History Rhymes
Nineteenth-century History

Contact is important, but what about the other tens of thousands of years?

I have to say that I am quite disappointed with my Native American Studies class this semester. I was (apparently naively) assuming that we would focus more on Native American culture and more on the history of the Native American peoples before first contact with the European nations. I was, however, wrong.

We spent the first two weeks covering the pre-contact era and have now suddenly began talking about the first encounters with the Spanish in Mexico. I understand that there is not really a whole lot known about the Native Americans before contact, but there is certainly plenty of available knowledge out there to fill a semester-long course! Of course I also understand that the first contact with Europeans is extremely important because of the incredibly devastating effects it had on Native American culture and society, but I have already heard so much about it, that I really don’t want to spend another semester discussing it.

My hope was to learn something of the vast variety of cultures in the Americas before the Europeans destroyed all of them. I have to say I am extremely disappointed in that.

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