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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

The Concept of "Stand Your Ground" Started With Native Americans

Updated: Jan 8, 2023

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on May 15, 2021

The concept of "Stand Your Ground," as we know it today, actually started with the more than 500 Native American tribes that occupied America 1,000 years before the first white settlers arrived from Europe to colonize America. Modern-day "Stand Your Ground" laws authorize property owners to use deadly force to protect their property and themselves from hostile invaders who seek to cause harm to their lives and/or property.

Native American tribes had established tribal territories from coast to coast and defended their well-defined territorial enclaves by force, when necessary. These territorial boundaries were recognized and honored by other tribes across the country.

In the early 1600s, Native Americans welcomed new Europeans to America. These Europeans were treated by the indigenous population as their guests. Native Americans fed these white migrants and settlers, taught them how to farm the lands along the east coast, and saved them from freezing to death during the long northern winters. Native Americans even shared some of their territorial lands with the white strangers from across the ocean, naively believing they could live in harmony with these white migrants.

Whites Seized Indian Land Based Upon their Belief in "Manifest Destiny"

With the passage of time, tens of thousands of white European settlers begin to pour into America. They quickly demanded more Indian lands for their rapidly spreading settlements. Of course, Native Americans resisted this aggressive white encroachment on their territorial lands. However, white settlers were determined to take whatever lands they wanted by lies, deception, and brute force, whichever technique was required. After all, white men had muskets, rifles, gunpowder, and bullets, versus the traditional bows and arrows used by Native Americans to hunt game and defend their homelands.

To justify the use of this superior weaponry upon Native Americans in order to take territorial lands from them, white settlers claimed that it was their "manifest destiny" to seize and develop these lands for residential settlements and commercial enterprises. In every case, Native Americans stood their ground and were slaughtered in the most violent way imaginable for the next 300 years for refusing the seizures of their homelands.

Up to 60 million Native American men, women, and children were exterminated by white settlers, U.S. Army troops, state militias, and western frontier vigilantes during this period. Native Americans were declared "merciless Indian Savages," "devils in human shape," and "savage beasts," among other derogatory names. Native Americans were also subjected to mass murders whenever they refused to surrender their tribal lands to national and state governments which, in turn, gave this land to white peasants who were recruited by the federal government from Europe during its 124-year administration of the Homestead Act of 1862.

Each of the nearly three million white Homestead Act recipients received a minimum of 160 acres of land for free, complete with all of the mineral rights, timber rights, and natural resources accompanying the lands. In all, more than 270 million acres of tribal lands was seized from Native Americans for redistribution to whites in the Homestead Act program.

Along the way, Native Americans stood their ground. The defence of their tribal lands infuriated whites in Washington and in the U. S. War Department. For over a century, this refusal fueled scores of White-Indian wars across America.

A Government Policy of Atrocities and Genocide

The U.S. government and state militias implemented an official policy of genocide against Native Americans in order to seize Indian lands from tribes who stood their ground. For example, Colonel John Chivington of the Colorado Volunteers once said, "I have come to kill Indians, and believe it is right and honorable to use any means under God's heaven to kill Indians." Covington thereafter commenced his slaughter of thousands of Cheyenne and Arapahos who refused to give up their tribal lands and relocate to reservations comprised of worthless land. Chivington advocated the killing and scalping of all Indians, even infants.

As a result of these White-Indian wars, some tribes were completely wiped out. Others were drastically reduced to a few hundred tribal members.

To make an example out of the "Indian savages," soldiers and allied vigilantes even shot and killed the Native American men, women (whom they called "squaws"), and young children who chose to surrender rather than fight the white seizure of their homelands. These soldiers initiated the practice of scalping dead Native American defenders. They also castrated male Indians and used their testicles for tobacco pouches. They cut the fingers off of the hands of Indians in order to steal the rings from their fingers. They cut out the genitals of female Indians and either showcased them on sticks, stretched them over their saddle-bows, and/or wore them over their hats while riding in the ranks. In some instances, the soldiers would cut off the hands of Native Americans and use them as ashtrays.

Infants were killed with their mothers. Soldiers even sliced open the wombs of pregnant females and killed the fetuses.

Soldiers, accompanied by state militias and vigilantes, systematically murdered Native Americans in western frontier villages that had nobody in them but women and children. They used their sabers to break the arms and legs of wounded Indian females and children so they would die a slow and painful death. They burned them to death in their tepees and shot them as they attempted to flee the searing flames of destruction. Infants and young children were killed in every way imaginable.

Soldiers even desecrated Native American burial grounds with impunity.

This centuries-long, extremely violent, and ugly history of atrocities and genocide against Native Americans is well-documented in the U.S. Senate Records and Reports in Washington, D.C. Sadly, it was never presented in the history books used in most public school systems during the 19th and 20th centuries. Likewise, it was never fairly and accurately reported in real-time by white-owned newspapers that comprised and controlled America's media landscape for more than 300 years.

For over a century, Hollywood justified and glorified white America's genocide of Native Americans. It perpetuated the myth that Native Americans were "merciless Indian Savages" who deserved to be slaughtered for obstructing the national economical development of America by white European settlers and peasants.


To this day, no ethnic group in the history of the world has suffered the amount of pain, suffering, and genocide inflicted upon Native Americans by America's white male-controlled national government and state militias. The 400 years of genocide experienced in American by slaves of African descent was second only to the genocide suffered by Native Americans.

This is true primarily because white slavers viewed imported African slaves as useful "property" for cultivating farm properties in Southern states. As such, white slavers were reluctant to slaughter human property as long as black slaves were healthy enough to be productive laborers in the fields of southern plantation owners.

Based upon history, whenever whites in America or Nazi Germany denigrate and de-humanize an entire race of people, this is what they are capable of doing to other human beings. The modern term for these atrocities and genocide is called "ethnic cleansing."

PHOTO: A Navajo warrier from the 1860s

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