You Should Know

blanketswithsmallpox, (edited )
blanketswithsmallpox avatar

YSK: Blankets with smallpox isn't real. It's literally made up history. At no point did the genocide of native Americans happen due to being purposely given blankets riddled with smallpox. It happened due to them being exterminated piecemeal by the US Government and invaders. It's another piece of history whitewashed because of a historical ear worm with ALMOST zero truth. Native deaths came from the smallpox doing it's own thing while the US Government did the rest. There weren't explorers handing them out trying to kill natives, the government didn't have some sinister plot with blankets with smallpox, even if people were trying to kill natives with blankets riddled with smallpox, it wouldn't have worked... It's bullshit. Researchers and historians firmly believe it cannot really be passed on that way. Smallpox is a super fragile virus, it dies quickly outside of the body. You cannot give people blankets and contract smallpox from it the same way you can't contract herpes sitting on a toilet seat or AIDS from kissing someone with it.

If this were reddit you'd see it pinned on my profile. Alas, that's deleted so I'm going to try to post something similar here so I can cite it. Unfortunately a mod more recently deleted my last info dump when random people inevitably try to ad hominem so I'm doing it here again.


Sauce regarding the 1 'verified' instance where a US Officer tried to give natives 2 blankets and a handkerchief at Fort Pitt. Historians believe the effectiveness to be almost entirely made up because you cannot give someone smallpox with blankets. Smallpox had already run rampant in the native population.*:


Sauce regarding the far more prevalent reality of Native Americans dying from genocide and ethnic cleansing:

PDF Warning:

Post link:


E: For clarity and conciseness since people were having issues somehow with me sourcing the 1 instance but somehow saying I wasn't including the 1 instance... that didn't work... because you can't give someone smallpox with blankets. Not only was it not even rare, there was only 1, verified, instance... which did not work. The colloquial use and thought of natives somehow being sneakily given smallpox through blankets regularly is a straight up lie. It sounds just plausible enough for people to share it but it has ZERO basis in reality. It doesn't work. And only 1 scumbag US Officer in a war against natives was ever confirmed to have tried it.

blanketswithsmallpox avatar
blanketswithsmallpox, (edited )
blanketswithsmallpox avatar

Also if you have sauce for oral storytelling of it happening, I will definitely add it to my list of resources. I've never found anything concrete.

Only people saying they've heard it, but nobody with first hand accounts even from gossiping aunties and cousins lol --- Rehashing the same fake history meme like everyone else. I've only ever found third or further removed sources by people saying similar stuff online who've never set foot on a rez. This is all explained in the sources above too.

pgiulan, avatar

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