Right Now, Trump Is…

From a Native American's perspective, Trump is acting more like the Founding Fathers than Hitler.

From a Native American’s perspective, Trump is acting more like the Founding Fathers than Hitler.

Donald J. Trump has been called a lot of things. A bigot. A misogynist. A racist.

And I agree with these descriptions of the new president. He’s earned those titles, especially given all he has spewed over the decades about women and racial minorities, and just about anyone he disagrees with, or who disagree with him.

But Mr. Trump is also unoriginal.

Many of the controversial policies and plans he’s setting into motion have already been executed in this country.

Think about it.

Mr. Trump has vowed to evict millions of undocumented individuals. Brown folks, mostly.

But, of course, this wouldn’t be the first time a sitting U.S. president would forcibly and eagerly evict the indigenous peoples of this continent from their homes.

One of the first of such evictions in this country’s shady history occurred in the 19th century, back in 1830, when president Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, which coercively extirpated thousands of Native Americans from their ancestral homelands.

The brutal act prompted the “Trail of Tears,” a vicious campaign that resulted in a forced westward march of men, women, and children through ice, snow, and freezing temperatures. More than four thousand Native Americans died during that rotten trudge.

“But Mexicans aren’t Indians,” a white man recently said to me at an eatery on the north side of Denver, Colorado, during an impromptu discussion on Trump’s unoriginality.

“Yes, we are,” I responded. I told the wiggy stranger that I’m an enrolled citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation and Chicano.

“What’s that?” he asked. “‘… Ohg’ what?”

“Never mind,” I said. “All you need to know is that the only tangible thing that separates Mexicans and Native Americans is the border your people imposed on us.”


It wasn’t long before John wanted to talk about “those Muslims,” as he oft referred to the Islamic community throughout our debate.

Along with a ban, Mr. Trump has said he would “absolutely” require Muslims to be registered into a database.

“I’m on a database,” I told John.

“Really? Are you some sexual predator?”

“No,” I said. “It’s an old list the U.S. set up for people of color.”

I segued back to the topic of Mr. Trump’s unoriginality.

I told John about the Indian Census Rolls, which were first established in 1885 and meant to count Native Americans like cattle, keep tabs on the people the U.S. considered a threat to white Christians.

But, for Native Americans, the white Christian was the clear and present danger. Not us.

“The Indian Census Rolls were put there to make white people feel safe,” I told John. “And that’s what Donald Trump is trying to do here. This is nothing new.”

John quaffed the last of his Gin, told me to “look out, here he comes,” (meaning Trump), patted me on my back in that condescending way, and then staggered out of the joint.

I’ve got to give John one thing, though, about Mr. Trump: here he comes and here he is. The electoral college made sure of that, even though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by leaps and bounds.

Right. Mr. Trump’s slither into the Oval Office is an incontrovertible threat to a lot of people, and even the planet, but for Native Americans, we know how this story will play out – because we were documented. We were evicted. In this country. And all of it was motivated by that savage thing called discrimination.

Even Mr. Trump’s promise of building a wall along the Mexican border is unoriginal. Long ago, this country built a de facto wall, a divide, as it were – they are commonly known today as Indian reservations.

People tend to talk about Indian reservations without inquiring about their genesis. They were founded as prison camps, and they were even numerated. The Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, for example, is Prisoner of War Camp Number 334. These prison camps were meant to isolate Native Americans, far from white society, where we were expected to starve and die.

I’m aware this sounds eerily similar to Adolf Hitler and the Jewish Holocaust, but it should since Hitler himself was inspired by the Indian reservation system and lauded it for its “efficiency of America’s extermination—by starvation and uneven combat—of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity,” wrote Hitler biographer John. T. Toland.

If you want to know what the next four (or even possibly eight) years will look like, just ask an Indian – or Native American – whatever. We can tell you all about racist lists and forced evictions and walls.

No, Mr. Trump isn’t acting like Hitler. He’s acting like the founders of this nation. Bigots. Misogynists. Racists. Know your history.

I can never add anything to what Simon Moya-Smith writes, he says it all. The full article is at Indian Country Media Network.


  1. says

    It’s not enough for totalitarians to rule and be feared; they want to be loved for it.

    “Why do you hate America?”
    “For all the right reasons.”

  2. says

    “All you need to know is that the only tangible thing that separates Mexicans and Native Americans is the border your people imposed on us.”

    Yes! It’s about time somebody said this!

  3. AlexanderZ says

    A tiny caveat: Hitler was never inspired by the genocide of the Native Americans nor had he any knowledge of America in general and USA in particular beyond what he saw in popular movies of the time. And even that barely, since he wasn’t much of a movie goer.

  4. AlexanderZ says

    chigau #5
    Karl May was pop culture and the basis for many popular movies of the time. His works were complete fantasy and didn’t have enough fact to inform anyone regard Native Americans, for good and for bad.

  5. chigau (ever-elliptical) says

    AlexanderZ #4
    His story-lines were complete fantasy, but there was nothing wrong with his grasp of the technology.
    anecdotal, but the best flint-knappers and arrow-fletchers I’ve ever met (other than my household) are Karl May cultists.

  6. says

    This is tangential, I hope Caine will not mind:

    I am not “Karl May cultist” but I like his books and I read a lot of them. He does not condone the treatment of Indians by US government (quite the opposite) and he does not write in detail about the technicalities of it, like reservations. Many of the villains are those who steal Indian territory, and mostly they are private enterpreneurs seeking to enrich themselves. I am not aware of any book where the villains are government officials, however it is alluded to government policies that encourage said enterpreneurs to invade and steal Indian land.

    I have always been puzzled about how Hitler could find Mays books inspirational. To be sure, they do contain a lot of racism and german patriotism and nationalism (a lot, almost all, of the positive heroes are German immigrants), but for their time they are relatively advanced in this regard. For example it is stated more than just a few times that the differences between people of different colors are cultural, not essential, that all human life is of equal value and all people have potential for greatness. The main protagonist of the books makes often a point of not shooting to kill, regardles of what color his opponent is. Many of the books are about trying to resolve conflicts peacefully, tactics is used to not exterminate the opponents but to force them to negotiate etc. This is often one of the points of the plot -- that conflict is bad and that indians are getting the wrong end of the stick handed to them.

    I find it plausible that Hitler got some inspiration for concentration camps from the reservation system used in USA. But the technicalities of it he did not learn from Karl May books.

  7. says


    Left, Nazis stand before a mass grave of victims of the Jewish Holocaust; right: U.S. soldiers pose for a picture near a mass grave of dead Lakotas following the Wounded Knee Massacre of December 29, 1890.
    There are many sources about Hitler’s fascination with May’s books, and several parts of unsavory American history, including that of Hitler himself, and his closest compatriots. With that, let’s stop here. Alexander, if you don’t want to believe this, that’s fine, no one is forcing you. That said, you cannot definitively deny a connection, because you don’t have anything to back that up. If you looked, you could spend ages of time on one history board after another, and all the discussions on this particular subject could keep you buried for a year or two.

  8. AlexanderZ says

    Caine #9
    Here is the Katyn Massacre picture. Note the similarities. It’s almost as if any culture that commits genocides, traditionally buries the dead and has access to black and white cameras ends with the same photo. If you don’t believe me do a google image search for “[insert country name] mass grave”.
    Besides, to have those two pictures be any relevant to this discussion at all Hitler either have to have been personally supervising that mass grave digging, and/or had a specific directive regarding such matters. Neither of which is true.

    That said, you cannot definitively deny a connection, because you don’t have anything to back that up.

    That doesn’t work that way! If you make a claim you have to back it up. And before you say that you did back it, let me stop you right there and say that John Toland was not an academic historian and he published his works without any peer review. He didn’t even have a degree in history -- he preferred literature and theatre. He’s just some amateur who became famous. Citing him is no different than citing ID for evolutionary biology or quoting William Happer on climate change.
    If you want to support your claim find a body of evidence (i.e. anything more than one quote by one author) or at least one actual WW2 historian that supports it.

    I’m being pissed because this is a distorted reposting of PZ’s awful post. Both link to ICMN articles penned by the same person (Simon Moya-Smith) that quote the same JewishJournal article that was based entirely on Toland’s quote.
    I say “was” because, amusingly enough, between 2015 and 2017 that JJ link got broken and Moya-Smith didn’t bother to check whether the link still works.
    (The last working snapshot of the JJ article dates to 22.11.2016)

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