Tag Archives | Native Americans

Fact Check: Native Americans and Alcohol

Fritz_Baumann_Trinker_1915As I grew up in a family of alcoholics with not terribly distant Native American roots, I heard a lot of things about North America’s indigenous people and alcohol. As it turns out, none of it was true. I never claimed any kind of American Indian identity, considering such disingenuous coming from a white guy from the suburbs who draws his heritage from plenty of sources both known and unknown. Anyway, here’s an interesting piece about Native Americans and alcohol, courtesy of Today I Found Out:

It is a sad truth that Native Americans suffer from alcoholism at rates far higher than those of other ethnic groups. While many causes likely contribute to this problem, some of those most commonly espoused, including lack of prior exposure to alcohol and genetic predisposition, are oft-repeated misconceptions. In fact, well before Europeans began to colonize the Americas, Native Americans were putting on a nice, polite buzz.

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Ancient Native American Rock Art Reflects Complex Cosmological Belief System

 

Pic: Credit: Jan Simek, Alan Cressler, Nicholas Herrmann and Sarah Sherwood/Antiquity Publications Ltd. (C(

Pic: Credit: Jan Simek, Alan Cressler, Nicholas Herrmann and Sarah Sherwood/Antiquity Publications Ltd. (C(

University of Tennessee researchers have discovered that North America’s prehistoric art depicts a complex religious and cosmological belief system:

It is likely some of the most widespread and oldest art in the United States. Pieces of rock art dot the Appalachian Mountains, and research by University of Tennessee, Knoxville, anthropology professor Jan Simek finds each engraving or drawing is strategically placed to reveal a cosmological puzzle.

Recently, the discoveries of prehistoric rock art have become more common. With these discoveries comes a single giant one—all these drawing and engravings map the prehistoric peoples’ cosmological world.

The research led by Simek, president emeritus of the UT system and a distinguished professor of science, is published in this month’s edition of the journal Antiquity. The paper is co-authored by Nick Herrmann of Mississippi State University, Alan Cressler of the U.S.

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What If European History Was Told Like Native American History?

european historyAn Indigenous History of North America inverts the norm by imagining a U.S. school textbook devoted to the intricacies of indigenous societies in the Americas, with a few paragraphs covering the history of Europe:

The first immigrants to Europe arrived thousands of years ago from central Asia. Most pre-contact Europeans lived together in small villages. Because the continent was very crowded, their lives were ruled by strict hierarchies within the family and outside it to control resources. Europe was highly multi-ethnic, and most tribes were ruled by hereditary leaders who commanded the majority “commoners.” These groups were engaged in near constant warfare.

Religion infused every part of Europeans’ lives. Europeans believed in one supreme deity, a father figure, who they believed was made of three parts, and they particularly worshiped the deity’s son. They claimed that their god had given humans domination over the earth. They built elaborate temples to him and performed ceremonies in which they ate crackers and drank wine and believed it was the body and blood of their god, who would provide them with entrance into a wondrous afterlife called heaven when they died.

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A Colloquy with COUN-HA-CHEE of the Miccosukee Tribe

During both my childhood and adolescence I read countless books—some historical, most fictional—on the struggle “Red Man vs. White Man,” always rooting for the designated loser, i.e., the Native American. Despite that, here in the US I never sought to meet with a Native American. It took the Editor-in-Chief of an Italian travel magazine to make me do just that. When I lived in Miami back in the Nineties, he asked me as a favor to write an article on the Miccosukee, of Creek descent, who dwell in South Florida’s Everglades. I drove out to meet with their public relations manager, who in turn directed me to their village. There, he introduced me to various members of the tribe, including a meek and serene man, a “promulgator of the Old Ways.” As it turned out, he came from a family of healers, or medicine men, as he himself called them.… Read the rest

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3,500 Year-Old Historical Monument Destroyed by Morons

Picture: Jproy2101 (CC)

“We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children” – Native American proverb

Petroglyphs look not unlike the hieroglyphs you see carved onto the walls of pyramids. They’re used to pass on the spiritual teachings of Native Americans from generation to generation. There are some etched on cliffs in the Eastern Sierra that have been there for more than three and a half thousand years. The region is known as Volcanic Tableland and it is held sacred by the Paiute-Shoshone tribe. According to The LA Times a gang of thieves have now, in a matter of hours, cut at least four of the sacred monuments down and successfully stolen them away. Apparently two others were seriously damaged and dozens more scarred with clumsy hammer blows and saw cuts. These monuments are some of the oldest treasures in the United States:

“The individuals who did this were not surgeons, they were smashing and grabbing,” U.S.

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Strange History: Did Native Americans Land in Ireland?

Another possible case of Pre-Columbian Trans-Atlantic travel?

Picture: Edward Curtis (PD)

Via Strange History:

One of the most dramatic pieces of evidence for a pre-Columbian crossing of the Atlantic is to be found in a single Latin marginalia, that is some words scribbled into the margin of a book. The sentence in question appears in a copy of the Historia rerum ubique gestarum by Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini which was published in Venice in 1477. In that work Piccolomini discusses the arrival of Indians in Europe blown from across the Atlantic at a date when America was unknown to Europeans (another post another day). Next to this passage a reader has written in Latin the following extraordinary words:

Homines de catayo versus oriens venierunt. Nos vidimus multa notabilia et specialiter in galuei ibernie virum et uxorem in duabus lignis areptis ex mirabili persona.

Keep reading…you’ll never guess who scribbled in the book.Read the rest

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