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The First People Every foot of what you proudly call America, not very long ago belonged to the Red Man. The Great Spirit gave it to us, there was room.

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Presentation on theme: "The First People Every foot of what you proudly call America, not very long ago belonged to the Red Man. The Great Spirit gave it to us, there was room."— Presentation transcript:

1 The First People Every foot of what you proudly call America, not very long ago belonged to the Red Man. The Great Spirit gave it to us, there was room enough for all his tribes; all were happy in their freedom. --Washakie, Shoshone chief 1878

2 The First Americans Who owns the land?

3 When Christopher Columbus… …Blundered his way onto the shore of a small island in the Bahamas, August 3, 1492, he met descendants of a people who had travelled from Asia anywhere from 15,000-40,000 years ago. OF THE TAINO INDIANS: "So tractable, so peaceable, are these people, that I swear to your Majesties there is not in the world a better nation. They love their neighbors as themselves, and their discourse is ever sweet and gentle, and accompanied with a smile; and though it is true that they are naked, yet their manners are decorous and praiseworthy.“ SADLY, HISTORY HAS SHOWN THAT THIS IDYLLIC MOMENT WOULD NOT LAST

4 Time to DEBUNK some popular MISCONCEPTIONS…

5 TRUE OR FALSE: American Indians lived in small, scattered tribes that rarely had contact with one another. FALSE: Well, that might have been the case in some tribes, but certainly not most. Important confederations and mighty empires might more accurately describe the majority of American Indian societies.

6 Two examples can help dismantle this misconception: 1. CAHOKIA: The capital city of the empire of the mound builders, it was located directly across the Mississippi River from what is modern St. Louis, Missouri Cahokia's population at its peak in the 1200s was as large as, or larger than, any European city of that time (upwards of 40,000 inhabitants), and its ancient population would not be surpassed by any city in the United States until about the year 1800 with Philadelphia.

7 The Aztec city Tenochtitlan Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés arrived in Tenochtitlan on November 8, At this time it is believed that the city was one of the largest in the world; compared to Europe, only Paris, Venice and Constantinople were larger. The most common estimates put the population at over 200,000 people.

8 When we saw so many cities and villages built in the water and other great towns on dry land we were amazed and said that it was like the enchantments (...) on account of the great towers and cues and buildings rising from the water, and all built of masonry. And some of our soldiers even asked whether the things that we saw were not a dream? (...) I do not know how to describe it, seeing things as we did that had never been heard of or seen before, not even dreamed about. —Bernal Díaz del Castillo, The Conquest of New Spain THE CONQUISTIDORES WERE STUNNED

9 True or False: The technological superiority of European settlers, from their firearms to their uses of horses, was the main factor in the forced relocation and destruction of many Native American tribes.

10 False: BY FAR Disease—mostly brought over from Europe—was the biggest contributor to the decline of the Native American influence in the Americas Widespread epidemic diseases like smallpox and influenza, which they had no natural resistances to, killed a low estimate of 80% (and, in many cases, well over 90%) of tribal populations. While it is virtually impossible to know these numbers for certain, modern population studies believe that the Pre-Columbian Native American populations may have been around 50 million people. That means the million who died from this continent-wide epidemic outnumber the European Black Plague (25 million) and rank it as one of the worst pandemics of all time.

11 Between the time of Columbus and the Pilgrims, 96 % of the Native Americans in Massachusetts had been killed by disease INTELLECTUAL CHALLENGE: What if 96% of the population of Phoenix were to die off? What family, social, economic, political issues would arise? What is the relationship of the survivors to the land they own? The responsibility? Now what if people from New Mexico started coming over looking for places to settle in the valley? Who owns the land? Consider both sides of the argument through these premises: Economic, political, sociological, psychological, religious/moral/ethical (fairness), practical, emotional, rational, legal, environmental, historical

12 Now, can anyone tell me why… We are learning about the history of Native Americans in the first week of an American literature class?


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