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Will the Real Native American Please Stand Up?
by Charles Kesler
September 4, 1997

All across the country students are heading back to school, where in their history courses (especially in grade school and high school) they will learn something, though seldom much, about Columbus' discovery of America and the subsequent European colonization of the New World. For the past two or three decades, textbooks (and the historians, like Kirkpatrick Sale, who write or influence them) have often reduced this complex story to a bloody tragedy -- a vast act of imperialism or, worse still, of slow-motion genocide against Native Americans and their indigenous culture.

Columbus didn't "discover" America, the politically correct line goes; Native Americans (don't call them Indians) knew about it all along.

But now this revisionist history may itself be in need of revision. And therein lies an interesting tale of politics, in and out of school, that every student and parent should note.

Who came first?

The tale begins in Kennewick, Washington, where a couple of college students stumbled upon a human skull on the muddy bank of the Columbia River. Subsequent digging turned up most of a human skeleton. James Chatters, a local forensic anthropologist under contract with the county government, examined the remains and sent them out for radiocarbon dating, which showed them to be 9,200 years old, give or take a century. This made them one of the few and, incidentally, one of the best preserved "Paleo-American" skeletons in existence.

Trouble was, just enough of these skeletons had been found to begin to cast doubt on the prevailing scientific view of the first American. For the common denominator of Kennewick Man and the other ancient skeletons, to quote the Los Angeles Times, was that "the oldest of the skeletons appear to have Eurasian features, as opposed to the northern Asian features, common to modern Native Americans, that are characteristic of later-date remains.

Now, the conventional scientific wisdom is that American Indians, if I may use that term, descend from northern Asians who crossed over a land bridge that stretched from Siberia to Alaska more than 11,500 years ago. But Kennewick Man and his contemporaries appear to be of different ethnic origins than these putative first immigrants; and so there is a real possibility that there were multiple migrations (by different peoples at different times) to the American continent.

What's more, no remains of these supposedly pioneering northern Asian immigrants have been discovered. So actually the earliest human skeletal remains seem to be of different stock from today's Indians or their purported northern Asian forebears, which means that modern Native Americans may not be descended from the original Americans, after all.

Once again, a nation of immigrants

The point is academic, in a way, because whoever the original Americans were, they were not native. If the archaeologists are right, the first Americans were immmigrants from the other side of the world. The only question is whether they hailed from northern or southern Asia. Or then again, maybe from Europe or Eurasia? For in fact, respected researchers claim that Kennewick Man's and other ancient Americans' skulls have features that resemble contemporary Caucasians, archaic Norsemen, or the Ainu, the mysterious early inhabitants of the Japanese islands who had, to quote the Los Angeles Times again, "European faces, wavy hair, and thick beards." So the first "native" Americans may have been Europeans!

Today's Indians don't like this possiblity. A spokesman for the Umatilla tribe, who claim Kennewick Man (they call him Oid-pa-ma-na-ti-thayt, or Ancient One) as an ancestor, disparages the archaeologists' conclusions and suggests instead that Native American tribes were created here, as their traditions insist. Of course, this is how the ancient Athenians thought about themselves too, that they were "autochthonous," literally born from the land of the city, with no human parents. Many ancient peoples and tribes traced their origins in this way to "Mother Earth," as it were.

Though the Indians' claim is as unlikely as the Athenians', it has led to a lawsuit, pitting the Umatilla, who wish to bury their dead ancestor (so they believe), against the scientists, who wish to study Kennewick Man further. But the larger political issue here concerns modern American liberalism, which has an insatiable urge to identify or invent historical victims, preferably ethnic or cultural minorities, against whom the majority of Americans allegedly have sinned.

Revising revisionist history

No one can doubt that sins, grievous sins, were committed against the Indian tribes by the restless European settlers on this continent. Far from denying orminimizing this fact, our contemporary history textbooks dwell on it. Somewhat lost in their analysis is that there was plenty of sinning against the British and white American settlers, too; and withal, that the Indian tribes did not exactly eschew violence against each other. There were many broken alliances, raids, thefts, wars, rapes, human sacrifices, and other atrocities among them, even as there were pride, honor, friendship, independence and eloquence. But the former facts detract from the Indians' victimhood, and so are hardly mentioned.

Violence and war are endemic to the human condition, but wars can be fought in more or less civilized ways, and above all, wars can be fought for more or less civilized ends. The ultimate justification for the European colonization of the New World, and particularly for the British settling of North America, was that they culminated in the establishment of better, more just forms of government here than those that had existed before or had any prospect of developing. For similar reasons, the British might themselves be thankful today for having been conquered by the Romans, who brought with them, in addition to lamentable crimes and follies, the enduring and happy gifts of law, philosophy, and human religion, to name only a few.

Theses broader considerations will probably not be raised in many textbooks and classrooms, but they should be. Perhaps an enterprising student will be inspired to raise his hand and ask, Teacher, what happened to Kennewick Man's tribe -- to the peoples who may have come over to North America alongside the migrating tribes of northern Asia? An honest answer is that we're not sure. His tribe may have died out naturally, or may have evolved very different characteristics over time, or may have been conquered and massacred by the forebears of modern Native Americans.

All that we know for sure is that he had a spearpoint lodged in his pelvic bone. So all was not in Matthew Arnold's phrase, "sweetness and light" in his world, any more than it is in our own. Despite the millions separating us, there is thus poignancy to Kennewick Man's life and death. But that there is more sweetness and light in our world than in his, is a fact for which we should be profoundly grateful -- a happy fact that today's students, and especially teachers, should regard as an awesome development to be explained, even if they cannot quite bring themselves to celebrate it.

Charles Kesler is associate professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and a regular contributor to IntellectualCapital.com.

Photo: 1996, Jamie Chatters. All rights reserved.

9/4/97 Andrew abrecher@erols.com
Nice straw man here. Would Dr. Kesler care to tell us what small fraction of textbooks actually used in classrooms really describe Columbus's discovery of America anything like a "bloody tragedy"? Would anyone care to discuss the real problems in American education instead of blowing completely out of proportion a few isolated instances of "revisionism" or "political correctness"? Something more than anecdotal evidence would be nice.

9/4/97 Bill Jackson
So some early immigrants to North America may have hailed from Europe. Who cares? This theory is a faulty justification for taking back the continent from later immigrants of Asian descent. I think the United States is a great country, an experiment in government like the world had never seen, the envy of so many other societies. But I don't think our collective pride should distract us from the darker aspects of our history, including the genocide of so-called Native Americans. Of course the various tribes were no strangers to violence, but that doesn't mean that a government policy of dislocation and slaughter based on supposed racial and cultural superiority is beyond reproach. Today's history books give students plenty of reasons to appreciate the nation's past, and the spectre of "revisionist history" is blown way out of proportion here and in similar rants. Assuming that modern ends justify historical means is the true revisionism, rendering history little more than an exercise in statist propaganda.

9/4/97 Andrew Walsh walsh@whqvax.picker.com
Hmm, so it's really OK to commit genocide against a race because members of that race also have committed violence? Deep thought, that. And invasion and colonization is OK since it brings the law, philosophy and religion? So the pre-Roman Britons and American Indians had no law, philosophy and religion of their own worth considering? Incredible arrogance. Oh, and religion is really an "enduring and happy gift?" Well, it's enduring, that's for sure.

9/4/97 SteveX
"Is the teaching of American history too politically correct?" What the hell does that mean? The right wing bugbear of "political correctness" is an outmoded rhetorical device. Clearly, any presentation of alleged facts that bows to a particular ideology (for instance the notion that wiping out American Indians was justifiable and necessary to install a superior culture) promotes its own version of correct politics. It's a lie to suggest that only left wingers promote their philosophy through historical discourse. It's also disturbing to see the term "politically correct" only invoked in discussions of race, gender, etc., as a means of dismissing any claim of discrimination.

9/4/97 A Voice
SteveX is right. I am sick and tire of rightwing wackos invoking "PC" every time they want to say anything offensive or racists. Racist fiends: have some guts and don't give this "PC" excuse.

9/4/97 Matsu
I'm confused. The main contention of the above article seems to be that the TRUE "Native Americans" did not come from Asia. Yet the author himself notes the resemblance of Kennewick man to the Ainu -- "the mysterious early inhabitants of the Japanese islands who had, to quote the LosAngelesTimes again, 'European faces, wavy hair, and thick beards.'" To begin with, by speaking in an eerie past tense, the above quote seems to imply that these "mysterious" people are no longer with us. Quite the contrary. Ainu communities in Hokkaido and northern Honshu are as large, ethnically pure and as dedicated to preserving their traditions as any indi. . . oops, Native American group in North America. Secondly, it is certainly not news to the Ainu that their ancestors inhabited the NorthAmerican continent. Ainu legend and even some Japanese history books state that the original area inhabited by Ainu included Honshu, Hokkaido, Sahkalin, Kamchatka, the Kuriles and Aleutians, and perhaps even Alaska. So in other words, Kennewick man probably DID come from Asia. Oh, And while we're at it, let's not forget that the word "Caucasian" stems from belief that "white" races originated in the Caucusus region -- which is also in Asia. This whole discussion seems to be based on a lot of shoddy speculation and very little contemplation of the facts. What is my point?? Who knows!!! What was the point of the original article ????????????

9/4/97 Nathaniel Hellerstein paradoctor@aol.com
Concerning who 'discovered' America: Both forms of political correctness (left-wing and "mainstream' - i.e. rightwing) miss the point. Columbus certainly was not the first to 'discover' America. He wasn't even the first European to discover America. In fact he was the *last* European to discover America; and the first to *publicize* America. After him, all Europe knew about America; and soon after, the whole world knew. Columbus's entire fame was about publicity. For proof of this, note that these continents are called the "American" continents, not the "Columbian" continents; and why? Because Amerigo Vespucci was a better publicist! Let's face it: hype and PR define America all the way back!

I'm glad to see that there are still some things people won't fall for. The responses here give me hope for the future. You know, there's one big religious issue here - I thought Christianity (which by implication is a gift to the Native Americans) had outgrown the whole "eye-for-an-eye" thing with the New Testament. But the whole article seems to be saying that since people who may have been European may have been killed by people who may have been Native American, now Native Americans bear guilt and deserve what they get. Maybe guys like this should actually try reading some of the cultural heritage of the civilization they so profess to love and cherish...

9/5/97 Patrick patrickmar@mindspring.com
Sorry, forgot to leave my name on the message above...

9/5/97 M Schulze
The author has mentioned in his article that grievous sins were in fact committed against native Americans during the colonization of this land. He never said that the native Americans deserved it (as some people have suggested) but is merely pointing out that the behavior the European colonists participated in was no different then that of the native Americans. In fact many tribes allied themselves with the major powers (Spanish, French and British) with the express purpose of destroying tribes hostile to them. The truth of the matter is that the world at that time was a brutal place where the strong prayed upon the weak. Native Americans, Asians, Africans and Europeans of that time frame all have blood on their hands from wars of conquest (whether regional or global) and all had a history of enslaving or killing those they captured.

9/5/97 mikemaher mmaher@erols.com
The violence PC does to the English langauge, for the most part, goes uncommented on. It seems Charles Kesler is aware that language frequently controls thoughts. "Native American", what is this? I and everyone else born in the US is a native American. The American Indians actually claim they are original Americans and, of course, Dr. Kesler is correct. We are ALL imigrants or descended from imigrants. Next let's work on the senseless substitution of "persons" for "people".

9/5/97 Tom tsabert@cheshire.net
I fear that the bulk of the responses above miss the point. It's not a question of who was more evil in conquering the other, or who came first (every human on the planet came from sub-saharan African originally), the issue is the modern religion of secular victimhood. When telling the story of the history of our continent/ hemisphere, don't offer a philosophical or political interpretation of it. It is insulting to both American Indians and to European settlers to make them into cartoon characters. All that has happened lately is the good guys and bad guys have switched places. Either way they're still one-dimensional. If we're really interested in all the dimensions of history, we study the good and the bad about everyone. Allow students to think critically and draw their own conclusions. Remember, the policitally correct present is a reaction to past presentations of history. But natural law still holds true, a strong action in one direction makes an equal reaction in the other. The further the pendulum is pushed now, the more it will swing in the opposite direction later.

9/5/97 A Hines ehines@zianet.com
A point that's sliding by unnoticed here is that this is all based on group identity being more "true" somehow than the individual. Whatever the person's ethnic origin, he/she/it is an individual human being, with gifts and foibles like the rest of us. Perhaps he/she/it should be "judged not by the color of her skin, but by the content of her character."

9/5/97 SteveX
MSchulze: You're right. The world was a brutal place back then, and not much has changed. In the study of American history, there is a vital difference between violence committed by Indian tribes and that perpetuated through U.S. government policy. After all, our focus is the history of that government -- including its accomplishments, ideals, and hypocrisies -- not of the various tribes. While relations between the tribes and European settlers surely motivated Indian policy, it is the policy itself and the violence it spawned that is rightly the subject of scruitiny in American history. If we want to understand American values and ideals, we must examine tragically gray areas that remind us of our completely human imperfection.

9/5/97 SteveX
mikemaher: Language is mutable and subject to manipulation for ideological ends, but this is hardly a new development, nor one confined to "PC" (the term itself is a thoroughly political manipulation -- what ever does it mean?). My favorite devices tend to be used by right-leaning propagandists: "family values" and "pro-family." What are these values, anyway? Who the heck is "anti-family?"

9/5/97 SteveX
Tom: What are you talking about? Like Dr. Kesler, you conveniently neglect any examples of this nasty revisionist history. It's easy to claim that modern historians hate America and emphasize violence done to Indians over the accomplishments of Western expansion, but it's a little more difficult to prove it. By including accounts of killing and forced relocation of the tribes, modern history strives to present both the "good" and the "bad" rather than a whitewash (ouch). A Hines: Unfortunately, history inevitably involves the study of group relations -- from cro magnons v. neandertals to modern rivalries between nations. Also, much as we may not like it, group identity does shape our lives to some degree. Those individuals who have experienced discrimination based on group identity (which they did not choose) are often quite aware of this fact.

9/5/97 Sunil Bhargava sunil@intechweb.com
During the 1930's, the modern day era by most standards, our government committed a crime against the Native Americans of the South, in what the Native Americans document as the Trial of Tears. I don't mind forgetting the "ancient" history of a few thousands years ago or even of a few hundred years ago. But our school kids need to know that even in the modern day era government sactioned crimes haave been perpetrated against minorities and not just african americans. Not for the kids today to develop guilt but to understand the unfairness of the past. And to understand that the recent (last few hundred years) of migration that has resulted in this great country has cost us many a civilizations of the Native Americans. Every school kids understand what Hitler did but do not hate Germany for it. Our kids should understand what has transpired on their soil but not feel guilt for it. Ancient history be damned.

9/5/97 rkreman
Excuse me....why should I care???? I don't see that this discovery alters history significantly. Does this mean I no longer need to apologize for my antecedents behavior??? Or do I still need to mouth politically correct rhetoric. Someone clear this matter up for me...please!

9/5/97 Alan P.
The real question at hand is whether or not we are going to let revisionist history continue to sow division and harm educational standards in the United States. History is an imperfect science (yes, it is a science). We will never know with full certainty who was here first. What we do know is that we are all here now and we are all American for better or worse. Once Americans start looking at themselves as "hyphenated Americans" we are on the road to political and social division. Like it or not, there is only one American history. In that single history there are many threads such as African-American history, women's history, etc., but the overall picture that should be focused on by historians and citizens alike is what in our past makes us American. It may make some angry, but most of American development was brought forth by old white men. Therefore, this is what we study for the most part. Does this mean there is no room for the study of other threads in history. Of course not. But by forcing out history teachers to focus so narrowly on "hyphenated history" (i.e. Asian-American history, Irish-American history, Latino history) we, and our children, are prevented from seeing the big and more important picture. The PC crusade (while somewhat worthwhile in highlighting some long neglected parts of our history) is no excuse for setting up a false past in order to push a shortsighted political agenda.

9/6/97 Bill Ledford bledford@asbank.com
Indians can't continue to have it both ways; tax free reservations with government support, tax free casinos and the tax free use of public schools, highways and utilities and then still be sovereign nations.

9/6/97 K Klapper
One of the values of education should not just be the injection of historical facts into our children which then necessitates debate over what facts or stories they should be told. There's also a much more valuable lesson for youth than developing guilt. Namely, learning from the past in order to avoid injustices in the present and future. The danger of a comment to the effect that the conquered are better off because superior societies succeeded them is that it justifies the unjust means to that questionable end. That is not a lesson I would want our kids to learn. It almost wouldn't matter to me which of the competing histories children were told about the roots of modern American society as long as they were taught a fairly balanced view and teachers took the time to discuss just and unjust episodes with a view toward developing humanitarianism in our youth.

9/7/97 Dandy dandy@innocence.com
Any Latter-day Saint child can tell these where these peoples and the Ainu came from.

9/7/97 Peter McDevitt pmcd@sprintmail.com
Hey! What gives? How can we call the "Native Americans" that, or "Indians"? The label "Indian" is a misnomer from the get-go. The expedition headed by Columbus was actually looking for the best route to India (the real place)! And, they thought that they had found it, and so termed the indigineous peoples, "Indians" when in fact they were not, nor even close to it. Just who or what are they? This discovery, and ones in that vein, need to be answered so that the natives of this continent, whatever they may be, can be clearly identified. Further, to call them "Native Americans" is also unjust. They certainly pre-dated Americus Vespucci, whom the continent (hemisphere) was named for, and he came after Columbus and his gang! Why should the natives have to carry a label of some Italian, who they had no knowledge of anyhow? Let's hope that someone set the record straight.

9/8/97 Peter d'Errico derrico@legal.umass.edu
Not much "intellectual capital" in the original article, but a pretty good bunch of responses. One more example that the "experts" and "commentators" don't have much to offer us. Kesler's comments are a rehash of some leftover intellectual baggage, mixed with a few stale stereotypes and salted with the now-trite reference to PC. If you look at the legal history of "discovery doctrine," you'll see it originates with a 15th century Pope who gave title to lands discovered in the name of any "Christian prince." Don't have to be too swift to see the problems created when the US adopted this as the basis for its control of lands after the revolution (see Johnson v. McIntosh, 1823, US Supreme Court). The absurdities are still with us, still being worked out.

9/8/97 George Wesley Joyner mantalks@net-magic.net
Perhaps those interested in calling us,Yes I am American Indian, by the right name should read Russel Means statement regarding this I'm sure he speaks for all of us. What I get from this guy's publication is that he is someone needing to correspond with someone and his charector keeps driving people away. I see nothing of real truth in this article whatsoever.As to Tribes getting handouts from the gov. Those handouts are payments agreed to by the white christian gov. in treety and normanly the gov is behind on thier payments.Mabe we should start forcloser. Mantalks

9/8/97 Sonja Keohane sonjakeo@pond.com
I am continually amazed at the amount of discussion generated by the discovery of one skeleton. One of anything is hardly a foundation for conclusion, even when associated with other previously recorded information. What is classified as human habitation has by some accounts been shown to have occurred in this country as long as 40,000 years ago. These remains, of Kennewick, date to less than half of that age, so all it does is add some tiny bit of information to a very sparse body of data. Interesting how opposed idealogies can seize on the same piece of information and make it supportive of themselves. Humans are territorial creatures, not unlike many kinds of animals. These "discoveries" seems always to generate arguement and discussion that ultimately degenerates into the "I was here first" contention. Actually, the people who were here first, were just here first, and that happened 40,000 years ago, it is beyond me how this frenzy to prove who is "related" anthropologically to who makes any difference to the history of this country with regard to Indian Nations and the genocidal behavior of this government , past and present, with regard to them.

9/8/97 Bri Farenell fj634@cleveland.freenet.edu
It's always bemused, and sometimes annoyed me, how it can happen that: The victors tell only one side of the story for centuries and centuries and then, suddenly, someone says, "Hey wait, let's get the other side of the story out there." All of a sudden, one is denounced as a "revisionist" for telling both sides of the story. It seems to me that he was told only one side of the story for centuries is the real revisionist.

9/8/97 Mom Biliejax@aol.com
I have read a lot of your answers-not all --so I may be repeating someone! What is most important is not who was here first****We had better shape up, or we will be here last! For myself--I have been told that my Mohawk and Onondaga ancestors were always here on Mother Earth. We are to live in harmony here with all other things**The Wind-The Thunder-The Trees-The Plants-The Water-The Spirit Beings-The Fish-The Animals-The Insects (All of the creations!!)Not too long ago, this continent Turtle island that you call America--was clean and healthy--It is not anymore. We must all work towards saving Mother Earth. I heard a wise man say that the astronauts are the ones who have gained some wisdom about this place we call home. When they were in outer space--and looked down at the tiny planet that is their home, they realized just how fragile and sacred it is. They realized the reality of the damage man is doing to her. THINK ABOUT IT!

9/8/97 Mom Biliejax@aol.com
I have read a lot of your answers-not all --so I may be repeating someone! What is most important is not who was here first****We had better shape up, or we will be here last! For myself--I have been told that my Mohawk and Onondaga ancestors were always here on Mother Earth. We are to live in harmony here with all other things**The Wind-The Thunder-The Trees-The Plants-The Water-The Spirit Beings-The Fish-The Animals-The Insects (All of the creations!!)Not too long ago, this continent Turtle island that you call America--was clean and healthy--It is not anymore. We must all work towards saving Mother Earth. I heard a wise man say that the astronauts are the ones who have gained some wisdom about this place we call home. When they were in outer space--and looked down at the tiny planet that is their home, they realized just how fragile and sacred it is. They realized the reality of the damage man is doing to her. THINK ABOUT IT!

9/8/97 Dave Denomie denomie@mpm.edu
Mr. Kesler attempts to provide the politico-moral salve of the "we're all immigrants" argument to the wounded (and apparently small) consciences of those in this United States who seek to cover the shame of the knowing destruction of many nations on a continent far away from that of their own peoples. He calls up the rhetorically useful specter of "political correctness" in order to inflame the issue and appeal to those who find Rush Limbaugh a little, just a little, too non-academic for their taste. Yet, the underlying tactics and the agenda he promotes is virtually identical, but more palatable to those who like to consider themselves "intellectual" or "enlightened." What they really seek to do instead of shedding light on the truth, is to darken and shroud it beneath cloaks of uncertainty, which they hope will give them the underpinnings to justify the largest mass genocide in the known history of mankind. If he believes what he writes, he is naive; if not, then he is a charlatan no better than Limbaugh and other bombasts who appeal to the worst kind of social and historical denial in the hopes that it will allow them to face themselves in the mirror each morning thinking that this was all inevitable and really no one's fault.

9/8/97 Richard C. Eckert rceckert@umich.edu
I think that the motives of any scholar wishes to ressurect psuedo scientific concepts of race should be questioned. At the most fundamental level Kesler uses biological constructions of race to challenge who owned America as a means to mask the issue of whether Indian tribes were Nations prior to Columbus or whether Indian Nations are a modern phenomenon. Hell - to paraphrase Immanuel Kant - all one has to do to know that the earth is a sphere is to look at the stars with the naked eye. So even if some other people may have landed before Columbus, that does not mean they established nations which fit the criteria of nations, much less "civilization."

9/8/97 Ilze Choi IlzeC@aol.com
I am struck by how Mr. Kesler labors to retrieve the earlier version of American history (was this not the real case of political correctness?) in which the Euoropean conquerors brought “sweetness and light” to a savage world which, he implies, had no prospect of improving were it not for the Brittish bringing civilization. Are we going into the 21st century or back to the 19th? Mr. Kesler does not realize how much he, himself, is the product of a “politically correct” version of history. Due to the traditional version of American history, he has the NEED to feel this is his country (and not the Native Americans’) and that it is the best country in the world (having done nothing out of the ordinary in terms of man’s inhumanity to man). Consequently, he and others of like mind, contrive arguments that will debunk any views or facts favorable to Native Americans which have been added to history books over the past 20-30 years. To such individuals, Kennewick Man is like manna from heaven: ”So the first ‘native Americans’ may have been Europeans!”, he exults. Concluding that the ancestors of today’s Native Americans came from northern Asia (read Mongolian race), they are nothing more than the advance column of the yellow peril coming to these shores. The racist psychology behind this is something to be alarmed about especially when coming from one in position to manipulate uninformed young minds.

9/8/97 Ted Burton (Wolf Who Talks Fast) tedbrtn@cyberhighway.net
Fine for us to go kill 90% of the Europeans, move in 60,000,000 Americans, and if the Europeans object, dismiss it on the grounds they really immigrated from Africa? In forms of violence and betrayal Indians proved good students of the English, who polished these techniques in the conquest of Scotland and Ireland. "The ultimate justification ... was ...the establishment of better ... government ... than those that ... existed ... or had any prospect of developing." Thus would Hitler describe himself. Is it just war, to impose on people a 'better' form of government than they would choose themselves? Better? Says who? "the British might themselves be thankful today for ... the Romans". The Romans did not say the only good Celt was a dead Celt. The Romans did not evict Celts from 95% of England in exchange for promised annuities, and replace them with Romans, and then threaten to default. Next:"Indians can't continue to have it both ways; tax free reservations ..., tax free casinos ... schools, highways utilities and then still be sovereign nations." Indians have independent programs and businesses (exactly what the US ha been telling them to do for a hundred years). Indians yielded up North America for an annuity. Now you don't want to pay it? Next: "Hey! ... How can we call the "Native Americans" that, or "Indians"? The label "Indian" is a misnomer from the get-go." Yeah, but "n'eneskeetop" usually draws a blank stare.

9/8/97 J. Anderson andersjw@ou.edu
While it is possible that the first people on this land were of more than one race, it does not change what the europeans have done. Using the Doctrine of Discovery, (mentioned previously), any title that the Native Americans (for lack of a better term) had to the land was reduced to a mere right of occupancy. The fee simple title to the land was held by the British Crown, and subsequently by the United States federal government. See M'Intosh v. Johnson, Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, and Worcester v. Georgia. Kind of interesting, to have your land taken, your rights reduced, on the basis of pronouncement of a Pope several centuries before you were born, at a place several thousand miles away.

9/9/97 vbadinage vbadinage@POBoxes.com
One can only hope that Mr. Kesler is suitably embarassed by the fact that so many of these responses (probably typed out in a single draft) are vastly superior to his smug and dopey racial categorizing. Mr. Kesler, I realize that higher education is moribund, but have you never heard of the concept of citations? Would you give us some examples from the textbooks that you claim exist?

9/9/97 Bob Megginson meggin@math.lsa.umich.edu
First of all, Professor Kesler should be careful about making broad claims about what all Native Americans believe or like (e.g. "Today's Indians don't like this possibility"), since such stereotyping of belief patterns is not helpful in any discussion. (It is often the first step in setting up straw men to be knocked down.) Second, he should investigate more thoroughly the governmental systems of Europe and the Americas before claiming that, as unfortunate as British colonization was, it led to "better, more just forms of government that had existed [in the Americas] before or had any prospect of developing." There is evidence in Benjamin Franklin's writings that our representative form of government was patterned after that of the Iroquois Nations rather than on the autocratic British system.

9/10/97 MBenklifa Michael.Benklifa@Solvay.com
Despite the veiled attempt to clothe this opinion with something resembling reasoned thought, this article is patently racist. First, demean the people and then say they deserved what they got. To disagree on a political level is one thing but to mock a people in the face of the ligitimate grievances to what happened to their culture (remember they never asked the Europeans to come and take over) is really something else. If this is the best intellectualcapital.com can offer I should invest somewhere else.

9/10/97 Spiritdove imburgia@whidbey.com
Nice Try! Sorry, don't buy it! You need to check-out your history again. The "Straight" theory is only one theroy. Do you think the discovery of one skeleton who may or may not indeed by anglo will void all the evidence throughout history of the occupation of american Indians on this continent?? I think not! Even if it could be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.....whats so surprising about an anglo drifter on the continent? One skeleton does not a fact make. Do I detect a bit of racism in your piece? Heaven Forbid! .......Spiritdove.

9/10/97 Amazed
I think that what the author meant to say is that had the Native Americans had the chance they probably would have killed all the Europeans, because it is the nature of man. And that making the Europeans out to devils and the natives angels detracts us learning the lessons from history and from the task creating systems that prevent us (humans not just European humans but all humans) from killing and enslaving one another.

9/11/97 Linda Knighton simahoyo@blarg.net
This article is missing the main problem with the conflict between European Land Grabbing and Native disinhertance. There were colonists who were given 500,000 acres of land as an INDIVIDUAL. These were little fiefdoms that they were invited to rule in a non-democratic way after they had either driven off the Native people--who were not hunter gatherers, by they way, but farmers. Then, after tricking White people into a seven year indenture (read slavery), they announced that the 50 acres of land they had earned by doing this was theirs, if they could get it from the Indians. Any democracy was not learned from the Romans, but the Native Americans


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