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David Barton's Lies About King Philip's War

Larry Spotted Crown Mann
4/12/13

Virtually everything written about Natives in colonial New England is viewed through an ethnocentric lens of the master narrative. Further it is structured by a religious zeal which proclaims their god given right of manifest destiny to “rid the world of heathens” and “proselytize the gospel.” In order to maintain this propaganda and justify the theft and slaughter of millions; a controlled and consistent "record" reflecting the dehumanization of Indians was required.

We don’t have to delve into a rustic dusty library to research an old text to note the malefic and racist attitudes towards Natives of long ago.

David Barton recently provided a stellar example of this myopic behavior on the appropriately named Wall Builder Show.

He views the attack and destruction of Native peoples as the linear and spiritual progression of god’s chosen people. He claims to speak from a “historical and biblical point of view” and that it’s “not about fairness but of justice…god’s justice” He said.

When Barton referred to the cause of King Philip's War of 1675 he claims, “The Moravian missionaries went to the Indians and told them to stop torturing each other to death, so the Indians said the white guys are trying to change our culture. So they declared war on all the white guys, it was torture on one side and trying to be civilized on the other and that was King Philips War.”

This is brazenly false. The Moravian missionaries don’t arrive in America until 1735. And let’s use logic here- if the Indians were all torturing each other to death, I’m quite sure the English would be inclined to just stay out of the way. And we can’t discuss torture unless we mention one of the favorite punishments by the English, which was decapitation and displaying the head on pole. Then there was nailing you down by your ears to a frame, in a device called a pillory. We even see our first form of water boarding with the ducking stool. Whether it was piling stones on top of person, riding the timber mare, flogging or just burning you at the stake; it’s safe to say the first settlers were no strangers to divers’ methods of torture.

Barton’s mendacity is evocative of a time when race and religion supersede any human rights. And that’s what King Phllips war was really about, human rights. After years of pent up anger, insults, murder and theft; war was inevitable.

There was not a preemptive attack on settlers. Even before the arrival of the "Pilgrims" in 1620, English traders and slave ships were harassing and taking Natives captive for decades. Not judging them all to be the same, our ancestors attempted a peace and trade with the first settlers. For at least the first decade, although our first form of segregation – Natives lived within their communities as did Whites, but coexisted with a level of decorum. Trade was the prominent form of interaction. However the English would attempt to dominant and control the fur and wampum trade. This led to the predawn attack on May 1637 with the incineration of hundreds of Pequot Indians. The explosion of hegemony, avarice and murder was promulgated by a religious and racial ideology much like Barton posits here in 2013.

An entire race of people became synonymous with savagery and the color of their skin a pejorative. Fictionalized and defaming accounts spread likes toxic weeds and choked out any chance of self expression. Native Voice was controlled and contained within the colonial master narrative. (Note: During this era there were several Native writers. Primarily their writings were betrothed to Christian dogma of self deprecation and cultural containment. A thorough discourse is required on this topic)

By 1640 a decree is passed by the general court of Massachusetts to “Christianize the heathens.” Indians are relocated to so-called “praying towns” where Christianity and obedience is severely enforced. The primary purpose of this experiment was to move the nomadic tribes out the way for the growing English population. The usurped lands created a land boom for speculators and at the top of the list of profiteers was John Elliot—missionary to the Indians and Daniel Gookin—Indian agent.

Tribal villages that refused to remove were under constant threat.

From here we go into an unprecedented time of erroneous and coerced land deals codified by large amounts of alcohol. European diseases kill over 75 percent of some tribal villages.

By the time of King Philip's War 1675, there had been decades of murder, abuse and theft. Also a disregard and assault on the spiritual and traditional life that has been practiced for thousands of years. Indians throughout New England were fighting for the right to exist, like my folks the Nipmuck who joined by the thousands. One Nipmuck chief in particular named Mattawamp was said to be the most brilliant military leader of the war. (Schultz & Tougais 1999) He commanded some of the most smashing victories of the war: Wheelers surprise, Brookfield, Bloody Brook and New Braintree. (Schultz & Tougais 1999)

The Indians who were conscripted to the “Praying towns” became interned prisoners of war. These Indians had not lifted any arms against the English and obeyed their laws. They were summarily rounded up from Natick and forced to the barren and cold Deer Island without adequate food, shelter or clothing. Hundreds of woman and children froze and starved to death. During the war there was massive loss of life on both sides.

There is a lot of complexities and nuance to this conflict that should be earnestly discussed. But within Barton’s distorted narrative it was a smooth and justified transition backed by god. There is a malevolent sickness to this pathology when race, religion or gender is the catalyst to destroy and divide society. But the walls of colonial containment have been broken. Native epistemology should no longer be filtered through the master narrative and Wall Builders like Barton need to be exposed.

Larry Spotted Crow Mann is a writer, performer, Nipmuck cultural educator and citizen of the Nipmuck tribe of Massachusetts. He was applauded for his role in the PBS Native American film, We Shall Remain, directed by Chris Eyre, and In 2010 his poetry was a winner in the Memscapes Journal of Fine Arts. His recent book, Tales from The Whispering Basket continues to receive excellent reviews.
 

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Anonymous's picture
Well said, Larry. I can only think this kind of ignorance is intentional. Just keep fighting the good fight.
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
halito, larry thank you so much for telling it like it is, not the homogenized, christianized, whatever-ized method the 'historians' want folks to believe... also read 'the earth shall weep'...a real get-up-in-your-brain eye opener the treatment we native peoples have received at the hands of 'others' for the past 500+ years is just shameful...
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
I'm French and I aggree with what you say about the lies lies of bigots who make Their god say what suits' em. We have a saying in France: "Who wants to drown his dog accuses it of rabies!" This is what the white settlers did to the bigots Native Americans! The "savages" Were not the Natives, the goal intolerant white people who Brought ruin, epidemics and destruction to the "new world"! I have to say in my country nobody That Would dare to say stupid things as Such nobody would dare utter nonsense on this subject such as this gentleman says lies of bigots who make Their god say what suits' em. We have a saying in France: "Who wants to drown his dog accuses it of rabies!" This is what the white settlers did to the bigots Native Americans! The "savages" Were not the Natives, the goal intolerant white people who Brought ruin, epidemics and destruction to the "new world"! I have to say that in my country nobody would dare utter nonsense on this subject such as this man says! .
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
If you are a Native American here's a important story to READ TODAY! IF you do let me know what you feel about this story. I AM Not Blaming GOD for the way that Native American People were treated! They may have pretended at the time that's why they were demoralizing us for our religious dances, songs & practices. IT Was SOLELY COMING from the HUMANS that came here from EUROPE if you ask ME? NOT GOD!!!
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
A very good article... it all boils down to religious insanity, propganda , lies and domination of other people for the acquisition of land and power, under the guise of "save their souls" for their own good. ......and for the power and glory of the church. .. This need to convert and dominate others through religion has been going on long before it came to the americas.. Take a look at the dark ages in Europe and the Crusades..... The pope could not impose the religion onto the Arabs through hundreds of years of fighting in the middle east.... So with the discovery of the Americas. they turned to the Americas and imposed it upon the natives here... Truely , the white man is more brainwashed than any other being on the planet... to do the bidding of their masters...and they are not even aware of it or who their master actually is... .The white man was bred to be the puppet of the preists, the preist is a puppet of the bishop and on up to the pope..and the pope answers to the bankers ...all in the name of greed. So this insanity has been imposed upon the whites by their preists and most are not even aware of what is going on ...but I dont know know how this spell can be broken....
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
Excellent article Spotted Crow, the real truth being told is long over due. Thank you for speaking the truth. Indian Country needs to be Educated, or do the Invaders
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
This type of thinking about American Indians by David Barton, a highly regarded "authority" in many Christian circles, is an excellent example of how American Christians rationalized the ungodliness of their ancestors actions starting with the Pilgrims. Barton is not stating anything new, he's just articulating it in a more blunt fashion. It is unfortunate that American Christians starting with the Pilgrims failed to rely upon the Bible, their supposed basis for all their actions. The Bible tells Christians to "missionize" and "preach" NOT move in and take over. The Bible provides no justification for conquest, in fact it specifically prohibits these types of actions. But unfortunately no American Christian authorities publicly acknowledge this, so people like Barton continue to spread and re-enforce the lies. Adolf Hitler said it best "Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it”.
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
"A lie that is repeated often enough will become the truth" Thank you for correcting the lie so it won't be accepted as a fact.
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
Aquene netomp, I am extremely honnored to know that we are best friends and brothers Dear Spotted Crow..I am overwelm by the beauty of your Manitoo given mind....And I hope to know many, many such joy reading your beautiful mind and spirit...May we be best friends and closse brothers for centuries to come... I have spoken, AHO. Beaver
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
So who were the Comanche’s torturing besides anyone not Comanche or Kiowa’s and anyone of the 100’s of other tribes of the 2,000+ Tribes scattered throughout the land!
Anonymous