“I Have Caused My People Who Are of the House of Israel to Be Smitten”

Bryan Richards
"From the time Columbus landed in the West Indies, the destruction and driving of the Indian people began. The extent of this destruction has only recently started coming to full light. For example, Wilbur R. Jacobs a noted historian, refutes the earlier projections made by European and American scholars of the Indian population at the time Columbus arrived in the Western Hemisphere in 1492. Estimates used to place the Indian population of North America at about a million, and in both North and South America at no more than 8 million. However, according to Jacobs, modern projections which are widely accepted today place the total at 90 million for the whole of the Western Hemisphere and nearly 10 million in North America alone. (See "The Indian and the Frontier in American History—A Need for Revision," Western Historical Quarterly, Jan. 1973, p. 45.) When this total of 10 million Indians living in North America is compared with the estimated 235,000 who were alive at the turn of the twentieth century, one begins to glimpse the scope of the tragedy…

."…That story was repeated numerous times at the hands of men like Cortez, Pizzaro, and DeSoto, in Peru, Colombia, Mexico, and the United States. The scenes viewed by Nephi six hundred years before Christ were fulfilled with horrible reality. As one author put it:

"'Here was a race in process of being engulfed in an irresistible flood of peoples of an utterly different culture. Dislocated from their accustomed seats, transplanted again and again, treated by whites as hostile encumbrances of the fertile earth to be brushed aside or destroyed, bewildered by a type of economy for which they were unprepared, decimated by disease and vices to which they had built up no resistance, repeatedly seeing solemn treaties violated, subject to shifting governmental policies, preyed upon by incompetent and greedy officials, and at times demoralized by an excess of well intentioned but ill directed paternalistic kindness, it is a wonder that the Indians survived.' (Kenneth Scott Latourette, A History of the Expansion of Christianity, The Great Century, vol. 4, p. 323)" (Book of Mormon Student Manual, 1981, pp. 34-5)