NBC News contributing “journalist” Simon Moya-Smith, 39, who is also a lecturer at the University of Colorado at Denver, recently put out the following tweet: “Before white people came to this land, there were no jails, no homelessness, no laws against homosexuality or abortion. For thousands of years, Indigenous peoples emphasized health, housing, freedom to love who you love and the fact that we need Mother Earth. She doesn’t need us.”
This is an example of what we call “fake news.”
There may have been a dearth of jails, but prisoners of war could be captured, tortured, enslaved, or killed. Some tribes had “Blood Laws,” which referred to the widespread practice, particularly in the southeast, of revenge killing. Under this system, when someone killed a member of a particular clan, people from the offending clan had to kill one of their own to balance things out. (I’m guessing there was much debate about who to sacrifice, not least amongst those who were in consideration.)
Some tribes were nomadic, but others lived in tepees. Tepees were made of animal skins and/or blankets wrapped around wooden poles and were typically about 10 feet in diameter. No doubt, a man’s tepee was his castle.
Different tribes probably had somewhat differing views on homosexuality and abortion, but none of them thought they were good things. Or maybe they did. That might explain why there were, by some estimates, as few as 7 million “indigenous” people-- in what is now the United States-- “before white people came to this land.” However, there were no Planned Parenthood clinics around at the time, nor any need for interior decorators, so I doubt this was the case.
The Native Americans fought a lot, amongst themselves. Eastern tribes primarily fought to achieve retribution, while tribes in the southwest clashed with their neighbors both to avenge previous wrongs and to loot them of material possessions. Apaches and Navajos, for example, raided both each other’s and the more sedentary Pueblo Indian tribes in an effort to acquire goods through plunder. (Did they carry “Apache Lives Matter” or “NLM” placards as they looted?) Some tribes occasionally engaged in scalping their vanquished foes, which is demonstrably not healthy for anyone, but they didn’t eat processed foods…or sit around all day watching television.
did “indigenous peoples” really “emphasize” the “freedom to love who you love”
for “thousands of years?” I doubt the Sioux, Ojibwe, Cherokee, Navajo, Apache,
et. al., were totally unconcerned if, say, two or more braves wanted to tie the
knot, or if a young maiden wished to marry a buffalo or a coyote. Nor do I
believe they recognized a limitless number of human genders. I bet it would
have caused a stir if Tecumseh or Geronimo showed up to a tribal meeting in
drag. Or if Sitting Bull had declared he was now Sitting Cow, non-binary, and that
his her pronouns were “they/them.”
Finally, it may be true that “…we need Mother Earth. She doesn’t need us,” but it was good of the old gal not to abort us despite that fact. Might be a lesson there.
(Author’s statement: what happened to Native Americans was tragic. I have the utmost respect for them and their culture. This post was not written to mock them, but rather to mock a remarkably stupid, demonstrably false tweet intimating that life on the North American continent was a veritable beatific utopia until whitey showed up to ruin everything.)
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