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The Removes


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Discuss The Removes by Tatjana Soli:
Compare attitudes about Custer then and today. In what ways do you think Custer was complicit with our government's treatment of American Indians? In what ways was he a product of his time?

Created: 08/22/18

Replies: 12

Posted Aug. 22, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

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Compare attitudes about Custer then and today. In what ways do you think Custer was complicit with our government's treatment of American Indians? In what ways was he a product of his time?

At the time of the Battle of Little Bighorn, the death of Custer and his men was considered a national tragedy. Compare attitudes about Custer then and today. In what ways do you think Custer was complicit with our government's treatment of American Indians? In what ways was he a product of his time?


Posted Sep. 08, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebajane

Join Date: 04/21/11

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RE: Compare attitudes about Custer then and today. In what ways do you think Custer was complicit with our government's treatment of American Indians?

We do have to go with the assumption that at least some of Ms. Soli’s portrayal of Custer is accurate. I think he’s always been characterized as a hero, someone who stood up to savages and ultimately lost. In this book, Custer is a mix of seeing himself in some ways as a Native himself while systematically killing them off. I think he was conflicted between his loyalty to his command and his feelings about the Native American peoples


Posted Sep. 08, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Gloria

Join Date: 03/11/15

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RE: Compare attitudes about Custer then and today. In what ways do you think Custer was complicit with our government's treatment of American Indians? In what ways was he a product of his time?

Custer was a military man through and through. He did what he was ordered to do. First kill Confederates. Then kill Indians. He didn't question it. He was complicit in that he followed orders no matter what. He might have sympathized with the Indian's plight; he might have questioned his actions' morality, but it didn't matter. He had his orders and that was it.


Posted Sep. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggyt

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 48

RE: Compare attitudes about Custer then and today. In what ways do you think Custer was complicit with our government's treatment of American Indians? In what ways was he a product of his time?

Custer probably still is a hero to some. He was entirely complicit with the government. In his position he would have to be. He was also completely a product of his times, appearing to believe in the importance of westward expansion even though he wished it did not have to occur according to the story.


Posted Sep. 14, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marilynj

Join Date: 08/07/11

Posts: 39

RE: Compare attitudes about Custer then and today. In what ways do you think Custer was complicit with our government's treatment of American Indians? In what ways was he a product of his time?

I think it is accurate to say that General Custer was indeed conflicted. He did not just follow orders. He was allowed to make some of his own reasonable decisions and judgements. What would have happened if he had disobeyed his orders? He showed compassion at times. I don't think his attitudes were any different than today's attitudes today. Many average Americans are conflicted about what has happened to Native Americans and about today's events. This is a difficult, complex social issue which offers no easy answers. Custer carried out what our government wanted. His position was no different than the position of every person today who serves in the military.


Posted Sep. 15, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elise

Join Date: 04/22/11

Posts: 36

RE: Compare attitudes about Custer then and today. In what ways do you think Custer was complicit with our government's treatment of American Indians? In what ways was he a product of his time?

I think it would have been difficult for anybody during that time period not have conflicting viewpoints on the American Indians. On the one hand Custer was viewing the atrocities to the settlers - scalping, women raped and kidnapped, children murdered - while on the other hand the American government was constantly going back on its word. I don't think it was easy to be on one side or the other.


Posted Sep. 16, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bonnieb

Join Date: 09/11/11

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RE: Compare attitudes about Custer then and today. In what ways do you think Custer was complicit with our government's treatment of American Indians? In what ways was he a product of his time?

Custer was definitely complicit with the government in eradicating Indians or attempting to remove them to government reservations. However, the was a maverick and machinated things so they'd go his own way. He often didn't follow rules and made his own. Towards the end of his life, he felt sympathy for the Indians he was destroying and realized that his own country was not comprised of solely good men. According to Custer, "the world as far as he could see was mainly faithless and unjust."


Posted Sep. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bettyt

Join Date: 05/12/11

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RE: Compare attitudes about Custer then and today. In what ways do you think Custer was complicit with our government's treatment of American Indians? In what ways was he a product of his time?

I am not so sure that Custer was "just following orders". He took joy in killing whether it was Confederates, Indians, or a bison. So of course the life of a cavalry man was a perfect fit for him. I think in present times Custer is not seen as the hero he was portrayed to be. Today we know there are times to question orders, particularly if the orders are unjust. Questioning was probably not acceptable in Custer's time.


Posted Sep. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gailh

Join Date: 08/26/17

Posts: 11

RE: Compare attitudes about Custer then and today. In what ways do you think Custer was complicit with our government's treatment of American Indians? In what ways was he a product of his time?

In reading historical novels, we do need to be careful about applying present day attitudes to the popular beliefs of the prior time period. To the first white settlers to North America, the land seemed like an inexhaustible supply of natural resources. Also, land rights in Europe were long established and the idea of native people not owning the land but sharing it with all was completely strange to them. Even trying to take Custer's actions within the framework of the time period he was living, I still found him to be unnecessarily cruel and unfeeling. Granted, some of the other generals such as Sheridan and Sherman also inflicted needless havoc during war but not all of them did. The author states that MClellan was "mocked for walking over the battlefield, crying over his dead soldiers." Perhaps, though, if more of the leaders had McClellan's ability to empathize, then our history of this time period would not have been as bloody as it was.


Posted Sep. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 59

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RE: Compare attitudes about Custer then and today. In what ways do you think Custer was complicit with our government's treatment of American Indians? In what ways was he a product of his time?

What seemed to change about Custer over time was that he was no longer a soldier fighting for his country, but a man looking for a comfortable retirement plan. As time went on, he sought success on the battlefield more for what it might bring to him personally after the fact: positive press, money, a lucrative career after the military. He didn't consider what he was doing necessarily in the course of following orders, but what a win would mean for him. He went so far as to bring reporters along so they could write about his daring and bravery. Once the news became critical, he banned the press.

Custer himself admitted that he didn't understand much; he wasn't well-rounded. He believed he could have just as easily fought for the Confederate cause. He did what he was told. He knew the Black Hills would not give up much in gold, but he wrote the report that was expected, even though he was conflicted. "The newspapers would make him famous again." He was complicit because there was something he wanted when it was all over. I would have more respect for him if he had just walked away.


Posted Sep. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janen

Join Date: 06/01/11

Posts: 49

RE: Compare attitudes about Custer then and today. In what ways do you think Custer was complicit with our government's treatment of American Indians? In what ways was he a product of his time?

I agree with many of the posts. I would like to think so but I really believe that prejudice , resentment and out right hatred are qualities that are deeply rooted in some people and no amount of education, will ever eradicate it. Look at all the blowback when the Washington Redskins were considering changing their name, and that came from their fans !


Posted Sep. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vivianh

Join Date: 11/14/11

Posts: 56

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RE: Compare attitudes about Custer then and today. In what ways do you think Custer was complicit with our government's treatment of American Indians? In what ways was he a product of his time?

Custer was a military officer. He fought for the federal government during the Civil War to preserve the Union. Those who serve are sworn to serve & protect the United States government. His role was to fight the Indian wars just as soldiers in the Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, IraqI, Iraq II, Afghanistan, etc...involves at time savagery & the killing of innocents. Many conscripted soldiers & officers dislike killing; but they do what they must do. Sure, Custer was complicit. But I judge him more for hubris and flawed military strategy more than his decision to continue military service after the ACW. It is easy 145 years after to judge from our modern armchairs.
With regard to McClellan...Lincoln relieved him of command. Had he not, the outcome of the war could have been radically different.


Posted Sep. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BuffaloGirl

Join Date: 01/13/18

Posts: 29

RE: Compare attitudes about Custer then and today. In what ways do you think Custer was complicit with our government's treatment of American Indians? In what ways was he a product of his time?

In reading numerous nonfiction works regarding Custer, it seems to me that he had an inordinate ambition. His hoped for result from the military campaign that ended for him and his command at Little Big Horn was to have overwhelming victory which could propel him into the White House. This was reasonable because so many military leaders had made their way to the presidency. The glorification of Custer after his death was almost totally masterminded and engineered by Libbie. She kept his memory and glorification unsullied through her books, magazine and newspaper articles, and speaking engagements until her death in old age.
Attitudes slowly began to change after her death and especially much more rapidly after the American Indian Movement gained momentum.

Custer was complicit simply by being in the military, but more so because of his ambition to be president. Yet, I believe he also sympathized with the Indian because he envied their wild and free way of life, but saw that it was inevitable that it would come to an end because the Indians’ world view of living in cooperation with the land and nature was diametrically opposed to the European/American (government) of conquering the land and nature and extracting everything from it. The government justified this with the concept of Manifest Destiny. Custer happened to be one of the more well known instruments of Manifest Destiny.


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