Genocide and its Connection to Colonialism

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Throughout history, Genocides and Crimes against Humanity have overpowered and destroyed groups of people. These groups had very few chances to fight back, as they were outnumbered and not prepared for the harsh realities they were facing. It hurt not only the population in the sense of numbers, but it created conflict and loss of cultures and a way of life until the present day. Two Genocides that were greatly affected by the hands of others were the Yana Indians and the Tutsi people. The Yana Indians in California were held and destroyed by the powerful settlers of America. Similarly, the Tutsi in Rwanda was murdered and persecuted by the Hutu people. Both of these groups faced incredible hardships and afflictions that destroyed their history and their population. The Yana Indians in California and the Tutsi in Rwanda both faced genocides at the hands of Colonialism.

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The role of Colonialism ultimately revealed that although both groups were infiltrated and persecuted against, the Tutsi in Rwanda faced harsh Imperialism by the Belgium that aided in their Genocide. Both Imperialism and Colonialism had impeded on native people throughout all of history all over the world. Many of these powerful nations who go and colonize on the land do so for many different reasons. As in such with America, the settlers felt that, native people had no rights to territories and thus, due to the fact that they felt the land wasn’t being used correctly, they had every right to take it for themselves (Jones 106). This justification made it so that the native people were not even real or tangible inhibitors of the land and should not even be there in the first place.

Other reason for the conquest of the land is due in part to civilizing and trying to assimilate the native people that are already there. Many settlers felt they were the more superior race and that what they believed and how they acted should be what everyone else is doing (Jones 106). This would end up resulting in the killings and enslaving of the people, as the natives were not so willing to just give in and be a part of the settler’s culture. This conflict between settlers and natives, or the powerful and weak, would give way to genocides occurring being one felt they had to come on top of the other. These points give reason to why the Genocides of the Yana Indians of Calfironia and the Tutsi in Rwanda had occurred and destroyed their kind. Unbeknownst to some, there has been real genocides that have taken place in America. The Yana Indians, native to California, experienced their own genocide at the hands of new settlers to America. The American settlers possibly encountered the non-Indians in 1821, but the California Gold Rush transformed their world (Madley 19).

Manifest Destiny, a driving force for the movement to the West, blinded settlers from seeing that the natives were rightfully on the land first. These intruders were only focused on finding the wealth that was believed to be there and to expand to conquer all the land for themselves. This gave Yana only a few choices of finding protection, battle the settlers or hideaway in the mountains (Madley 20). The settlers were not merciful in their pursuit as they had no remorse for killing and driving out these native people. The governor of California, Peter Burnett explained, that a war of extermination will continue to be waged … until the Indian race becomes extinct’ (Madley 20). These natives, who were on the land first, were not given a real chance to try and assimilate or try and work with the settlers to come up with a fair chance. The ruthlessness of the settlers revealed that Colonialism played a huge role in the Genocide of the Yana Indians. They had almost their entire population wiped out just because the settlers wanted the land and did not want any other kind of people around who they may deem as an enemy. The settler’s blind ambition could have been stopped had the Yana had better defenses or the settlers just left them be and worked around them. The Yana Indians were not the only group that experienced a genocide, as the Tutsi faced one themselves.

The Genocide that occurred in Rwanda was majorly in part to both the roles of colonialism and imperialism. During Belgian rule in Rwanda, the native Tutsi was favored over the Hutu, although the Hutu were the majority of the population. There were very few differences between the two groups, as they all spoke the same language and had similar facial similarities. However, the Tutsi’s, caucasoid facial features, combined with their smoother personalities were proof enough for him that they were more cultured and thus becoming more favored as the superior race (Handout). Although they were the superior group, the Tutsi’s gained influence and power over the Hutu, making a life for them not easy. The Hutu, were treated with the harshness appropriate to a lower caste or an inferior race and would be a driving factor that would cause the hatred and resentment between the two groups (Caplan 449). As soon as Belgium rule ended with Rwanda gaining independence, the Hutu overpowered and took over control over the Tutsi people, starting of the Genocide. The events that occurred revealed the, Rwandan Tutsi was systemically slaughtered in the swiftest genocide of modern times (Caplan 447) The Tutsi were not only slaughtered, but women were raped and children endured harsh torture at the hands of the Hutu. In one instance, a young child, was raped often by the daily stream of men and had to endure it because she was a Tutsis and had no other choice (Handout). This outrageous treatment and abuse could be seen as worse as dying, as their suffering continued without seeing any hope for themselves surviving. The Imperialism and Colonialism of Belgium of Rwanda aided in the Genocide that occurred. The favoritism that Belgium had on the Tutsi was a huge factor in the Hutu retaliating when they finally got independence.

All of these killings and suffering could have been avoided, as the United Nations and other countries were fully aware of what was going on. It could have been possible that intervention from someone else would have been able to avoid having any genocide or at least bring equality between the two people. The Yana Indians in California and the Tutsi in Rwanda each faced a genocide because of the presence of Colonialism. Had Colonialism not been a factor, it could be seen that these genocides would not have occurred or their effects would have been the only minor. There are still Genocides happening today due in part to the presence of Colonialism and other nations being idle in helping. Had a nation or a group stepped in and helped the Yana or the Tutsi, they may have not endured all the sufferings and killings that they faced. Nations have proclaimed to be leaders in the world and would step in if the situation presented as dangerous to society or the people. However, when the people being persecuted are not their own, these nations are very hesitant to come in and help and that is a huge reason why Genocides still occur today. It seems that history repeats itself very often and that our moral standings are all say and not enough actions and doing anything to fix the issues.

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Genocide And Its Connection To Colonialism. (2019, Jul 11). Retrieved December 5, 2022 , from

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