The fifth installment of this series of quotes and related questions from An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz as I make my way through the book while taking part in a Zoom book group with East Suburban Unitarian Universalist Church in Murrysville …
SETTLER-PARASITES CREATE THE VIRGINIA COLONY
The first Jamestown settlers lacked a supply line and proved unable or unwilling to grow crops of hunt for their own sustenance. They decided that they would force the farmers of the Powhatan Confederacy—some thirty polities—to provide them with food. Jamestown military leader John Smith threatened to kill all the woman and children if the Powhatan leaders would not feed and clothe the settlers as well as provide them with land and labor. The leader of the Powhatan confederacy, Wahunsonacock, entreated the invaders:
Why should you take by force that from us which you can have by love? Why should you destroy us, who have provided you with food? What can you get by war? … What is the cause of your jealousy? You see us unarmed, and willing to supply your wants, if you will come in a friendly manner, and not with swords and guns, as to invade an enemy.
Smith’s threat was carried out: war against the Powhatans started in August 1609 and the destruction of the Powhatans became the order of the day.FROM “CHAPTER four: bloody footprints” IN AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES BY ROXANNE DUNBAR-ORTIZ