Skip to comments.America's Pristine Myth
Posted on 08/31/2005 7:32:03 PM PDT by Mobile Vulgus
Next week my daughter will go back to elementary school, and I will be faced with a choice. At some point the curriculum will cover the environment, and she'll be taught that before Europeans settled the Americas the Indians lived so lightly on the land that for all practical purposes the hemisphere was a wilderness. The forests and plains, the teacher will explain, were crowded with bison, beaver, and deer; the rivers, with fish; flights of passenger pigeons darkened the skies. The continent's few inhabitants walked beneath an endless forest of tall trees that had never been disturbed.
But in recent decades most archaeologists, anthropologists, and geographers have come to believe that this Edenic image isn't true. When Columbus landed, the new research suggests, the Western Hemisphere wasn't filled with scattered bands of ecologically pure hunters and gatherers. Instead, it was a thriving, diverse place; a tumult of languages, trade, and culture; the home to tens of millions of people - more, some researchers believe, than Europe at that time.
Then, the majority of native Americans lived south of the Rio Grande. They were not wanderers with tepees; they built up and lived in some of the world's biggest, most opulent cities. Tenochtitlán, the greatest city in the aggressive military alliance best-known as the Aztec empire, may have had a quarter-million inhabitants - more than London or Paris. It glittered on scores of artificially constructed islands in the middle of a great lake in central Mexico. On first encountering this metropolis, the conquistadors gawped like yokels at the great temples and immense banners and colorful promenades. Hundreds of boats flitted like butterflies around the city's canals and the three grand causeways that linked it to the mainland. Long aqueducts conveyed water from the distant mountains to the city. Perhaps most astounding to the Spaniards, according to their memoirs, were the botanical gardens - at the time, none existed in Europe.
...Go read the rest this is a good one...
No wars, no raping and pillaging, no slavery, no endemic diseases, no death, no distruction, just a perfect world, unlike any other world that has ever existed anywhere.
Then came Whitey to &*^&^* it all up.
But let us also recall that N America once had horses, camels, and elephants. The Indians never learned to make use of these animals, but instead simply ate them. Horses, camels and elephants became extinct in N America due to over-hunting by Indians. Entire elephant herds would be stampeded off a cliff so that Indians could have dinner. This is not good wildlife management.
I teach my children that Indians were primitive stone age people who mis-used their environment, engaged in constant warfare, and thought bloody tortures were good public amusement. It helps balance the Disney Pocahantas image the public schools like to promote.
not a lie - but just like politicians - liars figure and figures lie.
The writer is mixing his civilizations, time periods and geographical locations to produce the desired result.
In parts of mexico, central america and in Peru - there were major civilizations with sophisticated systems that made europeans look like lower class savages ... but the civilizations did not necessarily co-exist at the same level at the same time and not in the same area.
But in North America especially north of the Rio Grande, the land was not like the jungles that supported the higher civilizations. It was a harsh land that did not support humans well. the forest were nowhere near the size and amount as they are today. the land did not and could not support even the smallest percentage of people it now provides for worldwide.
too tired - going to bed ....
The population was south of the Rio Grande.That is where the Spainards came. I was taught [I am 82] that the Spainard did destroy much of the civilization of what is now Mexico.
I will read the entire article and see what they say about what is now U.S.A.
And in that statement lies the solution
The whole scalping thing wasn't very good PR, either, nor was the indiscriminate slaughter of women and children.
My favorite story involves the nature-loving Cheyenne, who'd stampede buffalo herds off cliffs just to eat their tails (lots of tasty fat in their tails). The rest would rot.
Also, intelligent, gentle dolphins will attack whales and bite off their tongues and lips, and leave them to starve to death.
//please note, I'm a vegetarian without illusions about Mother Nature's true face
The Ohio mound builders disaster may have been disease through contact with europeans but it may also have been overpopulation, drought, flood or other unknown factors..
At any rate, a large civilization disappeared... and only tribes remained..
In the southwest, a large metropolitan civilization existed..
It's believed now that they practiced human sacrifice, and that they were finally "terminated" by those surrounding tribes..
The Gulf Coast tribes were destroyed by disease from the spanish as were the Aztec and others.. ( of course, they returned the favor, it's believed the Indians gave the Spanish syphillis in exchange.. )
There were some "cities" along the gulf, (esp. Texas and Louisiana) but they had pretty much disappeared by the mid to late 1600's..
The plains tribes had large "metropolitan" areas along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers..
They were decimated by contact with european settlers and no resistance to transferred diseases.. especially smallpox and plague..
There is some truth and some BS in the author's article..
Truth is the apparent fact of various signs of metropolitan civilization in North America as well as Mexico Central America and South America..
Truth is the massive agricultural projects that took place.. As to their success, we're not so sure about that..
BS is the supposed "stewardship" of the land..
Slash & Burn is not stewardship.. sorry..
Planned pastureland for Bison? Not likely..
Bison knock stuff down. Especially trees..
Any expansion of the prairies was probably a conjunction of Bison using young trees as "back scratchers" and local tribes harvesting wood for various purposes..
Prairies don't have a lot of trees, and I doubt the native americans were that selective in their own cutting..
All in all, the article is OK in the sense that it might cause interest in the subject and encourage some people to do some study on American Indian history prior to the arrival of european colonization movement..
I've also heard that cannabalism was also practiced although I could be wrong. Can anyone else confirm?
Dunno about that but I'm pretty sure that some practiced human sacrifice.
You forgot no sacrificing of virgins?!?!
Should simply tell the young one that the history of mankind is one of ceaseless slaughter and savagery in which the ground is soaked with the blood and entrails of the innocents. Then put together a movie night with the family featuring the Sorrow and the Pity, news footage from Pol Pot's Cambodia and the "best of" documentaries of primitive tribal practices. As she sits there wide-eyed in horror, quietly sobbing, you'll know you've done your job.
Native American ping..
Actually, if you took a genetic sample of the average Mexican, they would likely have more Aztec, Toltec, Olmec, Zapotec, Tarascan, etc. ancestry then they would Spanish.
You forgot to add blacks to the mix..
Some mexicans are black, some are white..
Some are "in between".. The proportions of "indian", black, and white vary greatly depending on location, history, etc..
Many Indians in Mexico would not consider themselves mexican but indian..
Many Mexicans would agree on the distinction and that is why there is so much political strife and violence, both by and against indians in Mexico..
a thriving, diverse place; a tumult of languages, trade, and culture; the home to tens of millions of people - more, some researchers believe, than Europe at that time.Waaaay back in the 1970s, in college, my Latin American history prof (among others) taught us about a number of population crashes that happened in Middle America (that's Mexico and Central America), most recently in the early 16th century, when Spanish-borne diseases cut through. The population of Mexico didn't reach that level again until the early 20th century (or so they taught us).
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