Racial, ethnic, and religious wars and conflicts have plagued humanity since the primordial past. But since the thawing of the Cold War, there has literally been an explosion of devastating conflicts that seem far more complex than those which erupted in earlier eras. These are also potentially more threatening to international peace because of their breadth, scope, and probable duration.

These and the multitude of other ethnic, racial, and religious conflicts around the world are far more brutal and ruinous than anything most indigenous people have experienced since the federal government's aberrant and fortunately short-lived policy of Termination and Relocation, which lasted from 1953 until the 1960's. This last gasp at "assimilating" tribal people into the mythical "melting pot," came on the heels of earlier, far more catastrophic federal policies such as the coerced removal of thousands of tribal people from all directions to the Oklahoma Territory (1830s-1860s); the imprisonment of tribal people on reservations (1850s-late 1800s); and most disastrous of all-the allotment-assimilation-Christianization-Americanization policy of the U.S.—which not only dispossessed indigenous people of most of their ancestral lands, but which also resulted in the cultural genocide of thousands of tribal people (1860s-1920s).

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Copyright © 1994 Arizona State University Press. This article first appeared in Red Ink (Spring 1994), 32-33.

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