4th of July is a United States holiday that marks the date the American patriots broke away from the “tyranny” of their English monarch relatives. It is the United States Independence day, but in no way is it a day of Independence for Indigenous people or African descent people. For Indigenous people, the American Revolution was a civil war fought by Europeans on Indigenous lands and a war that Indigenous people could not escape. American heroes like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson did not hold back from making calls of eradicating Indigenous groups to prevent their alliance with the English.
Us people of Indigenous ancestry who are of Mexican, Central and South “American” descent living within the colonial borders of the United States have no business celebrating this American holiday. Instead we should stand in full support of our Indigenous relatives who survived the terrorizing campaigns and massacres brought upon them by the American and English colonists. How we extend our support begins by learning the role our relatives had in this civil war between two European colonists groups. Americans must learn to be ashamed of this war, because they had/have no business taking their wars of interest to lands and continents that do not belong to them. Kwame Ture reminded us that European tribal warfare has “scarred the world,” while African warfare stayed in Africa. The same can be said of the wars of our Indigenous ancestors.
The purpose of this paper is to encourage our Indigenous communities in what today is the United States to Stop investing our money on fireworks, and other celebration materials that are used to commemorate the fourth of July. Rather, we must use that money to invest in our education, like buying books on our history to build your personal/family library, donate to organizations or to the families whose family members are incarcerated for fighting a manifestation of European colonization. Denouncing the fourth of July holiday should not be limited to people of Indigenous ancestry, but people of all races who see the importance of ending this deadly colonial holiday. The article shares with you some of the painful responses of Indigenous people during the civil war and the mindset of the colonists during these dreadful years in order to show us how catastrophic this war was for Indigenous people.
The American Revolution will further be described here as a civil war, a war between European colonists on occupied Indigenous lands. Colin Calloway mentioned that “the American Revolution looked very much like an English civil war to Indian eyes.”
In The American Revolution in Indian Country Calloway points out that most Indigenous people allied with the English during the war because to a certain extent the English tried to protect Indigenous lands and provided a constant flow of trade. While Americans kept on occupying and stealing Indigenous lands through acts of treachery, and were unable to provide trade. He further noted that Indigenous nations “fought for their reasons, to protect their lands and people from invasion, or to secure vital supplies, rather than to carry out the wishes of their British ‘Father.'” To solidify this point he quotes a Seneca leader having said “when our white Brethren call us to meet them at their Towns, we all flock like Bees- not that we want to take strong hold of their Friendship but to share the Goods they bring with them.”
A Mohegan preacher named Samson Occom stated that the warring English colonists should “let the poor Indians alone, what have they to do with your quarrels.” Statements like these were ignored by the colonists, instead they proceeded to commit acts of atrocities. In 1779 George Washington unable to have “frontier” Indigenous groups like the Mohawk under their control planned to “carry out the war into the Heart of the Country of the six nations; to cut off their settlements, destroy their next Years crops, and do them every other mischief of which time and circumstances will permit…it will be essential to ruin their crops now in the ground and prevent them planting more.” One Onondaga leader expressed that when the Americans invaded their communities “they put to death all the Women and Children, excepting some of the Young Women, whom they carried away for the use of their Soldiers & were afterwards put to death in a more shameful manner.”
Genocide historian Ben Kiernan mentioned that patriots like Thomas Jefferson realized that Indigenous nations should either be forcefully pushed west or be exterminated in order to fully focus their efforts in defeating the British. In 1776 Jefferson explained to Congress “I hope the Cherokees will now be driven beyond the Mississippi and that this in future will be declared to the Indians the invariable consequence of their beginning a war. Our contest with Britain is too serious and too great to permit any possibility of avocation from the Indians. This then is the season for driving them off, and our Southern colonies are happily rid of any other enemy and may exert their whole force in that quarter.”
Kiernan noted one incident where Americans captured a group of Shawnee warriors who were just arriving at a British fort to show them that the forces of the British could not protect them from the patriots. General George Rogers Clark “ordered the Prisoners to be Tomahawked in front of the Garrison.” The English governor of the fort recalled Clarke saying “he expected shortly to see the whole race of Indians extirpated, that for his part he would never spare man, woman or child of them on whom he could lay his hands.” Clark was an American genocidal maniac who later wrote to Indigenous nations who opposed the “big knives” warning them that “no peace for the future will be granted to those that do not lay down their Arms immediately…this is the last Speech you may ever expect from Big Knives, the next thing will be the Tomahawk. And You may expect in four moons to see Your Women and Children given to the dogs to eat…”
Thomas Jefferson on January 1, 1780 wrote a letter to Clark on further actions to take against the Shawnee: “I think the most important object which can be proposed with such a force is the extermination of those Hostile tribes…the Shawanese, Mingos, Munsies and Wiandots can never be relied on as friends, and therefore the object of the war should be their total extinction, or removal beyond the [Great] lakes or the Illinois river and peace.” The American patriots continuously responded with acts and language of genocide against Indigenous groups who chose not to abide to the demands of the warring colonists.
The English targeted Indigenous groups like the Catawba Nation for not allying with them. The English invaded Charleston, South Carolina in May 1780, taking temporary control, and making the Catawba’s seek refuge in North Carolina. A English Lieutenant named Francis Rawdon approached the Catawba’s and asked them to join the English forces. Refusing to ally with them would only lead to the destruction of their towns, mentioned Rawdon. The Catawba sided with the patriots, and in 1781 when they returned back to their towns they saw that “all was gone; cattle, hogs, fowls, etc., all gone.” Both colonists groups wanted to eliminate any Indigenous groups that chose not to side with them, and this method of destroying their towns and crops was used by the English and Americans.
What happened to the Catawba after the civil war is a tragic history. They did not receive any type of security or rights from the new republic that they fought for. Instead, they continued to lose their lands from American agents, they were pushed into poverty and their population drastically decreased. Historian James H Merrell has pointed out that their population was at approximately 500 “from 1760 to the end of the century” it “began to drop after 1800, until by 1826 only thirty families were said to be living on the reservation.” This happened after the Catawba’s consistently reminded the Americans of their loyalty and sacrifice during the colonists civil war.
The “American Revolution” was a deadly and crippling war for Indigenous people. Calloway noted a Delaware leader by the name of Silver Heels in 1782 who stated a sentiment to the English that was shared by many Indigenous nations: “We Indians are the only Sufferers [of] this War, as we day by day loose our people while you are quietly in your fort.” On July 4th, 1776, when American patriots wrote the Declaration of Independence they were sure to include Indigenous nations in the text. They blamed the British for its “endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.” This section of the Declaration of Independence accurately described the actions of the patriots and English against Indigenous nations.
The information that has been provided to you here is to help educate ourselves on this national colonial holiday and the roles our ancestors had in it so that we can reconsider our involvement and support of it. Our ancestors responses to the abuse brought upon them has not received any Justice. And many of our people and people of other races have not been exposed to these important historical and tragic events. Instead loud and bright colored fireworks have kept us from hearing and seeing what our ancestors experienced during this civil war fought between two European groups. If you are Mexican or Central and South “American” descent we need to see that the attacks that were brought onto the Shawnee, Iroquois and Cherokee would soon come to our regions in the following decades and centuries.
— by Pakal
 Kwame Ture Speaks on African Culture, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoLTJJy7wZk, listen from 5:00 to 5:30 where he mentions European tribal warfare scarring the world.
 Colin G. Calloway, The American Revolution in Indian Country: Crisis and Diversity in Native American Communities (UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 26, 28.
 Ibid, 31-32.
 Ibid, 28, 51, 53.
 Ben Kiernan, Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Daefur (London: Yale University Press, 2007), 320.
 Ibid, 321-322.
 Ibid, 323.
 James Merrell, The Indians’ New World: Catawbas and Their Neighbors From European Contact Through The Era of Removal (North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 1989), 216.
 Ibid, 229.