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During the Age of Discovery, the European discoverers wrongly called the inhabitants Indians, since they believed that they had reached India.
"Native Americans" was a term first used by supporters of nativism. One example was the Native American Party. In the 1960s, leftists and then US government started using the term as referring to Amerindians. This usage is etymologically problematic, since the word "natives" etymologically refers to everyone born in a particular place.
Origins and other possible early settlers of or journeys to the Americas
The current Amerindians originally originated from groups who emigrated from Siberia to the American Continent. In addition, there have been various theories of other emigrations or journeys to the Americas, before the Vikings (around 1000 AD) and later Christopher Columbus (in 1492).
There were several different waves of emigration from Asia. For example, the ancestors of the Inuit, the Thule people, arrived around 1000 AD and replaced earlier Amerindian settlers (see below).
Many of those who today identify as Amerindians have some degree of admixture with other groups.
The Solutrean hypothesis argues that Europeans were the first or among the first settlers. They are argued to have journeyed across the Atlantic, along the edge of the pack ice that extended from Europe to North America during the last Ice Age.
Recent studies have found a small Australoid admixture in some Amerindians. Such admixture may have occurred in Asia or after Amerindians had entered the Americas. However, another possibility is that Australoids were the first settlers of the Americas.
A 2010 article stated that "In total, there are now hundreds of skeletons with the cranial morphology similar to Australian Aborigines, found in seven sites–as far north as Florida in the United States to Palli Aike in southern Chile. [...] showed that it was not possible for the Aborigine-like skeletons to be the direct ancestors of the Native Americans. Nor was it possible for the two populations to share a last common ancestor at the time of the first entrance into the continent, they argued, based on the 57 cranial measurements that can be made on a skull."
Archaic humans groups
In 2017, evidence was stated to support the presence of (archaic) humans in the Americas 130,000 years ago, over 100,000 years earlier than previously thought.
"Even restricting ourselves to just North America, the list of such claims is long—though evidence is short—and includes: Celtic kingdoms in the northeastern United States thousands of years ago (Fell 1976); Coptic Christian settlements in ancient Michigan (based on the so-called Michigan Relics) (Halsey 2009); Roman Jews in Arizona (the Tucson Artifacts) (Burgess 2009); the Lost Tribes of Israel in Ohio (the Newark Holy Stones) (Lepper and Gill 2000); and strange mixtures of various ancient Old World peoples secreted in hideouts in the Grand Canyon in Arizona (“Explorations in Grand Canyon” 1909) and in a cave in southeastern Illinois (Burrows Cave) (Joltes 2003). These claims are predicated essentially on the same notion: ancient Europeans, Africans, or Asians came to the Americas long before Columbus and long—perhaps thousands of years—before the Norse".
Non-Amerindian "first settler" theories have been seen as having political implications, with some Amerindian tribes fearing that theories that the continent's first settlers were not the ancestors of the current Amerindians might cast doubt on their origin stories and claims to rights.
Claims of European Genocide
While the Amerindian population was greatly reduced in connection with the European contact, this was overwhelmingly the result of new diseases from the Old World, such as smallpox and other diseases which included measles, influenza, whooping cough, diphtheria, typhus, bubonic plague, cholera, and scarlet fever. The Amerindians had not developed genetic resistances to these for the Amerindians new diseases, which caused these diseases to be extremely deadly for the Amerindians, before such resistances evolved through natural selection. The Old World was also affected by diseases from the New World such as syphilis.
Tuberculosis has recently been argued to have reached the Americans before Christopher Columbus by being spread by seals. Similarly, "the disease that crippled Mexico may have been native to Central America. The invaders were equally affected and could not recognise the symptoms. The Aztecs did and they had given it a name long before the Spanish arrived because it had already dramatically reduced their numbers. They called it Cocoliztli and biologists today identify it as a form of Ebola spread by rats."
There have been claims that Europeans deliberately spread smallpox by using contaminated blankets. A prominent supporter of this was Ward Churchill, former professor of ethnic studies, who was fired in 2007 after an investigation concluded that he had engaged in research misconduct.
Genocide of the Indians was never the policy of the US army or government. After independence, it was American policy, starting in 1801 by order of President Jefferson, to vaccinate Indians against smallpox.
"there is a small academic industry devoted to inflating the population estimates of Pre-Columbian America. If evidence can be found that tens of millions of healthy, happy Indians were living on the continent before the white man arrived, then the reduction of their numbers through warfare and disease can be made to seem all the more heinous. The High Counters, as Mr. Henige calls them, pore over ancient accounts, pick the most exaggerated population estimates they can find, and solemnly pass them along as wholly credible. [...] If, by whatever means, the High Counters can gin up enough pre-Columbian Indians, they can then trot out the great, anti-white totem word, “genocide,” when they talk about the legacy of Columbus."
See also the "External links" section on various criticisms of the allegations of a genocide by Europeans.
Historical Amerindian warfare and violence
A 2011 article in History Today stated on the Aztec Empire that "Defeated soldiers were not killed on the battlefield, but captured and returned to Tenochtitlan for sacrifice. The Aztec rulers were convinced that the end of the world was nigh and butchered thousands to appease the gods. This was a culture obsessed with death: they believed that human sacrifice was the highest form of karmic healing. When the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan was consecrated in 1487 the Aztecs recorded that 84,000 people were slaughtered in four days. Self-sacrifice was common and individuals would pierce their ears, tongues and genitals to nourish the floors of temples with their blood."
A 2005 article stated that "In recent years archeologists have uncovered mounting physical evidence that corroborates the Spanish accounts in substance, if not number. Using high-tech forensic tools, archeologists are proving that pre-Hispanic sacrifices often involved children and a broad array of intentionally brutal killing methods. [...] Indian pictorial texts known as "codices," as well as Spanish accounts of the time, quote Indians as describing multiple forms of brutal human sacrifice. Victims had their hearts cut out or were decapitated, shot full of arrows, clawed, sliced, stoned, crushed, skinned, buried alive or tossed from the tops of temples. Children were said to be frequent victims, in part because they were considered pure and unspoiled. [...] a pictorial account painted between 1600 and 1650 that includes human body parts stuffed into cooking dishes, and people sitting around eating, as the god of death looks on. [...] in carvings and mural paintings, he said, "we have now found more and greater similarities between the Aztecs and Mayas," including a Maya ceremony in which a costumed priest is shown pulling the entrails from a bound and apparently living sacrificial victim. [...] It's now a question of quantity," said Lopez Lujan, who thinks the Spaniards -- and Indian picture-book scribes working under their control -- exaggerated the number of sacrifice victims."
A 2018 article stated that "More than 140 children and 200 young llamas appear to have been ritually sacrificed in an event [...] While incidents of human sacrifice among the Aztec, Maya, and Inca have been recorded in colonial-era Spanish chronicles and documented in modern scientific excavations, the discovery of a large-scale child sacrifice event in the little-known pre-Columbian Chimú civilization is unprecedented [...] their chests were cut open, most likely to remove their hearts. [...] suggests that societies along the northern Peruvian coast may have turned to the sacrifice of children when the sacrifice of adults wasn’t enough to fend off the repeated disruptions wrought by El Niño. [...] the research team has discovered archaeological evidence around Huanchaco for similar, contemporaneous mass child-llama sacrifice sites [...] “This just may be the tip of the iceberg.”"
While the human sacrifices of Amerindians among the Mesoamerican societies are somewhat known to the general public, the media typically gives an idealized image of the ones north of this as being peaceful, before being attacked by Europeans, essentially hippies. However, northern Amerindians engaged in extensive warfare and ritual violence long before the European contact.
A 2004 article stated that "The torture of prisoners was indeed routine practice for most Indian tribes, and was deeply ingrained in Indian culture. Valuing bravery above all things, the Indians had little sympathy for those who surrendered or were captured. Prisoners unable to withstand the rigor of wilderness travel were usually killed on the spot. Among those—Indian or European—taken back to the village, some would be adopted to replace slain warriors, the rest subjected to a ritual of torture designed to humiliate them and exact atonement for the tribe's losses. Afterward the Indians often consumed the body or parts of it in a ceremonial meal, and proudly displayed scalps and fingers as trophies of victory."
A possible genocide of an Amerindian group by another Amerindian group was the disappearance of the Dorset people who lived in Canada. As the Thule people immigrated into the area, the Dorset quickly disappeared. The Dorset people are now extinct, with no descendants.
The American Declaration of Independence states in one of the reasons provided for independence: "He [the King] has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions."
Amerindian scalping had a double purpose: the mutilation would cause harm to the defeated enemy in the after-life, and battle trophies were proof of work well done.
In the United States during the nineteenth century, positive views of Amerindians as "noble savages" have been argued to have been directly proportional to one’s geographic distance from them. A seldom mentioned aspect of some widely publicized mass killings of Amerindians is that White participants included individuals who previously had had their families and friends raped, tortured, and killed by Amerindians.
The Amerindians are often depicted as having possessed a profound spiritual kinship with as well as living in harmony with nature. This has been argued to be partially based on fabrications and the real record on the environment has been argued to be mixed.
"Prior to its settlement by human beings, the Western Hemisphere had been the home of many species of large mammals. However, within a few thousand years of the arrival of humans many of these species (indeed, 32 entire genera) became extinct. Among the animals wiped out were the mammoths, mastodons, giant sloths, lions, saber-toothed tigers, and (most importantly) horses and camels. It seems likely that these animals, which had no previous experience of human beings, were all hunted to extinction in a relatively brief interval after the Paleo-Indians entered their territory. As a result, when farming arose in the Western Hemisphere (a few thousand years later), none of those animals was available for domestication."
"Several cultures of the New World underwent a rapid, severe decline, and in some cases we cannot trace this to external conquest. It has been conjectured that in some of these cases, the cities may have exhausted the resources of the region they were in. This suggests that the American Indians did not, in fact, understand that they needed to preserve their environment. The myth of the "noble savage" living in perfect harmony with his environment has its origin in wishful thinking, not history."
The Invented Indian
The book The Invented Indian criticized a wide range of politically correct views and activities involving Amerindians. One myth is that the Amerindians originally lived in idyllically egalitarian and even “non-sexist” societies. This was criticized as incorrect, since all tribal societies had well-defined and very politically incorrect sex roles. As for egalitarianism, the book argued that it is difficult for bare subsistence-level hunters and gatherers to have anything else, but as soon as some material surplus appeared, there were inequalities. The book wrote about the Tutchone of the southern Yukon, who lived on extremely harsh lands. Nevertheless, their society was divided into hereditary classes of rich, poor, and slaves.
Another criticism was of a large range of current official policies involving Amerindians in the North America. One is that various official bureaucracies involving Amerindians have long practiced race-based hiring and promotion. Although Indians are only 1/2 percent of the US population, they held 75 percent of the jobs at Bureau of Indian Affairs. Amerindian tribal leaders were described as often indistinguishable from Indian-affairs official bureaucrats. This caused various possible conflicts of interests.
When Amerindians are off the reservation, they have all the usual legal rights, in addition to affirmative action preferences. On the reservation, they are exempted from many taxes and laws, and entitled to a wide array of Indians-only health and welfare benefits.
The book, among many other topics, also criticized political correctness among of historians and ethnographers, who fear stating anything negative about Amerindian history, despite there being well documented practices such as cannibalism, infanticide, ritual torture, geronticide, slaughter of prisoners, slavery, and the like.
Claimed genocide of Amerindians
- Were American Indians the Victims of Genocide?
- The Non-Genocide of Northern Native Americans
- The charge: Fabrication
- Did the U.S. Army Distribute Smallpox Blankets to Indians? Fabrication and Falsification in Ward Churchill's Genocide Rhetoric
- The Smallpox-infected Blankets
- ↑ Wang S, Lewis CM Jr, Jakobsson M, Ramachandran S, Ray N, et al. (2007) Genetic Variation and Population Structure in Native Americans. PLoS Genet 3(11): e185. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0030185 http://www.plosgenetics.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pgen.0030185
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Hart, M. H. (2007). Understanding human history: An analysis including the effects of geography and differential evolution. Washington Summit Publishers.
- ↑ ‘Ghost population’ hints at long-lost migration to the Americas https://www.nature.com/news/ghost-population-hints-at-long-lost-migration-to-the-americas-1.18029
- ↑ First* Peoples. https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/first-peoples/
- ↑ Guess who first came to America? http://www.evoandproud.blogspot.de/2015/08/guess-who-first-came-to-america.html
- ↑ The first people who populated the Americas http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170328-the-first-people-who-populated-the-americas
- ↑ Did Australian Aborigines Reach America First? https://www.amren.com/news/2010/10/did_australian/
- ↑ Controversial study claims humans reached Americas 100,000 years earlier than thought https://www.nature.com/news/controversial-study-claims-humans-reached-americas-100-000-years-earlier-than-thought-1.21886
- ↑ Civilizations Lost and Found: Fabricating History - Part One: An Alternate Reality http://www.csicop.org/si/show/civilizations_lost_and_found_fabricating_history_-_part_one_an_alternate_re/
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 Were American Indians the Victims of Genocide? http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/7302
- ↑ Seals helped Europeans wipe out Native Americans. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11046891/Seals-helped-Europeans-wipe-out-Native-Americans.html
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Two Cheers for the Conquistadors. History Today Volume 61 Issue 3 March 2011. http://www.historytoday.com/tim-stanley/two-cheers-conquistadors Archive.is: https://archive.is/2ex57
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 http://www.amren.com/news/2016/10/noble-savagery/ Noble Savagery
- ↑ Brutality of Aztecs, Mayas Corroborated http://articles.latimes.com/2005/jan/23/news/adfg-sacrifice23 Archive.ls: https://archive.is/7yzt7
- ↑ Ancient Mass Child Sacrifice May Be World’s Largest https://www.amren.com/news/2018/04/ancient-mass-child-sacrifice-may-be-worlds-largest/
- ↑ North American Indigenous Warfare and Ritual Violence Edited by Richard J. Chacon; Rubén G. Mendoza. 2007. The University of Arizona Press. http://www.uapress.arizona.edu/Books/bid1872.htm
- ↑ New Study Offers Clues to Swift Arctic Extinction. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/29/science/study-offers-clues-to-arctic-mystery-paleo-eskimos-abrupt-extinction.html
- ↑ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2396760/How-Comanche-Indians-butchered-babies-roasted-enemies-alive.html
- ↑ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2010920/True-Grit-How-abducted-Texan-frontier-woman--abducted-aged-9--gave-birth-Comanche-Indian-commander.html
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 Ignoble Savages https://www.amren.com/news/2017/01/war-before-civilization-lawrence-keely-noble-savages-review/
- ↑ ‘The Merciless Indian Savages’ https://www.amren.com/news/2017/10/indian-savages-american-indian-wars-scalp-dance-thomas-goodrich/
- ↑ Were American Indians really Environmentalists? http://mises.org/story/2642