Steven Newcomb: How to rid Indians of land
"Alpheus Snow, in his book “The Administration of Dependencies,” examined “the Evolution of the Federal Empire” of the United States, “with Special Reference to Colonial Problems.” How to get Indian land has always been a central colonial issue for the United States. This is otherwise known as “the Indian problem,” or, how to get the land away from the Indian nations that first possessed it.

Territory is of critical importance to the colonial problem of the United States. Snow said that from the “earliest time” the meaning of the word “territory” had been disputed. Based on a number of Latin writers dating back to the Roman Empire, Snow traced the concept of “territory” to the Latin word “terreo,” “to hold a place in subjection through terror, or excessive fear.”

From this perspective, the more accurate spelling of “territory” would be “terror-tory,” meaning, “a region or place held under subjection or control through the use of terroristic force against the people.” A successful war of terror results in an expanded “terror-tory” (territory).

Snow said the double suffix “torium” resulted in the whole word “toritorim,” the literal meaning in Latin being, “a place pertaining to a person who holds in subjection through terror or excessive fear.” A toritorim is a place that is held “through awe, or dread.” The more benign and euphemistic sounding meaning would be, “a place subject to the exclusive control of a person (such as a Lord), or a political community.”

All this leads to a troubling but quite logical conclusion. Behind the “Doctrine of Discovery” and the claim of a unilateral U.S. “plenary power” over Indian nations is the claimed “right” of Christian terror-torial sovereignty. This can be characterized as the presumed right by a “Christian prince or people” to invasively use terroristic force against non-Christians (heathens and infidels)."

Get the Story:
Steven Newcomb: The sinister roots of ‘territory’ (Indian Country Today10/2)

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