Native Americans And The Truth Behind Their Relationship To The Settlers:Â It is Foundations of Freedom Thursday, a special day of the week where we get to answer questions from you, the listeners! Always answering your questions from constitutional principles! Tune in today as we answer your questions such as what’s the true relationship between the Native Americans and the settlers? Is the term, “Indian” offensive amongÂ the Native Americans? And so much more, right here on WallBuilders Live!Â
Air Date:Â 07/05/2018
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Faith And The Culture
President Thomas Jefferson said, “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves. And if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we talk about the day”s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture. We”re always doing that from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.
Today it’s Foundation to Freedom Thursday which means you get to ask the questions, you get to drive the conversation. So, send those questions to [email protected], Â [email protected]. It might be a historical question, a constitutional question. It could be about a specific founding father. Or about the application of Scripture and what the Bible says about some of the issues we’re facing today. Send those questions in – [email protected].
We’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and our founder here at WallBuilders. Tim Barton”s with us, national speaker and pastor, and president of WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state legislator.
You can find out more about us and the program at two websites. The radio site is WallBuildersLive.com. That has a list of our stations, archives of programs over the last few months, all kinds of great things there at WallBuildersLive.com. And then WallBuilders.com is our main website. That’s where you can get all kinds of tools to equip you and your family. It will inspire you, there’s a lot of great things in there that will educate you. But it will equip you to be able to be better citizens and help us restore this constitutional republic.
Alright, David, Tim, we’ve got quite a few questions today on this Foundations of Freedom Thursday. You guys ready to dive in?
On Native Americans
I don’t usually do this to you guys – usually I at least give you just one question at a time, but we’ve got several questions on the same topics. I’m going to throw two at you and then let you all decide how you want to answer it.
First one comes from Rivanda. She says, “I listen to your programs driving home in the evening on a local Christian radio station. And I”m encouraging my friends to do the same. Could I ask you please why Native American peoples are never included in any of your books, printed materials, or discussed on your radio programs? Do you not believe they are an integral part of the America that God created and that we live in today? Thank you.” Alright, good question.
And then right along with that we got one similar to that from Joe. He said, “I’ve never heard you say much about this subject and I was wondering if you could expound a little on the relationships between the native Americans and the settlers and how things came about – the Trail of Tears, and so on. I understand that it wasn’t as simple as just being bullies and aggressors. I also understand that not all Indian tribes were peaceful pipe smoking hippies who just wanted to get along and live on the land. Some more peaceful, some more violent, some more savage.
“I believe it’s also true that there were other countries here at the time, so the Indian tribes picked sides – some with the colonists, some against. But I would like to learn more about the history of the Native American Indians. The truth. If you choose not to cover the subject on your radio program could you steer me in the right direction for resources?” Well, we will cover it today.
Joe, Rivanda, appreciate your questions. And David, Tim, sorry to throw so much at you at once, but it just, to sum up in terms of questions, have we covered this much at all in the past? Do we have any materials on it? And then regardless of that, how do you sum up the relationships between the native Americans and the settlers and is the perspective today of the white man being just all bad and the Indians being all good an accurate depiction?
One of the Most Complicated Issues
Couple of things – we have covered this quite a bit, we have answered several questions on it, we’ve even covered founding fathers who had so much to say about Native Americans, founding fathers who were loved by Native Americans, actually respected so much that they were called in to settle disputes between tribes. We have a number of articles on the website about this.
But the deal with Native Americans is that is probably one of the most complicated historical issues in American history. There is just not much that”s homogenous and you can make characteristic stereotypes about in any way, shape, fashion, or form. You have some Native American tribes that are just exceptionally loyal, and peaceful, and want to do what we would consider to be the Judeo Christian approach even though they weren’t Christian. But now you look at the Tuscarora tribe and they’re almost a fully completely Baptist tribe, nearly all Christian, they have been for a couple of centuries.
Then you look on the other hand toward the Western Plains Indians and you’ve got a whole different story. The difference between the Eastern Indians and Western Indians, that is like speaking in French and hearing in Russian. There’s just not much that’s the same. And then when you go into the Cherokees down in the south, southern part of the United States, southeastern part the United States, it”s another whole different issue.
So, the whole issue of Native Americans really, really, is a complicated thing. Especially their relationships with Anglos and settlers – whether these be Spanish, French, Dutch, or English.
So, when you say it’s not homogenous, basically you’re saying, look, you can’t just say “Native Americans” and lump all Native Americans into the same bucket. Or frankly, all settlers in the same bucket. That actually would be as simplistic and racist as basically having a stereotype on one particular ethnic group and saying they’re all that way, right?
Well, with settlers you’re coming closer to being able to lump them into the same bucket in some ways. Because a overwhelming majority of the early settlers came for religious liberty, religious reasons, and were fairly well versed in the Bible. Now granted, you get in the Virginia colony, now, they’re not as Bible versed as the pilgrims would have been, but they still were coming with religious motivations and thoughts.
Now, as you move into westward expansion, no, the guys moving west toward California, most of them aren’t religious thinking guys. And so you can make some stereotypical kind of general characterizations a whole lot easier about settlers and western expansion then you care about the tribes.
Why Not More Time?
Well, and I’ll point out – so one of the questions was why don’t we write more about this? Well, ultimately, we spend most of our time writing about people that signed the Declaration, that signed the Constitution, that framed the Bill of Rights. We spend more of our time in really the founding, or what”s considered the founding fathers of the nation.
Now, does that mean we neglect some of the women in the revolution? Well, we’ve certainly talked about many women from the Revolution. We’ve talked about many heroes, or I guess in this case heroines, because they’re women, right. Many women heroes are heroines, as the case might be, throughout America’s history. But we spend most of our time specifically diving into the guys that gave us the Constitution, that gave us the principles outlined in the Declaration. That’s where we spend most of our time.
But certainly, even as you’re mentioning, we back up and we do look at the Pilgrims and the fact that when you look at the early Pilgrims, the longest lasting peace treaty between any Anglos and any Indians goes back to those guys. And largely was ended with King Phillip”s War. Which, so even one of the funny notions today because people speak so often in journalization, and the white man stole all the land from the Indians.
I always chuckle when I look back and say, “Now, wait a second, the Pilgrims, when they first arrive in America– and pilgrims meaning the people that came over in the Mayflower, not all of them were part of that congregation, but generally, that’s referred to the people who came over on the Mayflower. When they first arrived in November, winter up in the New England states. And so as winter is here, as they’re getting off the boat, there’s 102 of them, but they’re not ready for winter.
And that winter half of the pilgrims died. One of the things Governor Bradford talks about was that there was a special instrument sent by God for their deliverance and that was Samoset and Squanto that come along, and they help them and they survive, and they’re able to make it to that first Thanksgiving.
The First Thanksgiving
Well, the first Thanksgiving they’re down to half of what they had when they arrived. So, you’re talking now there’s roughly 50 Pilgrims. Well, King Massasoit came to the feast and he brought 90 of his male Braves with him. Now, if we’re going to say that all whites stole land from Indians and that”s how they got their land. Well, if the Pilgrims had stolen land from the Indians, when Chief Massasoit shows up with ninety braves, and the roughly 50 pilgrims are men, women, children, elderly, you have this conglomerate.
If the Indians thought that these pilgrims had stolen land, the first Thanksgiving would have looked a little different right? It would have been more of a massacre than a kumbaya moment as it’s often painted to be. But this is where because we often speak in generalizations we don’t dig into specific people, specific stories. And when you look at specific stories, and you can kind of put some averages out there.
So, if you talk about, for example, before Andrew Jackson the vast majority of issues that arose were not specifically the white man coming, and taking, and stealing, and abusing the Indian. The vast majority of those situations were largely Indians who were raiding settlements. Or if there were peace treaties, before Andrew Jackson, so in the founding era from the pilgrims up to the founding fathers, the vast majority of even what became known as the Indian wars in the 1700″s were because Indians were frustrated that their ancestors had sold land to these early settlers, these Christians when they came.
A Christian Underpinning
Because the early settlers, and coming largely from, dad, as you mentioned coming from Europe. And they have this kind of Christian underpinning as they’ve been escaping the persecution of Europe coming to America to find religious liberty. They believed in the notion of private property because they had seen the king take things away from them and that they didn’t want to follow that, they want to come. And really, they followed much more, much closer, to biblical principles, what was going on in Europe.
But part of that was private property and so when they got here they actually purchased land from the Indians at prices set by the Indians. And you can look at that when you look at Rhode Island, and when you look at Connecticut, and when you look at Pennsylvania, several states you can point to where that’s how the early settlers got the land. Well, in many of those states you had Indian wars in the 1700″s because as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson even wrote, the Indians, the braves who were alive at that time were frustrated that their ancestors had sold the land and they were trying to reclaim land that had legally sold. We actually own several Indian deeds in our WallBuilders collection from that early Americana period.
And so this again, it just, when we speak in generalizations about the mass brutalization of the whites to the Indians we miss the majority of the story because we don’t know specific details, people, tribes, etc. and the specifics make it look a lot different than the generalizations we”re given.
Okay, guys, we’re going to take a quick break. We’ll be right back. We’ll stay on these questions. Stay with us, folks, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live on Foundations of Freedom Thursday.
Abraham Lincoln said, “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts. Not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
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We call it the QuickStart guide to the Constitution because in just a few hours through these videos you will learn the Citizen’s Guide to America’s Constitution. Â You’ll learn what you need to do to help save our Constitutional Republic. It’s fun! It’s entertaining! And it’s going to inspire you to do your part to preserve freedom for future generations. It’s called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. You can find out more information on our website now at WallBuilders.com.
Thomas Jefferson said, “The constitutions of most of our states, and of the United States, assert that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. That they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us on this Foundations of Freedom Thursday. We’re taking your questions today and we”re actually taken two at a time right now. We got two on our native American relationships between Native Americans and the settlers. And David, you were about to say something when we went to break.
Well, Â part of this. Again this is a really, really, really, complicated issue and that’s why it’s hard to cover it in a quicker period of time. Now, I will tell you that from all of our research there’s a couple of trends that have emerged, but trends always have lots of exceptions to them. So, maybe the USA this is there’s more examples pointing in this direction than those pointing in other directions.
Different Depending on the Time
But I’ll just point out here is a pretty simple one – in the 1600″s and the 1700″s, most treaties were broken by Native Americans, not settlers. In the 1800″s and the 1900″s nearly all treaties were broken by the settlers, not the Native Americans. So, if you want to say that the settlers broke all the treaties. Well, if you point at the 1800″s and 1900″s you’re going to be right. But if you want to say the settlers broke all the treaties you’re going to have a little tougher time making that point out of the 1600″s and 1700″s.
So, that’s what complicates part of the relationship is you had very, very, different cultures interacting. Those that were coming out of Europe had the concept of private property. Those that lived in America, Native Americans, didn’t really have the concept of private property, they had the concept of property use. And so when they were selling private property then selling what were considered tribal lands, for the colonists that meant “we now own it” and for Native Americans, “I can’t believe these guys bought this – nobody owns land.” There’s no way the colonists knew that the Indians were thinking differently on the same thing, they came to agreement on it.
So, you have all this complication and the same with the culture of Native Americans at that time. It really is a culture where you prove yourself, you prove your worth, you prove who you are by your strength in battle, by your courage, by what you do with your enemies. And so it was very, very, very, common at that point in time that when Native Americans fought each other torture was really high on the list. Today we would consider very, very, very, barbaric. We have accounts where Indians would make their opponents line up arm to arm, link arms together, and they would go right down them and gut every one of them, make them hold their own guts as they”re dying. That’s just barbaric.
And so the Christian missionaries working among them say, “Hey, guys, why don’t we not do that. Why don’t we not–“ And that’s what led to King Phillip”s War is they said “The Christian missionaries are trying to change our culture.” Yes, they were. And so if you want to blame the whites for starting a war, yeah, they were trying to, as they said, civilize and stop some of the torture practices. So, that kind of complicates it when you talk about it. If you want to take the position that Native Americans are always right than the colonist are going to be wrong, but it’s just really hard to do that.
And then when you look the difference between the northern colonies and southern colonies, generally those northern colonies, like Tim mentioned, the New Hampshire’s, and the Rhode Island”s, and the Pennsylvania”s, and all those, they purchased the land and they thought it was a clean contract. They paid what the Indians wanted, and they got agreements, and signed title deeds, and we have some of those title deeds. If you go to the south it’s a whole different mentality. There’s very few treaties there. It’s more like, “Hey, the king gave us the land. You guys need to get off this, the king gave it to us.” So, you have some complications there.
And then let’s go back to the north for a minute because in the north you have what many people would consider often treacherous behavior. Great example is there were so many treaties that Americans had with Native Americans and then the British came in and offered the Native Americans a better deal. And so Native Americans would often which sides, they had been our allies.
A great great example is Joseph Brant. Joseph Brant was educated in an American University, spoke English, considered very civilized Indian, and he’s leader of a tribe. And the British come to him and say, “You know what? We’ll give you a scalp bounty. Every American scalp you take”– let’s say five bucks, it was their amount of money. So, suddenly he’s now attacking those he’s always been at peace with because he gets paid for the scalps.
Learning the History
And in one particularly egregious instant that really set the settlers off he went into an unarmed town, largely a Quaker village. Quakers are not going to fight back, they’re not going to have guns, they are not going to shoot you. And this actually a couple places Wyoming, Pennsylvania, and Cherry Valley, went in and just massacred all the inhabitants, took all their scalps. Well, that’s an outrage. All the colonists who have been living with them on land that they paid for and the Indians sold them. And that’s why it is just so difficult.
Now, when you get to hundreds and Andrew Jackson. He’s fought the Indians in so many wars on the opposite side. The indians sided with the Spanish against American, Indians sided with the British against American, in both the War of 1812 and the American Revolution. But there were a ton of Indians who fought with the Americans against the others. And even King Phillip”s War, when the indians said, “Hey, the Christian missionaries are trying to change our beliefs.”
They didn’t just go to war against the colonists they went to war against Christian Indians. And it was actually an Indian that killed the chief that was leading King Philip who was leading the war. It was another Indian who killed him.
So, it’s just so complicated to get into Native American history and American relations because it’s all different and these are just the eastern tribes. When you start getting into the western tribes, oh my gosh, Tim just finished a book on some of the western tribes here in Texas. And there is– it’s just hard to find much redeeming things to say from the perspective we hold today of what civilized behavior is.
So, is it fair to say that like our other historical approaches you”ve got to do the good, the bad, and the ugly. You can’t just pick one story and paint a broad stroke. There isn’t a simple one-two sentence answer to relationships between the Native Americans and settlers. You’ve really got to dive into the different stories.
A Very Different Picture
Much like many parts of history we talk about, Rick, you”re exactly right. It’s something that you can look at kind of the numbers, and you can make some statistics, and that’s where people try to make generalizations. But a lot of times, they’ll use one or two examples to say “all things happened like this” which, we know is just not an accurate way to look at history.
And so when you go back and start looking and say, okay, there was this tribe, and there was this tribe, and there was this settlement, and there was this colony. When you start looking at them it’s a very different picture than a lot of what’s painted today. The early settlers, the early colonists, the Puritans, the Quakers, these early groups, had very different relations.
And when you read about the 1800″s coming forward, kind of this Jacksonian era coming forward, relations changed a lot with the White Man and the Indian. And at that point certainly there’s a lot of bad things that happen. But again, it’s best not to speak in generalizations. Let”s go back, do a little research, a little history, find some more information. And when you find more information you realize that neither side is guiltless in this situation. Both at different times were the oppressor, both at different times were the victim.
But it’s kind of the nature of history, and the nature of human nature, where in a fallen sinful world people do fallen sinful things. And that’s not specific just to Anglos against the Indians, that’s for all people throughout history.
That”s a great way to put it. Nobody”s guiltless in this situation. It’s probably true of both sides in pretty much every conflict throughout our history. But definitely in this case for sure.
Hey, guys, quick break. We’ve got another question coming up when we come back from the break. It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
President Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”
Moment From American History
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. After the final victory at Yorktown the Continental Army awaited the outcome of peace negotiations with Great Britain.
Pastor Israel Evans, a chaplain in the army, proposed to George Washington that they build a structure where church services can be held during the months of waiting. Washington approved the plan and urges officers to ensure that the soldiers attend that service.
Pastor Evans further knew if we were to secure the liberties they had fought for, sound education would be crucial.
He declared, “Every parent and every friend to the freedom of his country ought to be attentive to the improvement of our youth and the principles of freedom and good government. And then the people will stand fast in their liberty for a long time.” Our schools today need to return to teaching the principles of freedom and good government in order for America to survive and prosper. For more information about Pastor Israel Evans and other colonial Patriots go to WallBuilders.com
Thomas Jefferson said, “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
We’re back on WallBuilders Live, Foundations of Freedom Thursday today, so we’re taking your questions. And David, Tim, our first couple segments were on the Indians and settler relationships and questions we had on that. So, final segment today another question somewhat in this vein. This one comes from Kim. She said, “I was sharing some history about the Pilgrims and the Indians on Facebook when I was corrected by someone for calling the Indians “Indians”. Is the word “Indian” truly offensive amongst the native Americans? Or is this something those who throw around the idea that America was built on white supremacy are trying to push on us?
Using the Word “Indian”
“I keep scratching my head. I know I’m no spring chicken, but what about Indiana, or Indianapolis, or the Indian Hills Golf Course, or the thousands of other places and things that use the word “Indian”. I’m frustrated and confused. Just doesn’t sit well with me. I feel the scolding I’m getting is out of spite. I honestly did not know any better. What’s going on? Yes, I understand that Columbus was confused and called them wrongly, but are the Indians themselves actually offended by the word? I’d love to know the answer. Thanks for all you do and for bringing true history to our attention.” Kim, good question. I have no idea. David? Tim?
Okay, so this is a trick question because it matters specifically which Indian you talk to. Because that’s like saying, “Hey, Rick, are you offended that you are a white Christian male?” Well, no, you would say no, right? Well, that’s your that’s your opinion. If I go to a college campus and say, “Hey, guys, do you feel bad that you are a white male?” A lot of people now would go, oh, that’s a terrible. Don’t put that label on me because we know that’s a bad word. We get offended at the dumbest things these days.
And so I understand there’s probably somebody listening going wait a second, you’re saying it’s dumb to get offended that somebody would call somebody an Indian and they don’t want to be called an Indian, they want to be called Native American. Okay, yes, ultimately that is dumb because all you want is something to be offended by, which is dumb. It’s not dumb that you feel like somebody is calling you a bad name, but finding something that offends you to be offended by is a dumb position and state of mind.
I would probably say that the person who jumped her on Facebook probably was not Native American or Indian, it was probably somebody else. The tendency is you pick up an offense for somebody else because, as Tim said, you’re going to hear this especially on campuses. And so that’s pejorative. I cannot tell you how many– we”ve had a good news Friday recently where we talked about the Colorado school the mascot was the Indians. Oh my gosh. Well, it was the Indians who wanted that mascot who thought that was really, I think it was the Cheyenne tribe.
It”s Not as Big of a Deal as People Make it Out to Be
It was a Arapaho I think.
Oh, it was Arapaho.
Yeah, it was Arapaho. So, they brought in some of the artwork of what the indian looks like. And the Arapaho tribe comes in, and they do some time in the school in the afternoon showing them what the Arapaho culture looks like. So, if they’re going to be Arapaho, if they”re going to be these Indians, right, then you need to know what it’s like. And this is where we just– almost as we talked about in some of the first segments, when you talk in generalizations and say, “Does using the word “Indian” offend Indians?” Well, that’s, when you say “Indians”, now we’re talking about generalizing all Indians– or excuse me– Native Americans that live in America and not all of them are offended by this.
So, not all people would be offended if I said, “So, what’s your Indian heritage?” They wouldn’t go, “Oh my gosh, call me Native American. And that’s a Native American heritage.” No, I know several people that have a lot of Indian heritage. In fact, we just had a girl this summer in our leadership training program and her family are Cheyenne heritage. In fact, she’s able to get a really good college scholarship because, right, she’s a native american in the government’s eyes. But she was not offended on any level when we talked about–
Well, you remember even Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins. That’s got to be worse than “Indians”, “Redskins”. Except you remember how many tribes came out and said, “That doesn’t bother us. As long as you’re not projecting us and portraying us in a bad light, the name is not the deal.”
The Bottom Line
So, the bottom line is people look for things to get offended at. And so you know what? Don’t be surprised if someone jumps on you on social media because you used a hot word that’s politically incorrect at the moment and said, “Oh my gosh, you’re not allowed to say that word anymore.” And actually, generally if it offends somebody, well yeah, Paul talked about the notion that we shouldn’t offend someone’s conscience. And he talked about like if eating meat offered to an idle cause your brother to stumble. Hey, don’t do that in front of him.
So, no, we’re not trying to offend anybody and we don’t want to be offensive. But at this point, you just have the offense police out there looking for things to yell at you about.
Folks, it’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday. You can get more of these programs on our website. In fact, this e-mail from Susan said, “You all are the highlight of my day as a lover of the God who’s wisdom fills the Constitution. I especially appreciate Foundations of Freedom Thursday.”
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Native Americans And The Truth Behind Their Relationship To The Settlers
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Samuel Adams said, “The liberties of our Country and the freedom of our civil Constitution are worth defending against hazards. And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”
In light of your program about Native Americans I would like to know if they have a written language? I have never heard or seen a note written back to family or chief ? etc. If they do have a written language is it different from tribe to tribe? Thank you for all you I listen every day.
By Tim just finishing a book, did he write one or read one and if so which one?
Greetings! Thank you for contacting WallBuilders Live with your question. We appreciate your taking the time to do so! The book Tim mentioned is called Empire of the Summer Moon.
I hope this helps!
Thank you again and many blessings!