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View Diary: If you think America is divided, you're wrong. (44 comments)

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  •  It seems to me that accepting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigjacbigjacbigjac

    modern anthropology and archaeology, and other scientific approaches to understanding the origins of modern peoples, inherently calls all creation myths into question, including those of indigenous people.

    Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

    by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:25:38 PM PDT

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    •  I think that to question creation myths on the (0+ / 0-)

      basis of modern anthropology or archaeology would be to commit what philosophers call a category error.

      You may as well call into question the Declaration of Independence or the Gettysburg Address for their references to creation ...or maybe call all of Shakespeare into question because you can prove that all the world's not, in fact, a stage.

      •  that depends on the purpose (0+ / 0-)

        of those myths and how they are being used.

        It's common to insist that "we are all immigrants," but to do so is to deny that Indigenous creation stories -- the "founding documents" of Indigenous nations, if you will -- have any validity.
        Seems to me that if I'm committing a category error, you set me up for it. If these creation myths have no bearing on anthropology or archaeology, and vice versa, then how does making a statement about where people came from invalidate those myths?

        Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

        by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 11:07:37 PM PDT

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        •  I guess my question is (0+ / 0-)

          why is it so important for some to prove that we are all immigrants? I'd submit that those who insist on this point are simply trying to hasten the final, complete assimilation of Native peoples into the colonial state, to prove that "we are all the same," that there's no basis for honoring the sovereignty of tribal nations.

          Why should anthropology and archaeology -- e.g., the scientific dating of migrations -- have any bearing on the validity of the founding document (the creation story) of an Indigenous nation? "Proving" that Indigenous nations did not emerge from the earth seems a trivial waste of a scientist's work, sort of like marshaling evidence to show that wine is not really Christ's blood, or to show that, depending on the criteria you emphasize, all men are not actually created equal.

          If Native creationists are not insisting that their stories be taught in science classrooms, why would anyone bring science into a socio-political discussion to insist that we are all immigrants? It's an irrelevant point - philosophically, it's a category error, and politically it's too often a transparent strategy to strip tribes of communally held, aboriginal rights to land, water, and cultural resources & bring those resources into the market, where we are all the same, all immigrants from somewhere else, with no fundamental attachment or rights to the land we found here.

          •  I don't think it's "so important" (0+ / 0-)

            to prove that we're all immigrants, or that creation myths are wrong. It's just part of the larger story of human origins and migration, which I find interesting. Mythology may be interesting as well, but not for that purpose.

            This sort of conflict isn't limited to indigenous people and their mythologies. Similar conflicts arise with the field of biblical archaeology. Some want to avoid it because it may call the literal truth of the bible into question. Others want to use it to provide corroboration of the events in the bible. Others want to disprove it. Others are interested in discovering what went on during that period, and while they may use the bible as a jumping off point, will follow the science where it leads them.

            Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

            by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 06:55:41 PM PDT

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            •  Maybe, but I don't think biblical archaeology (0+ / 0-)

              is put to the same sort of political purpose as is the refrain of 'we are all immigrants' regarding Indigenous people.

              If Indigenous people come to be seen as just another immigrant group -- just another ethnic group -- then it may eventually seem unnecessary to engage in government to government relations with tribes. People who insist we are all immigrants are not simply following science where it leads, they are mis-applying a modern notion of the migration of individuals to a vast stretch of time, to time immemorial. The effect is to downplay, discount, or denigrate the origin narratives and the continuing status of tribes as collective entities, as nations. Scientific migration theories are irrelevant to the origin narratives of nations. For the most accurate picture of the land tenure history, identity, and contemporary political motivations of tribes, listen to their origin stories.

              •  Well, I guess that goes back to what I said about (0+ / 0-)

                what the purpose is. Even saying we are all immigrants doesn't necessarily lead to what you are describing, if one doesn't ignore other facts and history.

                Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

                by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 07:42:44 PM PDT

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              •  And actually, given some of the (0+ / 0-)

                discussions some people get into regarding Jews and Palestinians in Israel and Palestine, and who has a right to claim the land, I think there are some similar agendas involved, although the situation is very different.

                Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

                by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 07:46:05 PM PDT

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        •  A shorter version of my reply (0+ / 0-)
        •  the founding documents are in the arrowheads... (0+ / 0-)

          the pottery shards...
          and the tools worked from bone

          They are found in the footprints along the trails
          and in the Pueblos

          They are enshrined in song and story
          and in the spirits
          of the Earth

          They are woven into the hunting grounds
          and the rivers
          and the sky

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