Saturday, June 16, 2007


Indians in Ireland--Take II

Right: Choctaw Native Americans Gary and Dr Janie Whitedeer visit with students from Gaelscoil Cholmcille in Santry, Co Dublin.

In "Indians at home – Indians in Cornwall, Indians in Wales, Indians in Ireland," I talked about how the roots of Western colonialism are very old and how the techniques of colonialism were perfected centuries ago in Europe against Celtic people. Since I wrote that post last August, while going through my files, I found two noteworthy articles on the subject from Race & Class (Vol. 34 No. 4; 1993). They are "The training ground: Ireland, conquest and decolonisation" by Bill Rolston (pp. 13-24) and "Columbus in Ireland" by Milan Rai (pp. 25-34).

Rolston argues that as a consequence of Columbus' landfall in the Caribbean in 1492, Ireland experienced a "new era of imperialism with its expropriation of territory, racism and genocide" ("new" as in different from that of the last era). He says the "terrorist methods, derived and perfected in the conquest of Ireland, were then transported to the American colonies" along with "the ideology to justify confiscation and genocide." Even "the same personnel were involved in the conquest of Ireland and America." The second section of the article deals with the fate and role of Irish slaves shipped to the Caribbean. Rai covers much of the same ground but focuses more on tactics and outcomes in sections headed: "War by starvation," "Population decline," and "Settlement, dispossession and 'total war'."

Also, in my earlier post, in the "See also" section, I had a link on Choctaw aid in 1847 to Irish famine victims. I should say the mere word "famine" does not do justice in describing the deliberate "policy of extermination"--to quote the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the Earl of Clarendon--pursued by the British. Any way, after talking with Peter L. yesterday about this subject, I learned from him that the Choctaw-Irish relationship is ongoing. Below are some links to articles on the subject.
See also: Irish Holocaust

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I know Bill Rolston, and he's a great guy. He's a professor at the University of Ulster and is also very active in the community in Belfast. If you have time you should check out some of his other articles and books; he's written extensively about racism in Ireland and collusion and so forth. He's spent the last 20 years cataloging murals in the north (check out the murals presentation at the AMC on Sunday--not Bill but equally awesome), and he's also involved in Palestinian solidarity work.

Anyway, thanks for this post Michelle!
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