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Friday, January 07, 2005

Reflections on American Indian Culture

Patricia left an extended comment on the post Judeo Christian Ethics.
It would take too long to reply to all of her comment. That will await another day. But one of the many things she said got me thinking:
You said:
Patricia asks why we should go back to the English Founding Fathers, when there were American Indians here already. Her question implies that the culture of the Indians is equal to the Western Culture that supplanted it.

Actually, no it was not meant to imply that the culture of the indigenous peoples is equal to the Western Culture it was meant to imply that it mayhap was BETTER. ;)
These are people to whom this land belonged, they knew the cycle of the land, the cycle of the seasons. The land was fertile and provided what they needed, were it not true, then the "founding fathers" would have not ever come here seeking their riches and remained to pillage them well. But for the moment,let us remember it was NOT the British that came here FIRST.. it was the Spanish Conquistadores, looking for GOLD.. and with them they brought numerous plagues of illness to the indigenous peoples, they brought them liquor which to the Native peoples was death in a flask. They raped their women, killed their braves and stole their land.
Actually, in context, I said that I don't believe in multi culturalism, the idea that all cultures are equal. And despite the attempts of revisionist historians, Disney, and Kevin Costner with Dances With Wolves, the American Indians were not saintly tribes striding through pristine forests. The wars between Indian tribes were savage, with torture of captives a routine occurence. It continued with white captives taken from Colonial times right through the end of the 19th Century as well. You can read more about that here. This is not an indictment of the American Indian, but an example of the whole story of Indian culture. Something somehow left out in the rush to revisionism begun in the 1960's and continuing today. More on this topic to come in my reply to the Commentary Article. being featured on Evangelical Outpost.

1 comment:

  1. It is true, that the feudal ways of the Indian Tribes and Clans were by all means, seen to be brutal. However, I must respectfully submit, that it was still THEIR ways.

    These ways of tribal/clan feudalism were always the way of the Indigenous people. However, we must also consider that of the Tribes of the Americas the vast majority did not GO OUT looking for trouble. They took captive and did as Tribal Law dictated for the Invaders of their land and raiders to their rightful hunting grounds.

    It is, I think easier to condemn those ways sometimes, when we consider it through the 21st century eyes. We cannot do this when considering Ancient Tribal ways. One Must be able to enter into the mindset, the spirituality and ethnopsychology of the time period in order to see that though by OUR standards they may seem barbaric, to THEM it was merely tribal and bloodline ways.

    Once again, it still remains, that We were the invaders. When other tribes crossed into other's lands, it was with the understanding within.. it was to accomplish one of a few goals:
    1. To provide for their tribes needs of food, water etc..
    2. It was to count coup and earn one's merits within their own tribal system.
    3. It was to make war to increase their landholdings.
    Though history says that the third was actually the least reason for one tribe to invade another.
    Further, when they had decided that this was what needed to be done, the braves had also gone for long and long to Spiritual retreat (i.e. Vision Quest) and were more than prepared to meet the Great Spirit should it be their time to do so.