American Elephants

Happy Columbus Day: Check Your Local Public Library! by The Elephant's Child
October 11, 2021, 12:04 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

In October, 1991, National Geographic published a special issue titled “1491 America Before Columbus“. You can probably find it at your public library, depending on the library. I’ve saved my copy because it is fascinating.The “Report from the Editor” begins: “To Native Americans the European concept of “Discovery of the New World” is both ludicrous and insulting. “We were here for about 15,000 years before you showed up,” a Algonquin friend in Massachusetts once chided me.

He is right, of course, What many refer to grandly as the Age of Discovery was in fact the Age of Collision — an era of confrontation between cultures and continents from which neither the Old nor the New World ever recovered. It sounds as if National Geographic went on to further explore the “pre-discovery era” in further issues, but I was not a subscriber. The title page divides the issue up into “Origins”, “the Land”, “Ozette”, “Etowah”, “Otsungo” and “Pueblo”.

Ozette is here on the coast of Washington State. The Ozette Archaeological Site was discovered in the winter of 1969-70 when a storm caused the bank at the village to slump, exposing preserved wooden artifacts. (Closed at present because of Covid.) but you can look it up online, and put it on your list of things to do someday. We lived in Phoenix for a few years, and visited the Pueblo country thoroughly, and most enjoyably, which I also recommend highly.

Addendum: I chose an American native bison to illustrate the post because we too often don’t recognize the differences about America. This guy is still shedding his winter coat, he’ll rub up against trees trying to get rid of the extra fur, and once he’s back down to his normal undercoat, start slowly growing his next winter coat. Recently saw a video of a buffalo stampede taking place somewhere around Yellowstone.

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