Re: the North Fork History Project – When the English arrive, Indians disperse
While this installment contains much interesting historical info, the takeaway boils down to the typical progressive maligning of American history.
Columbus’s “discovery” has been overblown. To the English settlers, the Indians were in the way of their dreams of being lords of their own manor, where they could be in charge and make everyone around them be just like them. So they slaughtered all the Indians (except the ones they cheated out of their lands) and bought some slaves.
Anyone reading this version of North Fork history could hardly escape the conclusion that the remarkable souls who left their homes and families and crossed an ocean (in wooden ships) in pursuit of a better life, and who gradually built this remarkable nation, were actually selfish, murderous rats — a conclusion I suspect was intended.
So – a bit of my revisionist history of the paper’s revisionist history.
This chapter offers a good example of leftist historical distortion — an ongoing effort to portray American history in a harshly negative light. This sort of Howard Zinn-ish approach has little interest in whole truth.
Thus, Mr. Wick’s version of the Pequot War: “Historians say the large-scale English settlement of eastern Long Island was made possible by the extermination of the Pequot people … John Underhill was an accomplished Indian killer — more than 400 were slaughtered in the Pequot War.”
True — yet highly misleading. Here’s a bit of whole truth from the Encyclopedia Britannica:
The world into which [the settlers] entered was dominated by the Pequot, who had subjugated dozens of other tribes throughout the area during the 1620s and early ’30s … by 1635 the Pequot had exerted their economic, political and military control over the whole of modern-day Connecticut and eastern Long Island.
The Pequot war lasted 11 months and involved thousands of combatants who fought several battles over an area encompassing thousands of square miles … the Pequot were a highly effective experienced military force, having honed their combat skills through decades of warfare against their Native American neighbors.
The turning point in the conflict came when the Connecticut colony declared war on the Pequot on May 1, 1637, following a Pequot attack on the English settlement at Wethersfield — the first time women and children were killed during the war.
And from Wikipedia: In 1633, an epidemic devastated all of the region’s Native population. Historians estimate that the Pequot suffered the loss of 80 percent of their population. At the outbreak of the Pequot War, Pequot survivors may have numbered only about 3,000.
I have long wondered what the Left hopes to accomplish by such ugly and tunnel-visioned versions of American history. I’m still wondering. A highly educated North Fork leftist acquaintance once told me she saw no reason to be proud of America. I didn’t respond, but later marveled at such astounding blindness. Simply examining the contents of my home, I found all kinds of reasons to be proud.
Einstein said: “The right to search for the truth implies also a duty; one must not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be true.”
That “not conceal any part” part is crucial to good journalism — or it used to be.
Well, I’m off to Foxwoods.
Mr. Prestwood has been inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and is a recording artist on Judy Collins’ Wildflower label. A native of El Paso, Texas, he has resided in Greenport since 1993.