Mohawks on the island. Their story is that early one morning the people were awakened by pounding at the doors of the long houses wherein they lived. They were told that they were surrounded by 150 French and thousands of Hurons and Algonquins. If they didn't surrender they would be burned out. They surrendered. The chiefs were interrogated first. If they agreed to be converted to Christianity and kiss the cross they would be spared. If not, they'd be racked apart by two pairs of oxen, their own. They had been trading with the French and had gotten some domestic animals. The raiders came well prepared. The chiefs refused to be converted and were ranked to death. The last one advised the people to agree but to escape as soon as they got a chance. They were put in chains and never got the chance to escape. They ere forced to dig stone for the fort of Ville-Marie. They were awakened at dawn, given some food to eat (their own) and marched to the quarry where they were worked till nightfall, when they were given their second meal of the day. The prisoners of war were forced to keep the colony of New France in food. The colonials didn't know how to grow corn, potatoes, beans, etc. The prisoners had to teach them. In 1667, the prisoners were moved to the south shore where their slave labor was resumed. Their "job" was to break ground for growing food, build cabins and a church. They finish one area taking about 80 years when they were removed to another site where they continued this forced pioneering. French settlers moved into the newly built cabins and farmed the freshly broken ground. After four such moves, the war prisoners ended up in the present site of Kahnawakeh (called Caughnawaga by the Europeans) in 1716 and refused to go any further. They put their foot down. Being serfs for more than 75 years was long enough. The original prisoners were all gone. The serfs saw other people working and getting paid. They demanded the same kind of a deal. They even sued their Jesuit masters for control of the land. It was in the French courts for 40 years. It wasn't until 1762 (after the conquest of Canada), in the military court of General Gage that the land of Kahnawake came under the control of the Indians. The court decision allowed the Jesuits to remain in the area and be in control of the religion only. Two months later the court gave control of the other areas developed by the Indians to the Jesuits. So, we wonder if it was Naisonneuve who was the hero who put the Mohawks of Ehserakeh (Hochelaga to the French) into serfdom for so long. To be sure the Iroquois tried many times to free the Mohawk war prisoners. The most famous of these attempts was the Massacre of Lachine. But let's not get ahead of our story.
One of the most swashbuckling of the French heros was Pierre Radisson. His exploits inspired many French adventurers to haunt the wilderness of the New World chasing after riches in furs. There was a report of Pierre Radisson moving through the forests and rivers with $6 million dollars worth of furs. What a lure! Pierre even got himself captured by the Mohawks. He was to spend several years with them. The charming rascal ingratiated himself with the fierce woodsmen. He won them over so completely they even gave him an Indian name in a special naming ceremony, with much singing and dancing. The Mohawks stopped watching him closely and he was able to escape. Pierre Radisson found himself back in Quebec telling his story. His audience included the Governor of New France. The story of Pierre Radisson made the movies some years back which was shown on the television. The movie showed the governor asking Pierre what was the Indian name the Mohawks gave him? When Pierre very proudly said, "They gave me the name Orihna!" the Mohawks watching the TV show howled. Orihna is a pet name for the female sex organ or reproduction. It goes to show how much rapport Radisson had established with the Mohawks. That he would be given the pet name of the woman's most sacred and precious part shows how revered was Radisson by the Mohawks. What delicacy of feeling! Only the Mohawks of yore would think of showing appreciation, admiration and reverence in this manner.
INDIAN SURVIVAL CRISIS BULLETIN