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.

2 Comments
  1. February 12, 2009 4:58 pm 

    Do you really believe that the Europeans destroyed “ALL” of the Native American cultures? I think the Navajo, Hopi, Apache, and Gila Indians in my state would disagree with that.

  2. February 12, 2009 6:02 pm 

    I don’t think the Europeans necessarily destroyed ALL of their cultures per se (I suppose I should have worded it better in my post), but I do think the European influence did destroy the, for lack of a better word, “purity” of their cultures, which is what I am most interested in learning about. The cultures before European influence. We hear so much about their cultures after European contact that I would like to hear more about their cultures before European contact. Not to say that their modern cultures today are not fascinating in their own right, I was just hoping to learn something I haven’t already heard before.

Post a Comment

Your email is kept private. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Explore History Rhymes
Random Featured Articles
The Caudillo and the Führer: Franco’s Spain and Hitler’s Germany

The Caudillo and the Führer: Franco’s Spain and Hitler’s Germany

Early in the twentieth century, a new and unique system of government emerged in Europe which would replace most of the age-old monarchies and eventually lead the continent into the modern era of democracy. Fascism, a form of extreme right-wing, nationalistic government controlled by a powerful dict...
The Hanging Judge

The Hanging Judge

“I have ever had the single aim of justice in view… ‘Do equal and exact justice,’ is my motto, and I have often said to the grand jury, ‘Permit no innocent man to be punished, but let no guilty man escape.'” Few judges in American history have such a reputation as...
New Series: Kings of Bavaria

New Series: Kings of Bavaria

As my research has recently taken me in a new direction, I’ve decided to start a new multi-part series about it. For my dissertation, I will be researching the relationships between the Bavarian aristocracy and monarchy in the nineteenth century. The Kings of Bavaria will feature all of the Ba...
Indians and the Imperial Powers of Europe

Indians and the Imperial Powers of Europe

At the university library, I came across a book by the title A Companion to The American West, edited by William Deverell, and have been slowly working my way through it. The book is a series of essays that talk about what the American west is, how the west is defined and how the definition...