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Birth Of A Nation

Abby Zimet


Indifferent mass graves at Wounded Knee. Front, the body of Chief Big Foot.

Wowza. In a stunning display of racist ignorance that left many speechless except to call him "a nightmare,""an absolute asshole" and a "xenophobic sentient wet bag of garbage," evangelical white supremacist, failed GOP pol, longtime heedless bigot - homosexuality=bestiality - and for now still-inexplicably-employed CNN commentator Rick Santorum just told a crowd of aspiring young Nazis that America was "birthed" by devout freedom-seekers who "came here and created a blank slate. We birthed a nation from nothing," thus both giving a crude shout-out to a film that glorifies the KKK and blithely dismissing the millennia-long existence of thousands of complex sovereign Tribal Nations and "the most massive act of genocide in the history of the world." Speaking to the right-wing Young America's Foundation, Santorum said the country was "born of the people who came here pursuing religious liberty...the two bulwarks of America.” He entirely falsely claimed the European colonists "set up a country that was based on Judeo-Christian principles...That is what our founding documents are based on," evidently unaware they're largely based on the principles of the Iroquois Confederacy, founded in 1142 and the oldest living democracy on earth. In the spirit of his latest venture as board member of Mike Pence's shiny white Advancing American Freedom advocacy group, he repeated that, when the noble colonists arrived, "There was nothing here," perfunctorily adding, "Yes, we have Native Americans, but there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture" - an erasure of Native people and history that Sioux activist Nick Estes calls "a foundational sin of a make-believe (and blood-soaked) nation."

After his "straight-up handwave" to a 500-year holocaust that obliterated up to 120 million indigenous people and their culture, outrage followed. Where to begin. First, the historical record. Based on their "principles," the colonizers encoded into law the slaughter, rape, kidnapping, brutalizing, starvation, enslavement, forced sterilization and land theft of between 20 million and 120 million Native men, women and children. They died on the Trail of Tears and at Wounded Knee; they died of smallpox, typhus, cholera and other forms of biological warfare; they died running from blazing homes - George Washington is the “village burner” in Mohawk; they died when their food supply was run off cliffs - "Kill the buffalo and you kill the Indians";  they died when their kids were forced into boarding schools to be "civilized" - "It is readily acknowledged that Indian children lose their natural resistance to illness by habitating so close (and) they die at a much higher rate than in their village"; they died after teaching the usefulness of corn, beans, squash, cotton, rubber, potatoes, tobacco to white men who then erased their spiritual beliefs and sacred respect for Mother Earth; they died from five centuries of shooting, stabbing, burning, scalping in "a ruthless, angry search for wealth" that had no limit, a "final solution" to the "Indian problem" that then inspired the savagery of Hitler; they died obscenely after leaving behind their native names for rivers, towns, streets across America because, says Mohawk Kahentinetha Horn, "The smell of death in their own backyard does not seem to bother North Americans." So no, "There isn’t much Native American culture." Maybe because of all the genocide? In a statement, the National Congress of American Indians called Santorum "an unhinged and embarrassing racist" who should be fired and whose continuing platform on CNN is akin to "putting an outright Nazi on television to justify the Holocaust.” Also, says The Eagleist, "A rez dog can 'birth' a massive shit right in Rick Santorum's racist mouth."

"They are wondrous timid...They are so artless and free with all they possess, that no one would believe it without having seen it...Of anything they have, if you ask them for it, they never say no; rather, they invite the person to share it, and show as much love as though they were giving their hearts; and whether the thing be of value or of small price, at once they are content with whatever little thing (may) be given to them... I could conquer the whole of them with fifty men, and govern them as I pleased." - Christopher Columbus, writing in his journal   
"Indian boarding schools"
America before the illegal immigration of white men
Bodies at Wounded Knee
Judeo-Christian principles at work
The body of Chief Big Foot at Wounded Knee

Abby Zimet

Abby Zimet

Abby has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, she moved to the Maine woods in the early 70s, where she spent a dozen years building a house, thinning the carrots, hauling too much water, experiencing true if ragged community, and writing. Having come of political age during the Vietnam War, she has long been involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues. 

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