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“The broad platform of extermination”: nature and violence in the nineteenth century North American borderlands

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This article investigates the dominant trope in the nineteenth century discourse on Native Americans extermination through a historical analysis of the experience of the Apache people of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. Much of the appeal of extermination for Anglo-Americans was the notion's convenient ability to naturalize the violence of settler colonialism—an impulse that rendered the nineteenth century the “era of extermination.” In contrast, Apache communities created narratives underscoring the human forces driving extermination. Such distinctions highlight the virtues for students of genocide of paying closer attention to the recent work of Native American historians, especially that emphasizing indigenous culture and agency.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2008

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