Simple Solution for Ending War

10 08 2011

One great thing about researching for my current book project (on North American Tribes) is coming across interesting facts. I discovered that some of the California Indian nations had an unusual way of doing battle–one I think we might do well to emulate.

The opponents lined up facing each other and at a signal from their chiefs, who monitored the battle, they began firing arrows at each other. The battle ended when the first person died. That side was declared the loser, and everyone stopped shooting.

Battle over. Minimal casualties.

If either side felt they hadn’t gotten enough satisfaction, the two chiefs set up another battle in a different location ten day later. Same rules. If during the battle, things got out of hand or too many people were hurt, the chiefs took off their hairnets and waved them in the air. Fighting stopped instantly.

That ten day cooling off period was a terrific idea. I wonder how many fights got called off during that time as ration prevailed over emotion.

I’m thinking we could learn a lot from this. Although I’d love to see a world completely at peace, this might be a solution to the horrible carnage of war. Limit the deaths to one rather than thousands.

The more I read the accounts of European explorers and American settlers, the more I have to wonder about the label, “savages” that the Euro-Americans used for the Native nations. Who really were the savages?