Global Native Wars

Global Native Wars  

Native American warriors, USA

Waging war against Native peoples has of course been a constant part of colonization which spread from Europe to the Americas and in time to the rest of the globe.

Wars afflicted native peoples throughout the Americas, Pacific and Oceania, Asia and Africa. The history of warfare waged against native peoples is therefore a colossal history.

The wars fought against Māori in New Zealand form a part of this massive global history of native wars which will be briefly assessed here.

Impacts of War on Native Peoples

The scholarship on war – and the impact of war – on Natives peoples is of course huge. This is to say nothing about the impacts of broad processes like colonisation, which was (and is) of course far from a unitary or singular process. The literature of these issues is vast – some of this will be reviewed here shortly.

The moutoa battle monument, WhanganuiOne interesting – and controversial – aspect of this research has been the issue of genocide against native peoples. One interesting book worth reading is Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide. Holocaust and Denial in the Americas 1492 to the present (City Light Books, San Francisco, 1997).

Churchill’s main argument – that the Native peoples of the Americas were subject to an historic genocide after 1492 – was earlier canvassed by acclaimed American historian David E Stannard, in his chapter entitled ‘Uniqueness as Denial: The Politics of Genocide Scholarship’, published in Alan S Rosenbaum (ed), Is the Holocaust Unique? Perspectives on Comparative Genocide (Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, 1996, pp. 163-208).

From our perspective in New Zealand, these are heady, intellectual and controversial debates – eg the uniqueness of the Jewish Holocaust of the 1930s-1940s. However, making sense of them is important – further comment and analysis, with the Māori situation in New Zealand in mind – will be added shortly.