Small pox to Covid-19: the impact of pandemics on indigenous peoples

CAVENDISH, Vt. – In 1492, when Columbus arrived in the Caribbean, 100% of north and south American were populated by native peoples. Today, only 1% of the United States is occupied by native peoples while 8% account for Latin America’s population and 4.9% of Canada’s.

On Sunday, Oct. 11, the Cavendish Historical Society will host a talk on the role pandemics and epidemics, including smallpox, malaria, cholera, and other diseases, played in the depopulation of the Americas.

While the Americas primarily dealt with chronic disease and were unprepared for the pandemics and epidemics brought by colonizers, disease in and of itself could be and was used as a weapon. However, disease alone was not the only factor in the colonizing of the Americas. As with most aspects of history, it is complex showing the range of human capabilities from extreme violence to compassion.

This event will be held at the Cavendish Stone Church on Main Street at 2 p.m. Parking is available across the street at the Cavendish Baptist Church. Due to the indoor location, this program is limited to 25 people. Social distancing and wearing a mask is required. The talk is free and open to the public but is not recommended for young children.

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