September 6, 2015
Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, President
Sacramento State University
6000 J Street
Sacramento CA 95819
Honorable President Nelsen:
Regarding the article at (of which you are now undoubtedly aware), http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/09/06/history-professor-denies-native-genocide-native-student-disagrees-gets-expelled-course I want to apprise you of a few historical facts which bear on whether Professor Maury Wiseman or student Chiitaanibah Johnson has a better grasp of the debate over whether what happened to Western Hemisphere indigenous people means they were subjected to genocide.
I am not an expert in North American indigenous history. I do have some expertise however in what occurred in Mexico and in legal/sociological/historical matters relating to Mexico have qualified thrice as an expert witness in murder trials. The history of what occurred in Mexico is not substantially dissimilar from what occurred in the Northern portion of the Western Hemisphere, especially in the geography now known as the United States of America.
In a nutshell, when Hernan Cortes arrived in Mexico, there were approximately 25,000,000 people living there. In this post-Classic period of Pre-Columbian Mexican civilization, it was not uncommon that people lived in cities with six-figure populations (in the Classic period, Teotihuacan had an estimated 1-1.5 million inhabitants living in four ethnic quarters reflecting the four language families of Mexico). It is intuitively obvious that a civilization that can support cities with up to 750,000 inhabitants has a higher level of science, technology, public health and sanitation standards, trade, transportation, and education than a civilization like that in Europe whose largest city was London (50,000) or Spain (Toledo, 30,000).
Within the first 20 years following the Spanish conquest, 20,000,000 of the 25,000,000 inhabitants of Mexico died. Within the following 20 years another 4,000,000 died.
The Turkish government might not have intended that if it uprooted Armenian citizens of the Ottoman Empire and drove them out to a desert that a million of them might die in the process. The Turkish government did intend for them to be defenseless, because previously it had called up 500,000 Armenian draft age men, had them build fortifications and then killed them. The impact of these decisions is now called genocide.
The holocaust that occurred in Mexico alone makes the World War II holocaust/genocide pale by comparison in its numerical impact; albeit that 6,000,000 of my own people and 1,000,000 Romanyi (Gypsies) is equally horrible in its impact on those populations as the impact on indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere.
Does Professor Wiseman actually doubt that policies of the conquerors and their actions did not lead to the deaths of tens of millions of people in the Western Hemisphere? If that is not genocide what does he call it? Who is he to second guess the intent of racist people who conquered the indigenous population in the name of religion or their supposed superior civilizations?
Furthermore, Professor Wiseman ignores the Northern Western Hemisphere well-known Pre-Columbian practice of “counting-coup” as a war rule alternative to killing. Just as warfare by champion (as recounted in the story of David vs Goliath) had evolved in Europe to save armies from mass casualties, Indigenous tribes evolved this more “civilized” concept of winning battles and settling disputes to avoid actual deaths in combat.
I request that you take these issues into consideration in determining what to do about the dispute between Professor and Student.
Jan B. Tucker
State Director, California League of Latin American Citizens (CALLAC)
aka Rabbi/Tlamatini Boruch Yaadov Moshe Ber Ben Osher Shmuel, Jewish Existentialist World Society (JEWS)