The racist hatred that white/European settlers in the early days of colonial settlement of North America would probably surprise even the most strident Klan member today. Governmental policy as practiced first by the British Parliament and then by the United States throughout much of early American History pretty much subscribed to the “good Indian is a dead Indian” philosophy even that that wasn’t overtly stated.
Not that it needed to be. In our national conversations about race, we carefully work our way around how native tribes were treated throughout the history of North America because we don’t want to address the facts of that hatred. Broken treaties. Unprovoked attacks and wars. Theft. Let’s not even get into the rampant abuses of the current reservation system. Terrible and disturbingly racist governmental policies. For only one example, look up what Andrew Jackson did to ignore a Supreme Court decision by using the US Army to remove the Cherokees from land in Georgia. It’s genocide, folks, and we have pretended it wasn’t for so long by casing it in language shaded with religious imagery by calling it such things Manifest Destiny and other such rot.
Well, some might argue, at least we didn’t use germ warfare against the native population. Or did we? The traditional story is that the British first came up with the idea in the 1760s to provide blankets to native tribes–blankets that had been laced with the smallpox virus. It’s not that this method of “taking care” of the “Indian problem” was more humane; no, it was more a case of the British feeling that such a method of killing was much more palatable to the soldiers who would ordinarily have to “endure” the difficult task of shooting.
And then the stories about the American Army giving similar smallpox-laden blankets to natives during one of the several Trail of Tears journeys during the first part of the 19th Century. There is anecdotal evidence of similar practices happening after the Civil War in the west when tribes were being moved onto reservations. What contributed to these stories was the fact that most native tribes often had a high rate of small pox infections. And blankets were given to native tribes. But, other than some possible talk in government circles about such practices in theory, there is no hard evidence that smallpox blankets were given to tribes–ever–by either colonial or state/federal governments or their agencies.
Again, some people will point to this myth as being only a myth and say that while natives were indeed killed, at least white people never conducted a systematic campaign of genocide against native tribes. But that’s like arguing that, while Hitler killed his millions, at least he never used a pea shooter to do it.
I’ll let the memory of the approximately 20,000,000 natives killed over the centuries since European colonization answer that argument.