A Book by Paul Conrad
Reading about genocides is always tough; I have to be in a good mindset and be prepared for it. Having recently gone to a holocaust exhibit and read a handful of books on the subject, this year has been tough in regards to my history intake for that very reason. You honestly can’t escape it as we are now flooded with news regarding various genocides going on today, and one can’t help but feel angry that they were allowed to happen and still do. Today’s subject is something that has been brought to light via mass grave exhumations, and thankfully brought back into public focus – Native American Genocides.
In my opinion, most Americans utterly ignore and genocide our ancestors participated in, and especially Native Americans. Children’s history books like to hype up fantasy stories like a false account of the “first Thanksgiving” or a false version of what happened to Princess Pocahontas, not many kids are even aware of what happened. Reading The Apache Diaspora – Four Centuries of Displacement and Survival by Paul Conrad opened my eyes to some blin spots I had on the subject, and made me mad as well.
“Across four centuries, Apache (Ndé) peoples in the North American West confronted enslavement and forced migration schemes intended to exploit, subjugate, or eliminate them. While many Indigenous groups in the Americas lived through similar histories, Apaches were especially affected owing to their mobility, resistance, and proximity to multiple imperial powers. Spanish, Comanche, Mexican, and American efforts scattered thousands of Apaches across the continent and into the Caribbean and deeply impacted Apache groups that managed to remain in the Southwest.”
This was a tough read, not due to the exquisite quality of both the research or the information, but the subject matter. Much like with any time I read a book on the Holocaust, or certain true crime books, I try to avoid reading tons of it at any time due to the heaviness of it all, and nothing can be more heavy than the systematic genocide of an entire group of peoples for half a millennium – even extending into modern times. families were ripped apart, people were sold into slavery, and in an attempt to make them “civilized” all number of abuses were employed to remove every ounce of anything that made them who they were.
Much like any book I read that deals with the topic of Spanish Colonialism, I seem to always come out the other side disliking them more and more. Not present day Spanish people, they are no worse than present day Germans despite their historical baggage, but man am I not a fan of their ancestors.
If you want to get a general idea of what “one” large group of Native Tribes went through during colonization, I’d read this book. It’s easy to hand-wave the plight of the Native Americans as something that “wasn’t that bad” or “their culture was dead anyway” or any other thing I’ve heard overtly racist people say – but the truth is, they had is so much worse than one can imagine. This is the sort of history I wish we taught in schools, because understanding what bad things happened in the past can ensure things like than hopefully won’t happen in the future.
If you are interested in this book, Click HERE
NOTE: I received a free preliminary, and likely unedited copy of this book from Netgalley for the purposes of providing an honest, unbiased review of the material. Thank you to all involved.