The Sins Of All Our Forefathers

Most of the news reports concerning the toppling and defacing of Albert Pike’s statue mention the fact that he was a vehement supporter of slavery. However, few mention that, during his life, his greatest achievement was regarded as being the negotiating of a peace treaty between the government of Texas and local indigenous tribes. Basically, the treaty stated that the native Americans would not attack the colonists as long as the native Americans were allowed to continue owning slaves, as had been their practice for possibly thousands of years.

Nothing is ever simple. About the only thing that can be said for certain is that everybody has ancestors who were enslaved and everybody has ancestors who were involved in slave trading. We do nobody any favours by claiming all the guilt for ourselves. Either we all accept responsibility in part for the sins of the past or we all stop obsessing about them and get on with sorting out the very real injustices of the present.

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