Reply To: The Puritans and the Indians


If you define “steal” in that way, then any acquisition of land throughout human history without the benefit of a modern contract would be defined as stealing. Many early Europeans purchased Indian land through contract, meaning a treaty or mutual agreement, Sometimes one or neither party honored the contract, which resulted in bloodshed, and sometimes Europeans were rebuffed by violence before being offered a “contract” which of course resulted in retribution. Many Celtic peoples squatted on land, owned by Europeans or otherwise, and in the process acquired it de facto. They also faced the prospect of violence. David Crockett’s family was slaughtered by marauding Indians, for example. I think one of the “myths” that needs to be challenged in the notion of the peaceful Indian only made hostile by land hungry Europeans. Tribal warfare was brutal business and the practice of indiscriminate killing (men, women, and children) was evident before the English arrived in the 17th century.