Post Reply
Switch to Forum Live View What if Europeans never came?
3 years ago  ::  Aug 23, 2011 - 10:55PM #1
Nabi
Posts: 31
When I visited my Lakota friend Alex a couple of months ago I brought him a book about Teotihuacán, the Aztec city of Mocteczuma conquered by Cortez. I told him that it looks like there is some religious and linguistic connection between the Aztecs and Lakota in that both share the idea of sacredness in the term "Wakan" which in Nahuatl is spelled "huacan" ("The name Teōtīhuacān was given by the Nahuatl-speaking Aztec centuries after the fall of the city. The term has been glossed as "birthplace of the gods."-Wikipedia)

What would have happened if the Europeans hadn't come to the Americas? The Aztecs were well on their way to following the historical footsteps that led in the Old World to the founding of civilizations. The Aztecs were also a very scary bunch as they not only grew by capturing and enslaving non-Aztecs villages, they seem to have used captives for food as well. Given their superior organization and growing armies how long would it have taken Aztecs to move northward and build empire? The modern "Aztecs", Mexican-Americans are not content to stay in Mexico so it would seem likely the Aztecs wouldn't either. So, which would have been worse for Native American tribes, conquering by Europeans or conquering by Aztecs? Or does this seem too far fetched?
Quick Reply
Cancel
3 years ago  ::  Aug 29, 2011 - 11:34AM #2
wohali
Posts: 10,227

Nabi:


"What would have happened if the Europeans hadn't come to the Americas?"


That is a great game of "What If".


"The Aztecs were well on their way to following the historical footsteps that led in the Old World to the founding of civilizations."


We already had "civilizations" in the Americas. Besides the Mexica/Aztec, there was the Mayan, Olmec/Toltec, Moundbuilders, Iroquois, Pacific Northwest, etc.. Just because Indians didn't do everything in the same fashion as our European, Asian, Middle Eastern, African relatives, doesn't make American civilizations any less viable.


"The Aztecs were also a very scary bunch as they not only grew by capturing and enslaving non-Aztecs villages, they seem to have used captives for food as well.


I wouldn't go touting a questionable hypothis as some sort of fact. As I recall, the idea that the Mexica were cannibals is largely the work of Harner.


"Given their superior organization and growing armies how long would it have taken Aztecs to move northward and build empire?"


Given the lack of draft animals and rather formidible terrain, probably never. Look at the great armies of Europe and Asia and follow invasion routes.


"The modern "Aztecs", Mexican-Americans are not content to stay in Mexico so it would seem likely the Aztecs wouldn't either."


Well, since European Americans have flooded everywhere, who are the ones not content to "stay at home"?


"So, which would have been worse for Native American tribes, conquering by Europeans or conquering by Aztecs?


First, the Aztecs, more properly the Mexica, are a native American tribe. And we already have our answer on that one. You fail to take into account the Europeans most deadly weapon: diseases.


 "Or does this seem too far fetched?"


Not at all.

Quick Reply
Cancel
3 years ago  ::  Aug 29, 2011 - 6:22PM #3
Nabi
Posts: 31

Thanks, Wohali, for your thoughts. One of the things prominent in our travels into Northern Cheyenne and Lakota lands was the still smoldering resentment against white people seen there unlike tribes here where I live in California who actually were devasted by genocide in the California Indian Wars to a much greater extent than the Plains tribes even including the Sand Creek massacre which was matched in numbers here with the Indian Island massacre not very well known. Tribes were completely wiped out here and the tribe I've been working with is a composite one made up of survivors of two tribes out of six original ones. But unlike Lakota Indians here are plugged into the way things have happened and the resentment level isn't nearly as high. Reminds very much of my Jewish brethren's obsession with the Jewish holocaust. In theory I should be able to relate to Native American hatred to some extent seeing as how my Ashkenazim relatives in Poland and other European countries fared but I guess I just came in too late to be able to manufacture resentment against Europeans doing what we did as I just see this as the inevitable spreading of human beings across the world, the ones who can invading and taking over other people's lands as before the 20th century military might ruled everything and there was no protection of indigenous populations. It doesn't make it right of course but actually the forced unification of Native Americans against the European system inflicted on them might in the end be a good thing--tribal warfare was a constant factor in non-industrialized tribal communities. I don't know..I have hopes and dreams of a new natural civilization paradigm emerging from the meeting of Old World with New. My own radical Christian spiritual path has beem following this trail now for the past 13 years. We shall see..

Quick Reply
Cancel
3 years ago  ::  Aug 29, 2011 - 7:01PM #4
wohali
Posts: 10,227

Nabi, I find it curious that you find the resentment "manufactured".


Young men have the time and inclination to be a good deal angrier than old men. This works no matter what group one belongs to.

Quick Reply
Cancel
3 years ago  ::  Aug 30, 2011 - 9:38AM #5
Nabi
Posts: 31

What I meant was that by my generation where my mother's Jewish Ashkenazim ancestry was subsumed into Gentile history I was raised Gentile and without forming any Jewish resentment against the perpetrators of the European holocaust. To do so for me would take an effort I'm not capable and wouldn't ring true in any event because at this point in time I'm thoroughly assimilated into Gentile European-American history. This distance in generations from the actual people who experienced the genocide and the difference between Californian and Lakota attitudes towards past harm is what I was curious about.

Quick Reply
Cancel
3 years ago  ::  Aug 30, 2011 - 3:31PM #6
wohali
Posts: 10,227

Walking in two worlds does inject certain modifiers into one's worldview. Lakota folks are often more segregated from the dominate culture than California Indians.

Quick Reply
Cancel
3 years ago  ::  Sep 05, 2011 - 12:47PM #7
Reach6
Posts: 106

A lot of us, whose families were imported to the American shores, were coming here because of desparate conditions in our countries of origin.   Before the days of the large ships that meant we were limited  in distance travelled by how far our horse or feet could take us.  Most European  countries still have divisions of the population due to wars, starvation, etc.  These determined, for centuries, what kind of people you met, communicated with, married.  My grand parents had parents in Germany who would never have met each other had their families stayed in Germany.  My grandmother's family were poor farmers in the south and my grandfather's family were rich merchants, in the north.  When they came to America, they were called just "Germans".  And so, the cultural taboos no longer held sway.  (Thanks, folks, whew!) Maybe the division of ideas differ, among the Indian population, for similar reasons?  (Californians were exposed to more differing cultures and people because of the nearness to the sea and ships.  Plains Indians kept more of their traditions since they were more land-locked, thus less exposure to other people?)  Just a thought.

Leslie (Reach 6)
Quick Reply
Cancel
3 years ago  ::  Sep 06, 2011 - 3:08PM #8
wohali
Posts: 10,227

Reach6, interesting post. Of course, there is so much affected that most of us don't consider when considering such things.


The last line of your post is my thought. To this day, California Indians see a much wider variety of folks than say people on the Rosebud or Wind River.

Quick Reply
Cancel
3 years ago  ::  Sep 11, 2011 - 9:24PM #9
Bunsinspace
Posts: 5,922

BS"D


Reach, I understand your working theory about Plains NDNz, but I would like to point out for at least the Blackfoot nations that international trade did occur - not so much as the permanently settled coastal nations but the evidence of the trade exists nevertheless.  Interestingly it is on the rivers and the Great Lakes areas that one finds the lion's share of archaeological evidence of the international trade between the nations of Turtle Island and those of other continents moreso than the coastal areas largely because the coastal areas were the first to be attacked and subsumed by non-NDN peoples.  (This is not to mention the various European artifacts maintained by native peoples and nations to this very day.)


Nabi, a phenomenon I'd like to mention on how the Blackfoot nations directly on both sides of the border of the USA and Canada had subsumed their anger was the adoption and integration of Catholicism into their own indigenous culture.  This syncretism allowed the Blackfoot to refocus their national anger and resentment toward the European invaders into channels normally used by non-NDN peoples and became a path to a certain level of commonality as well.


Personally I find the present-day appearance of the legacy of the Blackfoot (forced) adoption of Catholicism to be akin to non-NDNz donning feathers, but that is me and I am in the extreme minority.  Meanwhile I do see the way it helps to ameliorate the historical tensions you are describing.

Quick Reply
Cancel
 
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing
    Advertisement

    Beliefnet On Facebook