|Chief Sitting Bull|
During America's first Civil War (the one everyone talks about) from 1861 to 1865, a good number of Native American tribes sided with the Southern Confederacy. That's not to say all of them mind you, but a fairly large number of them. Why? Could it be they saw in the Confederacy a better chance of civility than in the Union? Could their reason have been remotely similar to the sympathies the Confederacy gained from the Vatican? Nobody knows the answer to this for sure, but it does make an interesting footnote to the next untold story.
America's second Civil War was fought between the republic and the native tribes of North American Indians. Of course we know what the outcome of this conflict was. The United States was dominated by Protestant Christians, and it was the practice of Protestants to not only convert the "savages" but also assimilate them into Protestant culture, giving them proper second-class citizenship of course. All vestiges of Native American culture, dress, music, food and customs were to be abandoned. While Native American converts were to become mirror images of white Protestants -- except of course they weren't white. Of course there were always those who simply could not assimilate and assume their second-class roll in society. For them there was always the reservations. This method of "evangelism" differed significantly to the Catholic method employed in Central and South America. While the Catholic Europeans and Native Americans of Central and South America had their clashes, to be sure, and the results of those clashes were often catastrophic to Native American civilizations, in the end the Catholic Church encouraged intermingling between white Europeans and Native Americans even to the point of blessing marriages between them. Elements of Native American culture, dress, music, food and customs were adopted by Catholic Europeans, eventually forming an amalgamate culture in what we know today as Latin America.
Suppose for a moment that Catholicism were not limited to the one English colony of Maryland at the time of the American Revolution. Suppose for a moment that millions of Irish Catholics migrated to the English colonies before 1776 instead of after. Suppose all of New England, Richmond and Charleston had become large Catholic population centers in addition to Maryland. Suppose the majority of America's founding fathers were Catholics. How would this have changed American history?
Well if the British colonies in America were essentially Catholic prior to 1776, there still would have been a bloody revolution no doubt. Only the cry for liberty and independence would have taken on a distinctly more religious tone. King George III wouldn't have just been seen as a tyrant. He would have been seen as a "Protestant tyrant," and the liberation of the colonies would have been seen as an opportunity to create a new system of government that would right the wrongs of the English Reformation and all subsequent actions of the English Protestant monarchy. There is no way to know if a Catholic constitutional convention would have produced a monarchy or a republic. I suspect the republican influence would have still been very strong at the time. Regardless of the type of government formed, it is the American culture that would have been most important in it's dealing with the Native Americans. Perhaps a Catholic America would have sought to follow the example of Latin America, by refusing to codify racial segregation into law, and permitting intermarriage between white Europeans and Native Americans. In this sense America's second Civil War might have been averted all together, as American society would have adopted much more influence from Native American tribes insofar as culture, dress, music, food and customs. Thus Native Americans themselves would have gained a much higher social status during the 1800s. One can only imagine what America would look like today if such a thing had happened.
Enough with the fantasies though. That didn't happen, and both the American republic and culture were thoroughly Protestant in every sense during the 1800s. The Native Americans didn't take kindly to it, and the following excerpts from Father Berghold's book "The Indians Revenge" sheds some light on a dirty little secret in American history...
Through the kindness of a benevolent German gentleman from Chicago who is an active friend of the German Catholic Sioux Missions at the Rosebud and Pine Ridge reservations, we are enabled to give extracts from letters of an experienced Catholic missionary, who, in company with others, devotes himself, with a noble self-sacrifice, to the education of the Sioux children, and, if possible, to the civilizing of the adult Sioux. If the treatment of the Sioux were entirely placed in the hands of the "black-gowns" and the devoted Sisters of Charity, there would be no more Sioux wars. That the present troubles have not assumed greater proportions, may be safely attributed to the zeal of the good missionaries, and that many of the Sioux are now desirous of making peace. [P. 117]Now this is something you'll probably never hear in a public school classroom or find in a public school history textbook. It is an interesting snapshot on the life and times of Native Americans during their era of great struggle against the American republic and it's European Protestant culture. Featured above, at the top of this article, you will notice a popular photograph of Chief Sitting Bull who led the Dakota people in their decisive victory against General Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn. You will notice the Native American Chief is wearing a few beaded necklaces, but the largest one is also the one that hangs the lowest. Yes, this particular necklace is usually cropped out of American history books to hide it's presence. Yes, it is a crucifix.
According to the principles of our free institutions every one of the condemned was at liberty to choose the religion in which he wanted to die, and they were officially notified of the fact. The Government also offered to procure the spiritual advisers of their choice. Strange as it may appear, thirty-six out of the thirty-nine became Catholics, though they had always been under the spiritual guidance of Protestant ministers who, as has been said, were in the employ of the Government for years past at the different agencies. Their Catholic spiritual adviser was the Rev. Father Ravoux, who is at present attached to the Cathedral at St. Paul as Vicar-General of the diocese.* Martial law was proclaimed at Mankato by Stephen Miller on the 24th of December...
* The different Indian tribes who, some years ago, held a great council with the representatives of the Government also wanted only Catholic priests, a fact which was reported in every paper throughout the country [Ibid, p. 146]