Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Why Indigenous People's Day?

     Yesterday, as the sensible and historically accurate minded celebrated Columbus Day, some of the politically correct and historically delusional made up their own holiday called "Indigenous People's Day." Beyond the fact that these misguided souls have completely missed the importance of the North American continent's first discovery by the civilized world, is the provocative nature of wanting to celebrate their day on the same day as some else's holiday. The thought would never occur to them to celebrate their holiday on a different day, because their effort is not so much about celebrating indigenous people, as it is about besmirching the peoples who brought the progress of civilization to an untamed continent.
     The American Indian (or Native Americans if you prefer) is said to have inhabited the North American continent for 14,000 years. Before that point it is anyone's guess where they originated, although some recent studies in anthropology have suggested they came from the Asian continent during a period when there was a land bridge connecting the two geographies. One thing is clear, they did not exist on the North American continent prior to 14,000 years ago. So I guess indigenous all depends on one's definition of that word.
     The supporters of "Indigenous People's Day" claim to want to give them credit for their contribution to mankind. Okay, fair enough. Can anyone outline for me what those contributions are? I can list chapter and verse the overwhelming contributions of the United States of America. I can even articulate contributions made by the Italians, the French, certainly the Germans and Spainards, and just about every other culture on earth all the way back to the Romans and Egyptians. But what is the great contribution to the human condition made by Native Americans?
    In fact, when Europeans first stepped foot on the North American continent, the "indigenous people" they found had not progressed as a society for the 14,000 years they had resided here. A thousand years ago when the peoples of Europe were building magnificent cathedrals that spired hundreds of feet into the air, Native Americans were still living in animal skin tepees. And when the Vikings and Saxons were creating intricate and detailed art and jewelry from gold, silver, iron, and bronze, the Native Americans were stringing dried berries on animal guts and hemp. And when the Romans were manufacturing high tech swords and shields, the Native Americans were affixing sharp rocks to the ends of spears as weapons.
     To the casual reader it may sound like I am unfairly criticizing the Native American culture. But it is not my intent. I am a realist, and as such I am willing to change my opinion if anyone can articulate contributions by Native Americans to science, medicine, technology, or any other field of human endeavor. I know it is popular in today's politically correct world to ignore truths that are uncomfortable to admit, especially when those truths are about a favored victim class. But if we are to accept "Indigenous People's Day" on a wholesale basis in this country, there must be some compelling reason to do so. And beating the Europeans to the North American continent by 14,000 years is just not a good enough reason.

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