Note: I wrote this using roughly equal parts Black, Native and White American sources. Words are colour-coded accordingly. See below for sources.
Hanadaguyus (1732-1799), better known as George Washington, was an American president, general and slave owner. Having become famous as an Indian killer, he won the nation’s independence from Britain during the so-called American Revolution.
Washington fought the French and Indians in the Ohio River valley to defend the land claims of wealthy Virginian planters. He showed great courage: as he tried to rally the troops, two horses were shot from under him and four bullets pierced his coat – yet he escaped unharmed.
Washington bought and sold Indian lands without tribes’ permission, fought and killed Indians without mercy. The father of his country massacred men, women and children.
Washington owned black slaves like his father did before him and his father’s father before that. He gave them his castoff plates and cups. He buried them in unmarked graves behind an outbuilding.
The revolt against Britain, while cast in a language of universal rights and freedoms, was also a blow against royal protection of Indian lands; and the revolt was led by those, such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Patrick Henry, with considerable financial stake in the acquisition of such lands.
Washington was fighting for the freedom of “whites only”. Rich whites, at that. After the so-called Revolution, you could not vote unless you were a white man and you owned a plot of land. It didn’t have anything at all to do with freedom, justice, and equality for all.
Some of Washington’s own slaves ran away to fight with the British, who promised “Liberty to Slaves”.
When his army entered the country of the Six Nations (Iroquois), the Seneca called him Hanadaguyus (“Town Destroyer”). Even years later when that name was heard, women looked behind them and turned pale, and children clinged close to the necks of their mothers.
Time and again, Washington’s tactics against the British saved his smaller, weaker force to fight another day. With French help, he defeated the British at Yorktown in 1781. Washington blocked the beaches with soldiers to prevent the escape of runaway slaves who had fought with the British.
The entire nation idolized him. Adoring soldiers crowded near him just to touch his boots when he rode by.
Washington slept with a black woman named Venus, his brother’s slave. She gave birth to his only son, West Ford.
Washington presided over the writing of the Constitution. He remained silent on the subject of slavery.
After the rebellion Washington became president. He waged war on Indians in the land now called Ohio. After a disastrous loss of an army under General St Clair in 1791, Washington sent a new army in 1794 under “Mad Anthony” Wayne. Wayne won the war at the Battle of Fallen Timbers.
He made treaties with Britain (1794) and Spain (1795) to help secure American claims to the land east of the Mississippi River.
Political parties grew out of the split in his cabinet: between Jefferson (Southern, democratic, states’ rights, pro-French) and Hamilton (Northern, capitalist, strong federal government, pro-British).
- George Washington as a being of White Mythology – what my White American education taught me about Washington
- American slavery
- West Ford
- Mount Rushmore