The genocide of peoples indigenous to the U.S. portion of North America proce-eded along different tracks, each defined by the policies of the colonial power pursuing it. The colonization began in 1607 when England’s Jamestown colonists arrived in present-day Virginia with instructions to “settle” the already heavily populated coastal area. Beginning in 1830, the U.S. undertook a policy of “removing” all native people from the area east of the Mississippi River. In the series of interments and thousand-mile forced marches which followed, entire peoples were decimated. The Cherokees, for instance, suffered 50 percent fatalities during the “Trail of Tears”; the Choctaws, Chickasaws, Seminoles and Creeks, 25 to 35 percent apiece.
Picture: “The Trail of Tears” Painting by Robert Lindneux in the Woolaroc Museum, Bartlesville, Oklahoma.