American Elephants

Save Our National Holidays! by The Elephant's Child

In this politically correct age, there are those who want to insist that Europeans conducted some kind of “genocide” on the Native Americans.  This is nonsense.  As are most of the stories we learned in grade school when we cut out feathers and pilgrim hats from construction paper.

The pilgrims wore bright colors according to what dyes they could obtain. The Native Americans had been decimated by disease long before the Pilgrims arrived.  The story about “smallpox blankets” is bogus.  And neither Native Americans nor Europeans had the slightest notion of carrying diseases.  If you remember some history, you would note that plagues and diseases were thought to be brought by God, or spread by witches, who also made cows miscarry and deformed babies to be born, and caused floods and storms as well.  It was a while yet before we discovered inoculation, and then we inoculated the Native Americans too.

Charles C. Mann’s book 1491 linked in the post below, is an excellent introduction to recent scholarship that has altered what we know, or thought we knew, about the history of the Americas. A new generation of researchers equipped with novel scientific techniques have come to previously unheard of conclusions.

Native Americans transformed their land so completely that Europeans arrived in a hemisphere already massively ‘landscaped’ by human beings.

The earliest cities in the Western Hemisphere were thriving before the Egyptians built the great pyramids.

In 1401 there were probably more people living in the Americas than in Europe.

There is a “Dances With Wolves” mindset that needs a good dose of serious corrective reading.  Back when that movie was fairly recent, there was a debate going on on talk radio about the propriety of a new beer labelled with the name of a famous Native American chief. There was the general problem of alcoholism on Indian Reservations, and the disrespect for the memory of the chief.  A woman called in and spoke knowledgably about the Sioux and the chief, and went on at some length. The host eventually inquired if she was a member of one of the Sioux tribes.  She replied, “Well, not in this life.”

I’m not sure what it is about contemporary society, but some people are anxious to spoil all our holidays.  There are the Christmas scrooges who detest the gift-buying, those who hate the merchandising and the grouches who didn’t get what they wanted for Christmas when they were kids. The Thanksgiving spoilers are animal-rights activists; vegetarians (some of whom settle for tofurkey) and the historical and religious ignoramuses.  They already spoiled Columbus Day, President’s Day and are working on the rest.  There’s no point in sitting in modern America, demanding that the past somehow be made more politically correct.  History is what actually happened.  It doesn’t change, only our understanding of it changes.

Pay them no mind.

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