Eaten are the Peace Makers

In 1835, a few hundred miles east of New Zealand, an island society with “a tradition of resolving disputes peacefully” met a brutal and bloody end because they decided not to fight back but “to offer peace, friendship, and a division of resources”.

The Moriori people preferred to negotiate and compromise. However, the Maori, armed with guns, clubs and axes, were not interested in diplomacy. Hundreds of Maori poured off their ships onto Moriori turf and attacked before any peace offering was given. Even though the Moriori far outnumbered their attackers, they chose not to resist, so they were slaughtered.

According to a survivor, “[The Maori] commenced to kill us like sheep. . . . [We] were terrified, fled to the bush, concealed ourselves in holes underground, and in any place to escape our enemies. It was of no avail; we were discovered and killed—men, women, and children indiscriminately.”

Over the next few days, the Maori “killed hundreds of Moriori, cooked and ate many of the bodies”.

And what was the Maori perspective on this event?

“We took possession. . . in accordance with our customs and we caught all the people. Not one escaped. Some ran away from us, these we killed, and others we killed—but what of that? It was in accordance with our custom.”

Question: What is the custom of our enemy? Have they decided to “take possession”? Are we foolish to think that an offer of peace, friendship, and a division of resources is going do any good?

True, fighting back is not the only answer, sometimes good things are accomplished through negotiation. But if you make a choice like the Moriori did, and you are facing an enemy like the Maori, your lack of resistance will only be seen as weakness and you will be killed like sheep – along with your women and children.

(quotes from the book,  “Guns, Germs and Steel” by Jared Diamond)

I wonder how the story of the Moriori might have been different if they’d responded more like the Lumbee?

(The Lumbee were a small tribe of Indians in the United States that “…had always considered themselves indian, but were classified and treated as descendants of blacks.”)

In 1958, in Robeson County, South Carolina, the Lumbee rallied their men and resisted an attack by the KKK.

The end result when the fight was over?

“The Klan ceased to exist in Robeson County until 1984.”

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