Rush Limbaugh: Indian Population Debate and Poll
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Rush Limbaugh, "There are more American Indians alive today than there were when Columbus arrived or at any other time in history. Does this sound like a record of genocide?" (Told You So, p. 68)
According to Carl Shaw of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, estimates of the pre-Columbus population of what later became the United States range from 5 million to 15 million. Native populations in the late 19th century fell to 250,000, due in part to genocidal policies. Today the U.S.'s Native American population is about 2 million.
PRO 3 Rush's answer to Fair
The facts support me. FAIR is repeating the liberal myth that American Indians were systematically wiped out by white genocide. In See, I Told You So (from which FAIR takes my statement), I myself point out that while "there were certainly atrocities against Indians by white people," the full picture indicates that "life was far from utopian for these people" and that "there were just as many -- and probably to a greater degree of savagery -- committed by other Indians" (p. 68). As for Indian population in the New World, Robert Royal, author of 1492 And All That: Political Manipulations of History, writes: "Estimates of pre-Columbian population figures have become heavily politicized with scholars who are particularly critical of Europe often favoring wildly higher figures. High starting points make Indian deaths by disease, warfare, and mistreatment all the greater. David Henige has dubbed this Native American Historical Demography as Expiation.' Yet despite their mistreatment by Europeans and devastation by European diseases (large numbers of Indians died as disease passed along trade routes, 80 percent without ever seeing a white man), some Indian groups are more populous today than in 1492. There are now more than 30 million Indians in Latin America alone, and there are several times more Iroquois in North America than at first contact." -- Robert Royal, "Hello Columbus: America Was No Paradise in 1492," Policy Review, Fall 1992, p. 44. As for instances of "genocidal policies," Royal asks: "Genocide? Where? I don't know of any instances of Indian genocide. Mistreatment, yes. Warfare, yes. Deaths related to diseases caught from Europeans, yes. But systematic genocide, policies of genocide, no. Where are these policies? Where is the proof? The fact is, activists who spout off such claims of genocide have no proof. It's amazing what they can get away with" [by interview].
CON 4Unable to provide any evidence to support his claim that "there are more American Indians alive today than there were when Columbus arrived," Limbaugh quotes an article in the Heritage Foundation magazine that claims that "some Indian groups are more populous today than in 1492."
CON 5In 1763 British General Jeffery Amherst ordered blankets from a smallpox hospital given to the Indians. A epidemic soon spread among the Indians.