Sunday, February 10, 2013

Scalping First Encouraged by Colonial Governments

Part 8 of the series Are Native Americans Relevant?

European governments paid bounty for scalps of people from the other country’s colony.  The Dutch were the first to offer a bounty and then the practice spread.  In the early colonial era the emphasis was on taking heads. The Connecticut government offered Mohegans a bounty on every Pequot head, the Dutch for Raritan heads.  By 1675 because so many heads were turned in, governments accepted head skins, or scalps, instead.  Opposing governments ignored the difference between warriors and noncombatants in their desire to control more land, a distinction that Native Americans made, and scalps of women and children were also taken and turned in for bounty payment.   Native American nations to the west learned about scalping as the frontier moved and brought the practice along.

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