So why not?

Currently reading a kid’s history book about the Red Indians. Published in US in late 19th cent. On the basis that why not really, there’s some fun stuff to be found in the freebies on Kindle.

And I find out that wampum really was a thing, not just a movie line (“Heap big wampum!”). Sort of a worked sea shell, a little but not very like cowrie and used as money like cowrie. Also that everyone was very well aware that the Plains Indian lifestyle had been massively changed by the arrival of the horse, also that there was constant internal migration. Those claims of having been in a place forever are bunkum.

Finally, that there was a tribe called the Winnebagoes. I like that, out on the plains they were, following the buffalo in their RVs.

20 thoughts on “So why not?”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    Link?

    Why not indeed. After all, a hundred-years-old children’s book on the Red Indians is likely to be more accurate, more honest and more scientific than anything produced by any Anthropology Department you care to name.

    Before the US went into Afghanistan, or Iraq for that matter, they should have read the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica.

  2. After all, a hundred-years-old children’s book on the Red Indians is likely to be more accurate, more honest and more scientific than anything produced by any Anthropology Department you care to name

    Hmm?

    I think it more likely that unquestioned wibble from then (eg. the great General Custer) has been replaced by different unquestioned wibble (noble savage living in harmony with nature)

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    TDK – “I think it more likely that unquestioned wibble from then (eg. the great General Custer) has been replaced by different unquestioned wibble (noble savage living in harmony with nature)”

    I think Deconstructionism has hit Anthropology hard. So there are no facts. Just texts and the people interpreting them. Who are, of course, crippled by their racist Whiteness to the point they cannot hope to begin to understand another culture. And it would be Orientalism if they tried. Think what anthropology would be like if Rusty was in charge. Actually worse than that, if that is even possible – people who think Rusty is Ecks.

    Wibble would be an improvement.

  4. I did the opposite to this.

    Read an adult book on the Red Indians while I was a child which was given to me by a US exchange teacher seconded to the UK: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

    It had a profound effect on me, but I can’t claim to know how objective and accurate it was.

  5. “Those claims of having been in a place forever are bunkum”

    Don’t these claims revolve around being indigenous to NOrht America, rather than tied to a single spot of land? In which case they have a point (probably hugely magnified by politicking and trolling).

    If you want a very fascinating introduction to the Americas before 1492 and the effects of European contact, then read 1491 by Charles Mann. Very well reviewed by experts in that era.

    The herds of bison in the plains the Europeans encountered…? Didn’t exist before in that quantity before European contact. Who knew?

  6. “Didn’t exist before in that quantity before European contact.” Fascinating. Why was that?

  7. I think we’ve found a distinction.

    “Red Indians”: this book might contain facts, however sentimentalised.

    “Native Americans”: this will contain sentimentality alone.

  8. It had a profound effect on me, but I can’t claim to know how objective and accurate it was.

    I think that book has a profound effect on everyone. I also don’t know how objective and accurate it was, but it certainly came across as both.

  9. “Plains Indian lifestyle had been massively changed by the arrival of the horse,”

    Amid it also ci hanged the balance of power, which vaulted a branch of the Shoshone to unquestioned rule over much of the SW US as the Comanche. Their fierceness and prowess with the new technology (horses) allowed them to expand into Apache territory and force the Amache to leave. It so worried Mexico that it gave generous land grants and tax abatements to intice white settlers from the US to move into Texas, to serve as a buffer between Mexico and the Comanche nations. In turn that led to the the Mexican War, the battles at the Alamo and San Jacinto, the independence of Texas and ultimately to the annexation of Texas into the US. That of course is part of a history that reverberates in the American Southwest to this very day.

  10. De Tocqueville has a chapter or so on the indians. One of the more memorable bits I thought.

  11. “out on the plains they were following the buffalo in their RVs”

    Well obviously.

    How else did the climate warm up during the 19th century?

  12. First Nations is now the appropriate term.
    I’ve seen some dispute over the land bridge from Europe crossing claim as they have been here since time immerorial, quite what the difference is between that and 5,000 years I’m not sure.

  13. Thanks to this post I now know what cowrie is sort of like but not really. The difference is a book I read as a lad described wampum but I don’t recall any that used cowrie.

    BniC,

    I assume you mean the land bridge from Asia to Alaska. I’ve not come across any land bridges from Europe that went further than the English Channel.

  14. Bloke in Costa Rica

    They didn’t spring up like mushrooms after a rainshower. Everyone came out of Olduvai. If I’m not wrong, the inhabitants of the North American continent by the time the Europeans turned up were the third wave of colonists. The previous two populations got displaced (in other words, ethnically cleansed) down into South America and Mesoamerica. It is unlikely this displacement was a tranquil process.

  15. Yes the Alaska bridge

    BiCR that’s considered by some to be a colonialist view that just exists to undermine the rights of the First Nations. The other phrase you see a lot is ‘unceded territory’
    Interestingly the US govts has border exemptions for native Americans on the basis that they were there before the border, Canada doesn’t have a reciprocal right

  16. Bloke in Costa Rica

    BniC, I suppose it’s their prerogative to ignore everything we know about palaeoanthropology and it’s equally our prerogative to tell them not to be silly cunts.

  17. So Much For Subtlety

    John Fembup – “Amid it also ci hanged the balance of power, which vaulted a branch of the Shoshone to unquestioned rule over much of the SW US as the Comanche.”

    There is a rather good book on this subject by a Finn called Pekka Hamalainen (but with umlauts on all the “a”s). What is more interesting about this defence of terrorism, slavery, extortion and imperialism is that the author openly defends it. It seems all those things are just peachy if done by non-Whites or better yet non-Whites who fight Whites.

    As if we did not know that already.

    Bloke in Costa Rica – “I suppose it’s their prerogative to ignore everything we know about palaeoanthropology and it’s equally our prerogative to tell them not to be silly cunts.”

    Which is fine right up to the point that they make saying so a Hate Crime and will not merely deny you tenure but actually seek to have you jailed for saying so.

    Look what they tried to do to Napoleon Chagnon.

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