Category Archives: a good Tausug is a dead Tausug


Neldy Jolo

The similar saying, “good Indian is a dead Indian was introduced to Minsupala (Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan) to discriminate the inhabitants whom Spanish, American and Filipino called “Moro” – Hulabangsa Mindanao and Hulabangsa Sug (Tausug) assumed by American soldier as “a good Moro is a dead Moro”, thus a good Tausug is a dead Tausug.”

Arata Awata wrote in his blog: “Forget that Filipino Indios says “a good Moro is a dead Moro” and in Spanish, the cognate moro is considered a racist and derogative term.” 

According to Spencer Tucker, “The American civilizing efforts applied both might and persuasion in altering sequences. Many American soldiers, however, operated under the assumption that “a good Moro is a dead Moro.”

“a good Tausug is a dead Tausug”

Stories behind famous sayings

The Saying:

Who Said It: Gen. Philip Sheridan

When: 1869

The Story behind It: In January, 1869, General Sheridan held a conference with 50 Indian chiefs at Fort Cobb in the so-called Indian Territory (later part of Oklahoma). At that time, Sheridan, who had gained recognition as a Union officer in the Civil War, was in charge of the Dept. of the Missouri. One of his duties was to oversee the Indian Territory, making sure that the Indians remained on their reservations and did not harass the white settlers. When Comanche chief Toch-a-way was introduced to Sheridan at the conference, the Indian said, “Me Toch-a-way, me good Indian.” Sheridan reportedly smirked and replied, “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead.” Later on, the remark became “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” –

“He (Sherman) is one of the three individuals to whom the bluntest of all policy statements – the only good Indian is a dead Indian – has been attributed. The first to say it was probably the Montana congressman James Cavanaugh; then (Philip) Sheridan picked it up, and finaaly Sherman who (according to Meneken) said it to an Indian who was panhandling at a railway station as Sherman was disembarking. Me good Indian,” the old man said, to which Sherman replied, “So far as I know the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” It is doubtful that the old panhandler received a cent.” – Larry McMurtry (The Colonel and Little Missie. Pg 69) 

“There is an anecdote told concerning Sheridan during his campaign against the Indians. Comanche Chief Tosawi, or Silver Knife, reputedly told Sheridan in 1869, “Me Tosawi, Me good Indian,” to which Sheridan is said to have replied, “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead.”…This was then misquoted as “The only good Indian is a dead Indian”. Sheridan later denied he had made the statement to Tosawi. Earlier that year, on May 28, (1869) Rep. James M. Cavanaugh said in the House, “I have never seen in my life a good Indian … except when I have seen a dead Indian.” That remark may have been mistakenly attributed to Sheridan.” – Wikipedia –

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