Newt Love: Were nDns Primitive Savages?
Please ignore the spelling and grammar errors.
Open your mind and listen with your heart
to mine telling you something I resonate
in truth with.
About the time when the Pilgrims stepped off the Mayflower, the Dakhota lived in permanent settlements along what are now called the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Where these two rivers meet is still called Portages des Sioux. These towns had democratically elected government, sturdy wooden structured dwellings and local police departments.
One group of the Dakhota had taken to nomadic life on the huge grasslands of Turtle Island. Their language altered to fit their new lifestyle, and some of the pronunciations changed. These Dakhota had become Lakhota.
The Lakhota travelled widely, and in the far south, they traded with the Spanish for horses. The Lakhota became one of the early adopters of horses on the great plains. Clever and adept in many things, the Lakhota were soon master horsemen, able to both hunt and fight on horseback. This gave them a great advantage over the other Red Nation people living on the great plains.
As the Europeans spread into Turtle Island from the east coast, the Lakhota and their cousins, the Nakhota moved west from the Missouri River. Their prowess as hunters and gathers made plenty of meat and other foods for their growing families. Their strength as warriors protected their growing numbers from outside attack. Many of the Red Nations who had lived on the great plains were forced to either become allies of the Lakhota / Nakhota tribes or to leave the plains for the foothills of the Rocky Mountains or lands further south.
The Europeans continued to spread west, even after the Lakhota / Nakhota expansion had slowed and stopped, settling into the northern lands of the great plains. Around 200 years after the Europeans had landed on Turtle Island, the "Americans" finally came upon the [DLN]akhota tribes, that they called "Sioux" from a Obijawe word that the French had shortened.
Who were these great indigenous warriors? From the Anglo-saxon and western civilization's perspective, they were a rag-tag group of primitive savages who needed to be subjugated and brought into the modern world.
The Anglos based that opinion on the fact that no indigenous people on the North American continent that they were conquering had invented the wheel. We nDns had no wheeled carts to carry our goods. We used drag stick litters tied to dogs to move our posessions. When we got horses, we called them "big dogs" and had them drag bigger stick litters. We were still chipping flint in our stone age, never having having had a bronze or iron age.
No wonder the Europeans thought we were ignorant savages. Besides the above, we hadn't invented forks and spoons and tablecloths, which the Europeans had had for around 500 years.
Wait! We can't let such an ethnocentric bash go unnoticed! Let's examine why we nDns of Turtle Island were still "in the stone age."
In Europe, and its antecedent cultures like the Greeks, business and commerce were important. Acquiring and keeping wealth drove a lot of thought. Sure, there was philosophy and religion, but it was often interwoven with that society's focus on personal wealth. Plato and Aristotle took a back seat to commerce.
An early use of Johannes Kepler's great intellect was the problem of how to properly determine the volume of wine in a barrel so that the proper amount could be charged for the purchase. Please see Example 2: Kepler's Wedding for the details.
This simple example illustrates the major difference between our Red Nation cultures and the European one. For over a thousand years, the best and brightest minds in Europe were devoted to business and commerce. This gave rise inventions to increase efficiency, like the wheel, wheelbarrow, and wheeled cart. Through time, it lead to the invention of machinery, including craftworks, siege engines, and factories.
Meanwhile, back on Turtle Island, our best and brightest self-selected to ponder the nature of God and the Universe. Our greatest minds pondered relationships, from human partners, families, and tribes, to how those groups fit into a harmonic existance with the rest of nature.
Europeans will decide that a road should be straight so travel will be efficient, and so cut a trail through a mountain and build the road. When the road-cut has a landslide the European trained engineers will send crews to clean the road-cut of debris, and resume the use of the road.
nDns would not presume to tell the mountain how to stand. If the mountain wants to spread out, it should. Who are we to decide what is proper and "supposed to be."
We nDns see white culture afflicted with a disease that makes you wake up each day and repeat to yourselves how the world should be, and then go forth to make it so. nDns wake up and examine the world they find, and determine how they should fit into it.
I had not realized how successful my dad had been at making me an nDn inside, even though I was raised off-Rez, until one day, at work, my whole department was in a team-building class. The instructor said "You know how it happens, you get to work and have to go to a meeting, when somebody stops you to talk. You know everything they are going to say, you've heard it all before... Even so, you have to stop and give that person a few seconds of contact and a promise to catch up with them later."
I looked around the room in shocked disbelief at the many heads nodding in agreement. This was so untrue! Then I realized, it was European thinking, and I thought like an nDn.
Just as a person changes from their youth to adulthood, so too do they marginally change overnight. It is our joyful task to greet the people we know, and discover what is different about them. Even if they say the same things they said yesterday, that indicates an overnight reinforcement of their beliefs. Everyone changes. The Buddists say you cannot step in the same river twice. I never meet the same person twice, even if I have known them my whole life. In small and yet important ways, every day, they are different, as am I.
We nDns were not stupid, nor primitive stone age barbarians when the Europeans bumped into us. We were highly evolved social beings with a value system that was radically different from the Europeans. We did not really believe in wealth the same way the Europeans did. The had developed geneology to help them maintain a proper accounting of wealth and title. We really didn't care a whole lot who somebody's forebears were; we cared about who they were/are, and where their life was/is going.
I am newt, Newton Love, and I speak only for myself.
nDns adopted modern technology quite well. Even though the US Army required that the sights be filed off the rifles they and others traded to the nDns, the nDns learned to shoot fine. Once they saw the whiteman canvas tarp tents, the hides on their tipis were replaced.
At the same time, when gold was discovered in the Black Hills, the white folks went wild, since gold meant money. To the nDns, it was all craziness. Even today, I wonder why gold should be worth about ten times silver. Aluminum and copper are more useful. Some of the price of metals is based on real utility, but most of it is perceived value by people.
Supply and demand. If enough rich people want a Ty Cobb baseball card, that old piece of cardboard is more valueable at market than any other old painted cardboard, which is usually worthless.
Diamond merchants have been able to convince women that a man should spend 4 months salary to buy an engagement ring. The women push the men until they get it. The diamond merchants restrict the amount of diamonds on the market so they can keep the price high, for the given demand. Are diamonds really valuable? not really. People got convinved they should pay through the nose to buy them, and so it went.
The stock market is a gigantic case of it. Brokers push "hot" stocks. What is "sexy" in your portfolio? A company could have a good year, but through no fault of their own, a sell-off of their shares could hurt them. Why were their shares sold? To go and buy the next sexy stock.
European values and the manipulation of the greed/accumulate function of modern American life leads to all sorts of strange looks from nDns. Why is it that a single dress from a "fashion designer" is worth more than many brands of new cars? Hollywood women walk the red carpet in $150,000 dresses, wearing $8,500 shoes that still hurt their feet. nDns look and wonder at the value system that could make one dress worth that, and yet most dresses in stores are around $80 for a regular dress and $200 for a nice dress up dress. It must be in their heads. It is a perceived or imagined difference that makes it worth the price of a townhouse condominium in most of the USA.
Values lead to life choices. nDns value things differently than regular Americans. To most of us nDns, a cubic zirconia sparkles as pretty as a diamond, but we wear a lot of turquoise.
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