–written by Kanien:kaha’ka
“compare natives pre contact with europeans at the same period in history, the 15th century.
europeans got the wheel from the persian culture just as they got gunpowder from the chinese, glass from the sumerians and many other things. north america did not have these other cultures on the same land mass and so was more isolated.
contrary to popular belief, we were not in a constant state of war therefore did not have the necessity of inventing better weaponry all the time. europe was constantly being invaded by one culture after another (another reason things like gunpowder etc were co-opted for lack of a beter word). our weapons suited us fine and were used primarily for hunting.
our homes were varied and ideally suited to the lifestyle and environment of the nations. plains nations who followed herds of buffalos had “mobile homes”, easily packed up and moved and easily put up again. anyone who has been on the plains in winter knows it is cold windy and snowy. tipis are able to withstand all of them plus you can build a fire in them and the shape and construction of the home pulled the smoke upwards. (think shape of cooling towers of nuclear power plants and chimneys, creating updrafts).
other homes were suited to the environment as well. my nation in the northeastern usa and canada used permanent homes as we were not nomadic. our homes were made of wood and could be up to 200 feet long and 2 stories tall. we farmed and hunted. we did not domesticate animals because of our beliefs and how we see the world and our place in it. very unlike the european of the time.
agriculturally we were superior. today 70% of the worlds crops originated in pre contact americas, including the potato (hundreds of varieties were cultivated in south american and later north america), corn, which was cross pollinated to produce varieties able to withstand different climates, tomatoes, wild rice, etc (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_World_Crops)
we understood crop rotation and the importance of leaving ground fallow and fertilization as well as the medicinal uses of thousands of plants etc.
we had complex forms of governments. the haudenasaunee people’s confederacy served as the model and inspiration for the usa constitution.
many of our cultures were matrilineal and women and men shared power and duties equally. our women had equality thousands of years before european women would begin to fight for their own equality. in fact, it was native women who inspired them to do so.
the idea that europe was so advanced and the americas so primitive is a fallacy. europe at that time had poverty, frequent famines, and plagues. the americas did not have these things pre contact, in part because of our knowledge.
this is not an attempt to slam europeans and their descendants but it is time the lies and misconceptions about life here in the americas before europeans arrived, be laid to rest. there was a reason so many people wanted to leave europe to come here.”
–written by Kanien:kaha’ka