I am currently studying the Moro War. 'Moro' is Spanish for Moors. When the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines and found dark skinned Muslims there, after having fought the Moors for over 800 years* back home, they called the Muslims in those islands 'Moros'. It stuck, and some considered it a derogatory word. The Spaniards had spent around 700 of those 800 years* fighting the harsh, invading Moors to free their own Spanish lands; they could care less if the Moros in the Philippines liked the label.
Here in America, many Native Americans are okay and even comfortable with the term 'Indian' while some are not. With time it seems that the Moros are okay with the label given them. These things, like the more unpleasant things that surround them such as 'conquest' are part of life and the history that embraces it. We tend to forget that.
A friend and fan of my historical fiction series, which partly lays open the abuse of the Navajo by Americans, pointed out in discussion that to some extent the Indian wars were inevitable and not necessarily all the fault of the Europeans. His points were: (1) At that time exploration and settling wild lands was a constant, and the natives on the American continent conquered each other; (2) Many American tribes, especially the hunter gatherers and nomadic ones, were somewhat brutal as more ancient, simple Europeans had been; (3) Thus, the continent's natives were not prone toward friendship; (4) Many of the Indian groups (again the nomads and hunter gatherers but also farmers) could be very territorial, and were not going to share land easily; and (5) Many Indian practices were unconscionable and needed to be eradicated. Slavery is one example of which the whites were guilty and had to straighten themselves out on first. But, significantly in the height of its success, many whites knew it was wrong. With American native peoples, most of them, it was a way of life, and even the slave, him or herself, recognized and somewhat accepted the fact. I am currently reading a novel, Sangre de Cristo, by Wesley Redfield. [same title as vol. 1 in my historical series] The author brings to light the Spanish enslavement of the natives in New Mexico in order to both get their labor and save their souls through Christianization. As bad as that whole era was in regard to such treatment, one wonders how many Spaniards rationalized that, without Spanish enslavement of them, the native peoples would enslave each other anyway, without the Christianizing benefit.
The bottom line is, though one of my characters comments in 1866 that the continent could have been shared, that the odds were greatly against such cooperation between such disparate cultural groups. Given the scenario of: (a) the age of Europeans going out to explore and settle, (b) the Native Americans' own warlike conquest practices among themselves, (c) differences in European and native beliefs, and (d) that there was a lot of land in America (enough to have been shared should fighting over it been avoided), I have come to the following conclusion. The whites can be blamed to a degree but not denigrated to to the degree that revisionist history attempts. Personally, I lay more of the blame at our white ancestors' feet, but not all of it. I feel that the more enlightened whites and the more gentle of the Christian leaders (the people who were abolitionists) should have ruled the day after the Civil War and during the period of Manifest Destiny, without the land acquisition being halted altogether. Perhaps they tried. As another of my characters (a white cowboy) says to a Navajo woman he is romancing and my main Navajo series heroine later echoes, "It's just history happening, our history, and we're just caught in it." How many people have said that to themselves through the fog of many historical centuries?
* The Moro War, by James R. Arnold