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* Section 6 *

The role of the Church
and its "missionaries"
:
  Sections of the "American Holocaust" :
Intro ~ 1 ~ 2 ~ 3 ~
4 ~ 5 ~ [ 6 ] ~ 7 ~ 8

        From the very beginning, the Christians who invaded the Americas were convinced that

they were on a mission from God himself.

        That is what "the vicar of Christ" had proclaimed in the Holy See's "Doctrine of Discovery" :

"We have indeed learned that you (King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of what later became Spain). . . chose our beloved son, Christopher Columbus . . . whom you furnished with ships and men equipped for like designs, not without the greatest hardships, dangers, and expenses, to make diligent quest for these remote and unknown mainlands and islands . . .and they at length, with divine aid and with the utmost diligence sailing in the ocean sea, discovered certain very remote islands and even mainlands that hitherto had not been discovered by others (i.e. no Catholic); wherein dwell very many peoples living in peace, and, as reported, going unclothed, and not eating flesh. Moreover, as your aforesaid envoys are of opinion, these very peoples living in the said islands and countries believe in one God, the Creator in heaven, and seem sufficiently disposed to embrace the Catholic faith and be trained in good morals. (like enslaving and killing innocent people and stealing everything they own!)
        In the islands and countries already discovered are found gold, spices, and very many other precious things of divers kinds and qualities. Wherefore, as becomes Catholic kings and princes,. . ., you have purposed with the favor of divine clemency to bring under your sway the said mainlands and islands with their residents and inhabitants and to bring them to the Catholic faith. . . . And, in order that you may enter upon so great an undertaking with greater readiness and heartiness endowed with benefit of our apostolic favor, we . . . out of our own sole largess and certain knowledge and out of the fullness of our apostolic power, by the authority of Almighty God conferred upon us in blessed Peter and of the vicarship of Jesus Christ, which we hold on earth, do by tenor of these presents, should any of said islands have been found by your envoys and captains, give, grant, and assign to you and your heirs and successors, kings of Castile and Leon, forever, together with all their dominions, cities, camps, places, and villages, and all rights, jurisdictions, and appurtenances, all islands and mainlands found and to be found, discovered and to be discovered towards the west and south, by drawing and establishing a line from the Arctic pole, namely the north, to the Antarctic pole, namely the south, no matter whether the said mainlands and islands are found and to be found in the direction of India or towards any other quarter, the said line to be distant one hundred leagues towards the west and south from any of the islands commonly known as the Azores and Cape Verde. With this proviso however that none of the islands and mainlands, found and to be found . . . be in the actual possession of any Christian king or prince (as opposed to possession by non-Christians - which counts for nothing) up to the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ just past from which the present year one thousand four hundred ninety-three begins. . ..
        Furthermore, under penalty of excommunication . . . we strictly forbid all persons of whatsoever rank, even imperial and royal, or of whatsoever estate, degree, order, or condition, to dare without your special permit or that of your aforesaid heirs and successors, to go for the purpose of trade or any other reason to the islands or mainlands, found and to be found, discovered and to be discovered."
        (Pope Alexander VI, Inter caetera, 1493 AD)
Todorov, Tzvetan, The Conquest of America, pp.43-4, 47, Harper Perennial, New York, 1992.
Todorov, p.44. Clendinnen, Inca, Ambivalent Conquest, pp.73-4, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1987. Clendinnen, p, 79
(Emphasis & comments in parentheses by Ray Dubuque)

"In 1602 and 1603 Sebastian Vizcaino led an expedition of three ships up and down the California coast, with frequent stops on shore where his men spent time with various Indian peoples. There was sickness on Vizcaino's ships from the moment they set sail, and before the voyage was complete it combined with scurvy to literally shut the voyage down. Scores of men were incapacitated. At one point Vizcaino wrote: 'All the men had fallen sick, so that there were only two sailors who could climb to the maintopsail.' The ship that he was on, Vizcaino later added, 'seemed more like a hospital than a ship of an armada.' Fray Antonio de la Ascension, one of three clergymen who made the voyage with Vizcaino, feared the whole crew was close to death. But fortunately for the Spanish—and unfortunately for the natives—the Indians helped the crippled sailors, offering them 'fish, game, hazel nuts, chestnuts, acorns, and other things. . . . for though but six of our men remained in the said frigate, the rest having died of cold and sickness, the Indians were so friendly and so desirous of our friendship . . . that they not only did them no harm, but showed them all the kindness possible.' There can be no doubt that for their kindness the Indians were repaid by plagues the likes of which nothing in their history had prepared them.

    The author of this "Columbusnohero" website is only offering these pages as a bird's eye view of the outstanding book "American Holocaust". Apart from a few editorial comments of mine, most of the content are the words of the author, David E. Stannard, and a few other writers, I hope that the reading of these carefully chosen excerpts will persuade many to learn the whole truth about the European "discovery" of America - which is totally different from most have been taught -,

The earliest European mariners and explorers in California, as noted in a previous chapter's discussion of Cabrillo, repeatedly referred to the great numbers of Indians living there. In places where Vizcaino's ships could approach the coast or his men could go ashore, the Captain recorded, again and again, that the land was thickly filled with people. And where he couldn't approach or go ashore 'because the coast was wild,' the Indians signaled greetings by building fires—fires that 'made so many columns of smoke on the mainland that at night it looked like a procession and in the daytime the sky was overcast.' In sum, as Father Ascension put it, 'this realm of California is very large and embraces much territory, nearly all inhabited by numberless people.'
        But not for very long.  Throughout the late sixteenth and the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Spanish disease and Spanish cruelty took a large but mostly uncalculated toll.  Few detailed records of what happened during that time exist, but a wealth of research in other locales has shown the early decades following Western contact to be almost invariably the worst for native people, because that is when the fires of epidemic disease burn (sic) most freely.  Whatever the population of California was before the Spanish came, however, and whatever happened during the first few centuries following Spanish entry into the region, by 1845 the Indian population of California had been slashed to 150,000 (down from many times that number prior to European contact) by swarming epidemics of influenza, diphtheria, measles, pneumonia, whooping cough, smallpox, malaria, typhoid, cholera, tuberculosis, dysentery, syphilis, and gonorrhea – along with everyday settler and explorer violence.  "
{ American Holocaust, by David E. Stannard, p. 135–6 }

. . .using armed Spanish troops to capture Indians and herd them into the mission stockades, the Spanish padres did their best to convert the natives before they killed them. 
       And kill they did.  First there were the Jesuit missions, founded early in the eighteenth century, and from which few vital statistics are available.  Then the Franciscans took the Jesuits' place . . . [ Most people just assume that the 'missions' were about 'doing the Lord's work' for the benefit of God and the Indians.  The recorded history of this time and place, however, do not bear this out.]

Junípero Serra and the other Franciscan
"missionaries" were no saints!

. . . And what was done was that they brought more natives in, under military force of arms.  Although the number of Indians within the Franciscan missions increased steadily from the close of those first three disastrous years [ when the number of deaths caused the Indian population living in the missions to decline] until the opening decade of the nineteenth century, this increase was entirely attributable to the masses of native people who were being captured and force-marched into the mission compounds.  Once thus confined, the Indians' annual death rate regularly exceeded the birth rate by more than two to one.  This is an overall death-to-birth ratio that, in less than half a century, would completely exterminate a population of any size that was not being replenished by new conscripts.  The death rate for children in the missions was even worse.  Commonly, the child death rate in these institutions of mandatory conversion ranged from . . .  one of every six to every three. . .
        In short, the missions were furnaces of death that sustained the Indian population levels for as long as they did only by driving more and more natives into their confines to compensate for the huge number were being killed once they got there.  This was a pattern that held throughout California and on out across the southwest.  Thus, for example, one survey of life and death in an early Arizona mission has turned up statistics showing that at one time an astonishing 93% of children born within its walls died before reaching the age of ten. . . { American Holocaust, by David E. Stannard, p. 136–7 }

        'Much later, and thousands of miles to the west,'  as Father Ascension put it, 'this realm of California is very large and embraces much territory, nearly all inhabited by numberless people.'
        There were various ways in which the mission Indians died.  The common causes were the European-introduced diseases – which spread like wildfire in such cramped quarters – and malnutrition.   The personal space for Indians in the missions averaged about seven feet by two feet per person for unmarried captives, who were locked at night into sex–segregated common rooms that contained a single open pit for a toilet.  It was perhaps a bit more space than was allotted a captive African in the hold of a slave ship sailing the Middle Passage.  Married Indians and their children, on the other hand, were permitted to sleep together – in what Russian visitor V.M.  Golovnin described in 1818 as 'specially constructed 'cattle–pens.' '  He explained: I cannot think of a better term for these dwellings that consist of a long row of structures not more than 7 feet high and 10 to 14 feet wide, without floor or ceiling, each divided into sections by partitions, also not longer than 14 feet, with a correspondingly small door and a tiny window in each – can one possibly call it anything but a barnyard for domestic cattle and fowl?  Each of these small sections is occupied by an entire family; cleanliness and tidiness are out of the question: a thrifty peasant usually has a better–kept cattle–pen.''  Under such conditions Spanish–introduced diseases ran wild: measles, smallpox, typhoid, and influenza epidemics occurred and re–occurred, while syphilis and tuberculosis became, as Sherburne F.  Cook once said, 'totalitarian' diseases: virtually all the Indians were afflicted by them.  As for malnutrition, despite agricultural crop yields on the Indian–tended mission plantations that Golovnin termed 'extraordinary' and 'unheard of in Europe,' along with large herds of cattle and the easily accessible bounty of sea food, the food given the Indians, according to him, was 'a kind of gruel made from barley meal, boiled in water with maize, beans, and peas; occasionally they are given some beef, while some of the more diligent [Indians] catch fish for themselves.'  On average, according to Cook's analyses of the data, the caloric intake of a field–laboring mission Indian was about 1400 calories per day, falling as low as 715 or 865 calories per day in such missions as San Antonio and San Miguel.  To put this in context, the best estimate of the caloric intake of nineteenth-century African American slaves is in excess of 4000 calories per day, and almost 5400 calories per day for adult male field hands.  This seems high by modern Western standards, but is not excessive in terms of the caloric expenditure required of agricultural laborers.  As the author of the estimate puts it: 'a diet with 4206 calories per slave per day, while an upper limit [is] neither excessive nor generous, but merely adequate to provide sufficient energy to enable one to work like a slave.'  Of course, the mission Indians also worked like slaves in the padres' agricultural fields, but they did so with far less than half the caloric intake, on average, commonly provided a black slave in Mississippi, Alabama, or Georgia.  Even the military commanders at the missions acknowledged that the food provided the Indians was grossly insufficient, especially, said on given 'the arduous strain of the labors in which they are employed'; labors, said another, which last 'from morning to night'; and labors, note a third, which are added to the other 'hardships to which they are subjected.'  . . .  The resulting severe malnutrition, of course, made the natives all the more susceptible to the bacterial and viral infections that festered in the filthy and cramped living conditions they were force to endure – just as it made them more likely to behave lethargically, something that would bring more corporal punishment down upon them. . .
        When not working directly under the mission fathers' charge, the captive natives were subject to forced labor through hiring-out arrangements the missions had with Spanish military encampments.  The only compensation the natives received for this, as for all their heavy daily labors, was the usual inadequate allotment of food.  As one French visitor commented in the early nineteenth century, after inspecting life in the missions, the relationship between the priest and his flock 'would . . .  be different only in name, if a slaveholder kept them for labor and rented them out at will; he too would feed them.'  But, we now know, he would have fed them better.
        In short, the Franciscans simultaneously starved and worked their would be converts to death, while the diseases they and others had imported killed off thousands more.  The similarity of this outcome to what had obtained in the slave labor camps of Central and South America should not be surprising, since California's Spanish missions, established by Father Junípero Serra (aptly dubbed 'the last conquistador' by one admiring biographer, and canonized during Pope Francis' triumphant visit to the U.S.A. in Sept., 2015) were directly modeled on the genocidal encomienda system that had driven many millions of native peoples in Central and South America to early and agonizing deaths.  Others died even more quickly, not only from disease, but from grotesque forms of punishment.  To be certain that the Indians were spiritually prepared to die, when their appointed and rapidly approaching time came they were required to attend mass in chapels where, according to one mission visitor, they were guarded by men 'with whips and goads to enforce order and silence' and were surrounded by 'soldiers with fixed bayonets' who were on hand in case any unruliness broke out.  These were the same soldiers, complained the officially celibate priests, who routinely raped young Indian women.  If any neophytes (as the Spanish called Indians who had been baptized) were late for mass, they would have 'a large leathern thong, at the end of a heavy whip-staff, applied to their naked backs.''  More such infractions brought more serious torture.
        And if ever some natives dared attempt an escape from the padres' efforts to lead them to salvation – as, according to the Franciscans' own accounts, the Indians constantly did – there would be little mercy shown.  From the time of the missions' founding days, Junípero Serra traveled from pulpit to pulpit preaching fire and brimstone, scourging himself before his incarcerated flock, pounding his chest with heavy rocks until it was feared he would fall down dead, burning his breast with candles and live coals in imitation of San Juan Capistrano.  After this sort of self-flagellating exertion, Father Serra had no patience for Indians who still preferred not to accept his holy demands of them.  Thus, on at least one occasion when some of his Indian captives not only escaped, but stole some mission supplies to support them on their journey home, 'his Lordship was so angered,' recalled Father Palou, 'that it was necessary for the fathers who were there to restrain him in order to prevent him from hanging some of .  He shouted that such a race of people deserved to be put to the knife.' "
{ American Holocaust, by David E. Stannard, p. 138–40 }

North America's first occupants didn't fare much better
at the hands of the English–speaking Protestant invaders :

Commenting on the scene of a totally unprovoked massacre of unsuspecting Pequot men, women and children ( in my own state of Connecticut) a witness observed:

"It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stink and scent thereof; but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the praise thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their hands and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enemy.
        Added the Puritan divine Cotton Mather, as he celebrated the event many years later in his Magnalia Christi Americana (i.e.  'Great Christian Events in America'} :  "In a little more than one hour, five or six hundred of these barbarians were dismissed from a world that was burdened with them."  Mason himself counted the Pequot dead at six or seven hundred, with only seven taken captive and seven escaped.  It was, he said joyfully,'the just judgment of God.'  . . .
        From then on the surviving Pequots were hunted into near-extermination.  The comparative handful of Pequots who were left, once this series of massacres finally ended, were parceled out to live in servitude. . .  The last of them, fifteen boys and two women, were shipped to the West Indies for sale as slaves, the ship captain who carried them there ( returning the next year with what he had received in exchange: some cotton, some salt, some tobacco, 'and Negroes, etc.'  The word 'Pequot was then removed from New England's maps: the river of that name was changed to the 'Thames' and the town of that name became 'New London'.  Having virtually eradicated an entire people, it now was necessary to expunge from historical memory any recollection of their past existence."
{ American Holocaust, by David E. Stannard, p.114–5 }
        . . .  The destruction of the Indians by these plagues was considered an unambiguous sign of divine approval for the colonial endeavor.  As the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony wrote in 1634, the Puritan settlers, numbering at the time 'in all about four thousand souls and upward,' were in remarkably good health: 'through the Lord's special providence . . .  there hath not died above two or three grown persons and about so many children all the last year, it being very rare to hear of any sick of agues (sic) or other diseases.'  But, he noted in passing, as 'for the natives, they are near all dead of the smallpox, so as the Lord hath cleared our title to what we possess.'
        God, however, was not enough.  At some point the settlers would have to take things into their own hands.  For, terribly destructive though the Old World diseases were, some Indians remained alive.  The danger posed by these straggling few natives was greatly exaggerated by the English (as it remains exaggerated in most history textbooks today), not only because their numbers had been so drastically reduced, but because their attitudes toward the colonists and their very means of warfare were so comparatively benign.
        We have seen in an earlier chapter that the native peoples of this region (as elsewhere) combined in their everyday lives a sense of individual autonomy and communal generosity that the earliest Europeans commented on continuously.  This was a great cultural strength, so long as the people they were dealing with shared those values and accepted the array of culturally correct reciprocal responses to them.  However, just as their isolation from Old World diseases made the Indians an exceptionally healthy people as long as they were not contacted by disease-bearing outsiders, once Europeans invaded their lands with nothing but disdain for the native regime of mutual respect and reciprocity, the end result (of their virtuous liberal culture) was doomed to spell disaster.
{ American Holocaust, by David E. Stannard, p.  109 }


"Of all the horrific genocides that have occurred in the twentieth century against Armenians, Jews, Gypsies, Ibos, Bengalis, Timorese, Kampucheans, Ugandans, and more, none has come close to destroying this many – or this great a proportion – of wholly innocent people."
{ American Holocaust, by David E. Stannard, p. 75 } . . .
        In the forward to a book of oral history accounts depicting life in Germany during the Jewish Holocaust, Elie Wiesel says something that befits the present as well:  'The danger lies in forgetting.  Forgetting, however, will not effect only the dead.  Should it triumph, the ashes of yesterday will cover our hopes for tomorrow.'
      . . . Moreover, the important question for the future in this case is not 'can it happen again?'  Rather, it is 'can it be stopped?'  For the genocide in the Americas, and in other places where the world's indigenous peoples has never really ceased.  As recently as 1986, the Commission on Rights of the Organization of American States observed that 40,000 and simply 'disappeared' in Guatemala during the preceding fifteen years.  Another 100,000 had been openly murdered.  That is the equivalent the United States, of more than 4,000,000 people slaughtered or removed under official government decree – a figure that is almost six times the number of American battle deaths in the Civil War, World War One, War Two, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War combined.
        Almost all those dead and disappeared were Indians, direct descendants. . . of the Mayas, of one of the most splendid civilizations that this earth has ever seen.  Today, as five centuries ago, these people are being tortured and slaughtered, their homes and villages bombed and razed – while more than two-thirds of their rain forest homelands have now been intentionally burned and scraped into ruin.  The murder and destruction continue, with the assistance of the United States, even as these words are being written.  And many of the detailed accounts from contemporary observers read much like those recorded by the conquistadors' chroniclers 500 years earlier.
        "Children, two years, four years old, they just grabbed them and tore two,' reports one witness to military massacre of Indians in Guatemala 1982. . .  and 'children, of two years, of nine months, of six months, they killed and burned them all . . .  and ' 'At about 1:00 p.m, the soldiers began to fire at the women inside the small church. . .  they returned to kill the children, whom they had left crying and screaming by themselves, without their mothers."
{ American Holocaust, by David E. Stannard, p.  xiii-xiv of Introduction }


The National Council of Churches declares the anniversary of Columbus "not a time for celebration" but for "reflection and repentance" in which whites must acknowledge a continuing history of "oppression, degradation, and genocide."

massacre11 massacre133

Sections :  Intro ~ 1 ~ 2 ~ 3 ~
4 ~ 5 ~ [ 6 ] ~ 7 ~ 8
For contact info, etc.,   go to
the bottom of  Section 8