A Panther Crosses Over
by Sam Foster
This regretful piece of American history is told by Sam Foster in A Panther Crosses Over, a fast-paced exciting historical novel. For years and years, our children were taught that this encounter, the Battle of Tippecanoe, tore the Indian Confederacy apart, allied the Indians with the British, and opened the northeast for the settlement of America pushing the Indians into Canada. America needed land for the new settlers. All of this is true. But why did it happen? Better yet, why did it have to happen?
In this day and age, it is very virtuous and fashionable to be “woke.” I, for one, am someone whose friends and family would never describe using that word. To me, being “woke” is partly taking the side of the “victim” and running wild with it, beyond common sense. But here we have a situation that demands a closer look. We, literally, came in and took over other people’s land without batting an eye. We didn’t try and live peacefully with them; we took their land. We deemed ourselves better; more deserving. We were stronger; more advanced technologically and beat them into the ground. In some cases, we wiped them out.
This type of action is immersed in historic precedence. For thousands of years, it’s been considered acceptable to invade and conquer indigenous people to gain land and resources lacking in the conqueror’s country. Prehistoric man needed ponds for water. The “others” wanted it. It was fought over. Alexander the Great conquered a large part of the known world. Later, Rome took over a large segment of the Mediterranean world for hundreds of years. Who’d they take it from? Little countries; bands of people. Eventually, the tribes (Vandals, etc.) from the north near Russia invaded Roman Germany, France, and Italy (not those countries then, just those areas) and took over Rome so that the government of Rome had to move to Constantinople. Why?
The Huns were moving in across the Steps of Asia and taking all the lands the Russian tribes had. In the 1200’s the Mongols conquered all the tribes and their lands across China and became a huge nation. (The Muslims conquered Constantinople in the 1400s. They also conquered a large swath of northern Africa, Spain, and southern France.) When Rome left England (after conquering them) the Saxons came and settled/conquered the area. Once they were settled the Vikings did their worst. In fact, Normandy in France is named after the Norse Men because the area was given to Rollo Rognvaldarson so he wouldn’t conquer any more of France!
Moving forward in history, the Spanish did their work in Mexico to the point of wiping out millions of people and their culture with smallpox. America advanced across the United States proper while Britain invaded India, settled Canada, and sent their prisoners to Australia. WWII saw Hitler try to annihilate the Jews and take over Europe while Japan invaded China and the islands in the Pacific.
Today we consider ourselves more civilized than those in history, right? Well, let’s take a closer look. How about Putin and Ukraine, Xi Jinping and Taiwan, and Kim Jong Un and South Korea? It’s happening right under our noses.
While there is no excuse for what we did to the Indigenous People of America you can’t turn back the clock; you can’t undo what’s been done. You can only learn from actions like the War of Tippecanoe, take a closer look and make sure you keep it from happening again – here and everywhere.