Native American Myths

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Arborethic, Oct 30, 2005.

  1. Arborethic

    Arborethic Well-Known Member

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    Nope, I am not referring to myths of Native American culture, but rather the myths concerning Industrial Liberal American perceptions of Native American culture.

    Before I begin, please allow me to present my 'credentials': My maternal Grandmother was/is a full blooded Cherokee. My paternal lineage is clearly linked to Pocahontas (no, she didn't marry Captain John Smith, but rather married the leader of a different settlement, John Rolfe in 1614). Her son, Thomas Rolfe was one of my progenitors.

    Since I was a child, I have been fascinated with pre-Columbian cultures, for obvious reasons. I have learned much of them directly from members of those varied cultures, along with my independent studies at the University of Texas, Texas A&M, Sul Ross University, Southwestern University, and other institutions of higher learning.

    Now, on to the meat of my comments....

    Upon this forum I have heard of the 'homesteaders' desire to live 'in harmony with Nature as the Indians did'. I defy anyone, everyone, to provide evidence that Native Americans lived in 'harmony' with nature! In point of fact, NO Native Americans lived in 'harmony with nature'! This is a myth of the first order!

    Native Americans exploited their environment as effectively, or as badly, depending upon one's point of view, as any other aboriginal culture. They had ONE goal: SURVIVAL! To that end, it was the norm for a small nomadic tribe (pre-equestrian), to stampede a huge herd of game animals over a cliff, even though they could barely consume ONE of such game animals in any given day. Though they could dry meat and otherwise crudely preserve it, they wasted 99 out of 100 animals! They left those brutalized animals, many of whom were still alive, but fatally crippled, to the scavengers.

    I must also admit that my antecedents were no less cruel to their fellow human beings than any modern equivalent. My ancestors practiced, advocated, and instituted genocidal policies against their nearest competitors!

    More distant relatives, such as the Aztecs, murdered their own populations in the hundreds of thousands. As the Azteca culture collapsed, fringe tribes, such as the Comanche and Apache rose to ascendancy to confront the Western European expansion into their territories.

    But, long before the Aztecs ruled the Southwest, we had the 'Nameless Ones' present. Currently, those educated in pre-columbian cultures believe that these Bering Strait Bridge original inhabitants dominated the open plains and woodlands of North America. We now attribute the extinction of the American camel, horse, sloth, cave bear, and many other species to them. However, there came a SECOND wave of Bering Strait Bridge immigrants. Except for a tiny population of first wave immigrants located in Terra del Fuego (the Land of Fire) at the furtherest tip of South America, no others survive. DNA studies of this tiny population confirm their unique stature within American history. The second wave of BSB immigrants essentially wiped out the first wave. Current anthropological excavations dramatically point this out.

    But, back to my most recent relatives... There was no 'noble savage'. That was an ideation proposed by the popular media of the time, and much later by Hollywood. 'Nomadic' was a condition imposed by the factors of exhausting local game. If local game became too scarce, the quite common alternative was to enact GENOCIDE upon the surrounding competitors...namely, other Native Americans.

    American ecology was radically altered by both the 'nomadic' and later 'horseman' tribes in North and South America. Both north and south produced some interesting cultures, but each was as exploitative as current Western European cultures. But the main difference between the two cultures was Western European recognition of 'overloads' upon the environment. My ancestors never realized there was a problem until very late in the cycle. They were unable to cope effectively with new cultural challenges, so they declined, just as did the 'old ones', before them

    Please feel free to discuss my opinions in a forthright, respectful, manner...as I will discuss your opinions.
     
  2. WolfWalksSoftly

    WolfWalksSoftly Level II -Inappropriate

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    Keep in mind, History is always written by the Victors. There are many holes in these theories and some truths as well.

    I'm suprised that the Native Americans and Wildlife were able to survive on their own all of those Centuries with the little knowledge and understandings of things.

    But in the course of 400 years and less, many Tribes became non-existant and others populations decreased dramatically. In the course of 50 years or less, Buffalo became almost extinct,not because of poor managment on the NA part.

    As late as the Lewis and Clark Expedition, in their diaries, it was stated how abundant the Wildlife was.
     

  3. Matt-AL

    Matt-AL Wannabe Farmer

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    They couldn't impact the environment as much as Europeans because they lacked the technology. Stone tools can only do so much.
     
  4. norris

    norris Well-Known Member

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    We live in the age of "political correctness". With such a cloud of intellectual dishonesty lingering overhead, one must learn to read between the lines. I'm part Indian myself, but do not fall for this foolishness.
    Here in Texas most of the original Indian tribes were cannibals, yet children who go through public schools do not even know this, having been directed to feel guilty towards them.
    No doubt many of the settlers and pioneers commited cruel acts against Indians, but Indians themselves practices torture against captured members of other tribes as well as settlers almost every chance they got.
    The greatest myth is that Indians were here and "owned" this land before we "stole" it from them.In reality, Europeans were here 7000 years ago and were most likely exterminated by these "noble savages".

    http://www.harbornet.com/folks/theedrich/hive/Kenn-Man/Kennewic.htm

    http://www.newnation.org/NNN-kennewick-man.html

    All men, regardless of ancestry have the capacity for as much savagery as is useful for survival. When push comes to shove, concepts of morality become of distant secondary importance to survival. The history of the world is one of tribe against tribe, raiding, conquest, pillaging and so on. It is downright silly to suggest that European descendants should feel guilty and others should be immune from scrutiny.
     
  5. longrider

    longrider Southern Gent

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    well cuz! I too come from the same stock...it is interesting to find someone, anyone who knows who the Rolfe's are. I have a cousin who researched this lineage at length.



    Before I begin, please allow me to present my 'credentials': My maternal Grandmother was/is a full blooded Cherokee. My paternal lineage is clearly linked to Pocahontas (no, she didn't marry Captain John Smith, but rather married the leader of a different settlement, John Rolfe in 1614). Her son, Thomas Rolfe was one of my progenitors.
     
  6. Arborethic

    Arborethic Well-Known Member

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    Part of the reason the bison were nearly exterminated might be found in Native American culture being inflexible and unable to adapt to new challenges. Indirectly, their inability to work cooperatively intratribally and intertribally, contributed to their own problems.

    Native Americans also seem to have had their share in the extinction of several dozens of species on this continent, well before Western Europeans arrived.
     
  7. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    At last count, a few years ago, there were more than 250,000 Americans related to Pocahontas; my wife is among them; and our five children; and our 12 Grandchildren. That's like one out of every 1000 Americans.

    There are no few Native American writers who say they have never met anyone white person from the south whose maternal Grandmother was not a full blooded Cherokee; my wife is among those who had a Cherokee grandmother; me too. These same writers say they have never met a white person from the south whose paternal grandfather was a full blooded Cherokee.

    On whether Native Americans were industrious; they were not Europeans, but they did what they had to to survive. I have heard it said that white men call Indians lazy, but then white men never skinned a buffalo with a rock. The only real test to whether or not a Native American of the original sort was lazy would be to walk naked int the woods, live a few years without anything but self-made stone aged tools, and then come out and tell how easy it was.
     
  8. TexasArtist

    TexasArtist Well-Known Member

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    Since when is heritage credentials???? I think you worry to much about your "credentials". Heck you aren't the only person with native blood one this board and probably won't be the last. Heck my dad is Blackfoot and Lakota and some of this stuff your trying to pass off just won't set with alot of the folks I know. You say you learned alot from universities......sorry but from the things I've seen you post so far you seem to be a professional student with expensive peices of paper you want to wave in everyones faces saying "look at me, look at me!!!"

    The holes I've found in what your saying is that "The N.A.'s never really lived in harmony because they would run hundreds of buffalo off a cliff when they would only need one" Well how do you feed about 200 - 600 people with only one buffalo??? Because that's about the size of the nomadics groups would travel in. I can remember my grandfather telling me things he was told by his older relitives and how they would have to wait sometimes for about 3 or 4 days for them to pass because there were so many buffalo present. Also they were nomadics because of quite a few things 1) they didn't have flush toilets, you really want to live where hundreds of people have relieved themselves? 2) meat was not their only source of food. They also had berries, friuts, and veges of various sorts. Any gardener can tell you not all thing grow all year round in the same spot. 3) They moved with the seasons. They didn't want to stay where they knew 17 feet of snow would collect or where it would flood or be overly hot.
    On your university bridge over the bering straits thing. Natives know this is where Wakan Takan put us. We didn't cross some ice bridge. Alot of the university types like to say " oh this is a myth of these people over here" and everytime we tell you the straight truths that you can't except. Like the Doogan peoples of africa. They have a celebration every year with a dance showing where they come from. Some scientist kept telling them "oh no there's no stars there......we have never found it with our telescope" but 3 years later you all developed a telescope that was powerful enough to see such a thing and it wasn't "hey those guys were right and we were wrong". It became "Look what I found, I'm a great man for finding this, quick someone give me an award!"
    I think one of the main reasons that the non earth peoples world can't except what they are told by the earthways people is because they grow up learning lies as stories for their bedtime but the earthway people grow up hearing the stories of their people and how they came to be. From my mom I always heard "let me tell you a fable or story". From my dad I heard "I'm going to tell you of our family and our people" Two different veiw points.
    Would also like to ask if the Natives were killing the animals at such a high rate then why would the train industry put out advertisments saying "ride our trains and shoot buffalo right out your window" Hmmmm maybe because there were to many on the dang tracks?!?! I used to have have one of the origanal posters my great grandma gave me.
    By the way what exactly does this thread have to do with homesteading????
     
  9. Arborethic

    Arborethic Well-Known Member

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    You forgot the most powerful tool of precolumbian North America: FIRE!

    Fire was used as a hunting tool, and it devastated huge stretches of North America even when used in the most sensible manner possible. Open campfires were also wind whipped, and started fires that wiped out entire hunting territories.

    Fire was also used as a primary tool of primitive agriculture, which also resulted in wide spread ecological disaster.
     
  10. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

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    Let's get back to what Arborethic is saying...

    I thinnk the Native American's way of 'survival' was living in 'harmony' with the world around them, the best they knew how with what they had (tools, learning) at their disposal.

    Yes they slaughtered bison herds, but they knew no other way.

    What is needed in any discussion is, first, definitions of our words. That's for Arborethic to do as he brought up this topic. My definition of survival for the Native Americans, is stated above.

    I believe they were in a lot more in tune with their environment that what we are today. They gave thanks to their gods before major & minor happenings. Do we give thanks to the butcher, baker, candlestick maker?

    I think Arborithic gave his "credentials" because so many slammed him in an earlier post. It's his ideas that are interesting. Pro and con, lets stay with that & not get personal.
     
  11. Arborethic

    Arborethic Well-Known Member

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    My great-great Uncle Oather (Kentucky) did the same research over fifty years ago. He shared it with me when I was in my teens. After portions of my family reached Kentucky (1700s), some of us kept on driving westward. So there's a large branch of us in Texas, where I was born. I've also met a branch of the family in California and Oregon.

    You know, a Rolfe family reunion might require renting a fairly large state in order to house us all for a weekend reunion! LOL...
     
  12. Arborethic

    Arborethic Well-Known Member

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    There is a great deal of evidence to indicate that the last group of immigrants to North America ('Native Americans') were just one of a long series of small waves and 'trickles' from elsewhere.

    If I remember correctly, DNA from a tiny population in Terra del Fuego was directly linked to Polynesia, rather than directly to Asia.

    Young adults and subadults are frequently struck with wanderlust. With survival skills learned from infancy, it is not a stretch of the imagination to conceive them walking thousands of miles over the course of a few short years.
     
  13. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    to a point i agree with you, arbor.

    but no way did the populations of native people have the impact of white anglo-saxons invaders. the entire eastern seaboard was old growth forest. food was plentiful, so to "waste" a few bison didn;t matter a lot didnt take the colonial "terrorists" but about 200 years to totally wipe it out, except for a few pockets.

    the sheer numbers of invaders (who are most of our ancestors) and rampant out of control population growth, is what causes such an impact on this country. we were Ok until the advent of antibiotics. normal lifespan, no matter the culture, was roughly 45 years. many more people died, so there was a balance between what the land could support, and the numbers. that system fell apart about 100 years ago. it remains to be seen how the earth will take care of it. but take care of it, she will.

    my own childrens grandmother told stories of cherokee women, that were routinely given captives to torture, as they did a much finer job of it than the men. it's where the phrase, hold their feet to the fire came from.

    the part about native american life being romanticized is right on. makes me a little crazy when i hear people talking about it. life is short, cold and brutal. just not in most of north america.
     
  14. Pops2

    Pops2 Well-Known Member

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    Aborethic gets slammed because like a lot of college kids he's an opionated ass who thinks everyone who disagrees w/ the acedemias lies are fools. but like most he will probably outgrow it. from time to time some sound judgement creeps out in his posts so yeah i think he'll grow out of it.
    as for the land bridge, it is fairly common knowledge even in the acedemic community that it never happened on any large scale. in fact it is now known that sea travel was the primary method of entry. as for the First Nations being in harmony or noble savages that's all bull.
    perfect example the Micmac fought a war of extermination against the Boethuk in the northeast eventually driving the last of them into newfoundland, all for the purpose of gaining more fur hunting & trapping territory for trading w/ visiting anglo/french merchants in the 1500s. btw they devestated the furbears in that area purely for trade. so yeah Arborethic, they were not so very noble or harmonic.
     
  15. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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    LOL, that reminds me of the first time my father came to visit from Germany. I took him up to Canyon de Chelly, and he got to see Navajos along the way. Now, in Germany, there are of course no Indians, so the average German has this mental picture of movie and storybook braves and deerskin-clad maidens with teepees and spotted ponies. Anyway, my father expected to see lithe Pocahontas and what he got instead was massive women who generally wear thick glasses and never smile. He was crushed, LOL! I tried to sell him on the beautiful jewelry and rugs and hogan architecture, but his romantic notion was blown to bits and that was that.

    My own perception of "living in harmony with the land" kinda lost its literary luster when I saw the unbelievable dumps on both the Apache and Navajo reservations. 'Course, I'm only a dumb white girl, but dumping everything from shredded vinyl chairs to burger wrappers by the dozen outside your home seems to be at discord with any kind of harmony to me. And letting your trash blow across hundreds of miles of country to collect on the leeward side of a rotting horse carcass by the road doesn't seem overly harmonious either. I'm not questioning whether this is right or wrong or good or bad - it's none of my business -, but it did make me question the white definition of "living in harmony with the land" along with other such statements about American Indians.

    Every people has its own ways of doing things, and I'd think that it's their right to do it their way. It just gets messed up when one group idolizes or romanticizes - or ridicules or hates - another with total disregard of reality.
     
  16. DrippingSprings

    DrippingSprings In Remembrance

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    Whats with this guys fascination with Patric Stewart off of Star Trek?

    Aalso is it just me or is it rather convenient the ''recreation'' looks like the guy that made it if you put glasses and a beard on it? I do believe in kennewick but this guys is kinda out there if you know what I mean?
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Arborethic

    Arborethic Well-Known Member

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    Credentials are 'evidence or testimony' as to one's ability to speak upon a single subject. I offered my credentials not as an authority, but rather to give others a perspective upon my opinions. I grew up with two primary viewpoints upon Native Americans. The first was 'the only good Indian is a dead Indian'. The second was the Hollywood version of 'noble savage living in harmony with Mother Nature'. I, of course, suscribed to neither of those viewpoints. As to your other judgements concerning me, I'll ignore them and refrain from snide personal references aimed at you.

    As to the SUBJECT matter, aboriginal hunting methods were NOT in harmony with nature. I can think of no other predator that kills so profligately. Aboriginals don't 'manage' wildlife populations. They exploit them to the very best of their ability, and that overexploitation often resulted in forced nomadism. Fire and cliffs didn't allow them the opportunity to seriously effect migratory waterfowl, except for destroying migratory pathway foodstocks with burn hunting techniques. The extinction record of precolumbian America far out strips the extinction record held by that of post-Western European immigration.

    Native Americans didn't give a second thought to destroying animals just for fur to trade for crafts produced within their own tribes and from other tribes. When the fur trade was commercialized, they dived wholeheartedly into pushing several species to the brink of extinction. That was not 'harmony'. Nor was it 'harmony' ten thousand or more years earlier when Man grossly altered the wildlife population in North America.

    Now you seem inclined to judge such facts as accusatory or defaming Native Americans. It is not. It is simply the way it happened. Your 'noble savage living in harmony with nature' is a literary and Hollywood fabrication. However, they were quite adept at SURVIVAL. Survival often requires the sacrifice of a subordinate species. That is true of Man, and many, many other species.

    Some scientist kept telling them "oh no there's no stars there......we have never found it with our telescope" but 3 years later you all developed a telescope that was powerful enough to see such a thing and it wasn't "hey those guys were right and we were wrong".

    I'm not familiar with that. However, 'some scientists' must not have been very well grounded in astronomy. Perhaps they were anthropologists with only rudimentary familiarity with astronomy. EVERY astonomer I've ever met has always talked excitedly about the NEXT level of stars yet to be discovered, rather than deny the existence of what he cannot quantify! EVERY scientist knows that proving a negative is impossible. I might suggest that you've misinterpreted their responses, or are quoting a media personality that couldn't interpret the scientific response. What I suspect is that the response was 'we have yet to catalog that particular star', rather than denial of its existence.

    Would also like to ask if the Natives were killing the animals at such a high rate then why would the train industry put out advertisments saying "ride our trains and shoot buffalo right out your window"

    There were wild fluctuations within the North American wildlife population. Prior to the advent of the horse, nomadic territories were rather small. When the Horse Culture developed, there was a population explosion and a move by many from the wooded floodplains of banks of streams and rivers towards the plains, where the horse provided even greater hunter/kill ratios among the bison. That resulted in a population explosion for the plains tribes.

    Then, smallpox, measles, influenza, and other microbes caused millions of deaths within the Native Americans. Some authorities within epidemiology place those numbers in the tens of millions. Remove a large predator population and you will have an explosion in prey population. There was a simlar effect in European wildlife after the Black Death swept so many humans from the ecological scene.

    By the way what exactly does this thread have to do with homesteading????

    I stated that quite clearly in my original post: Upon this forum I have heard of the 'homesteaders' desire to live 'in harmony with Nature as the Indians did'. Simply put, basing one's life upon bad information can cause them to fail at their task (just witness all the 'pro-poacher' types in another thread!).
     
  18. Arborethic

    Arborethic Well-Known Member

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    Pops, I've NEVER called anyone a fool here. I have called some actions other posters related foolish. But I do not engage in personal attacks. I may be opinonated, but I do make an effort to approach and develop an opinion based upon facts, not my 'feelings'.

    BTW, you probably shouldn't lay much money on the line concerning me 'growing out of it'. It is not unlikely that I'm closer to your age than you might think. (I did a tour with the USMC as a Corpsman...'66-69) LOL...

    Over the last couple of decades, as you state, the land bridge/ice bridge theories have waned a bit, but will probably not be 100% discounted because SOME did undoubtedly arrive that way (artifacts do bear this out). However, what interests me is the alternative paths to North America, namely water craft. The Northwest coast, all the way up to Alaska, is revealing more and more evidence of aboriginal activity associated with the marine environment. Archeologists are now donning scuba gear and searching caves deep beneath the coastal areas. Ice sheets dropped the oceanic levels, then as the oceans rose afterwards, a tremendous amount of evidence was submerged.
     
  19. Arborethic

    Arborethic Well-Known Member

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    I don't think I need to define terms. I threw the subject out, along with my opinions, in order to get feedback. I am not, nor have I ever claimed, to be the final authority upon any subject. My opinions are seldom snap judgements. I tend to observe, read, and discuss things before arriving at an opinion. Due to my dual heritage, I've been facinated with this subject for well over forty years. I have even invested a lot of recreational time on several digs and learned a lot as a result.

    Thank you for your kind words and efforts to keep the information flowing and on track. I don't mind if someone disagrees with me. I don't get upset or mad. I try to provide facts to counter an opposing opinion. Unfortunately, some people interpret counter arguements as an 'attack'. Generally I ascribe such a response to a position that is poorly based and poorly thought out, which is why some people 'marry' their opinions and get so emotional when they can't support them. But it doesn't bother me one bit. Such a reaction informs me that my more factually supported position is likely to influence more people than the opposition.
     
  20. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Keep in mind ocean currents. If you were to launch a raft from say Florida and get into the Gulf Stream you (providing you survived the time it would take) will eventually drift to England. Thor Heyerdahl proved fairly convincingly you can sail a raft or papyrus (sp?) ship from the East Coast of Africa to the Caribbean. If you go out from SF and get into the ocean stream there you will eventually float down to Panana, then take a right towards the Hawaiian Islands. IMHO there is little doubt Europeans were in North America long before Columbus.

    Added: If you were to go out into the ocean steam from Japan in a junk and become disabled (demasted say), you can eventually drift down the West Coast of the U.S. If disabled junks may have done this, what about intentional voyages?

    On the NAIs, I have read a major cause of their decline was their concept of war. They were essentially one battle oriented. You go fight a good fight, make coop and then haul your goods (including slaves) home to party. The Europeans were trained in fighting campaign wars.

    For an excellent overview of the interface between NAI and Europeans read the series by Allan W. Eckert. Gateway to Empire is one. Wilderness Wars another. Don't remember other two titles. Read the footnotes in particular.