From: Grant Callaghan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu 26 Dec 2002 - 16:20:55 GMT
I think we shouldn't confuse religion as it exists today, after more than
5,000 years of history, with religion as it was in the days of hunting and
gathering. Modern religion is an outgrowth of the adoption of civilization
and the spread of memes between civilizations. You don't see anything like
that with the plains Indians of America, for example. These kinds of
religious fanaticism and other practices only seem to have been obsorbed by
Mayan and associated groups who built large cities.
The civilized tribes of North America, however, had little or no trouble
absorbing Christian religion and bringing it into their culture. But they
were already farming when the Spanish invaded North America. They not only
fought the Spanish to a standstil but also became black slave holders and
plantation owners before they were driven to resettle in Oklahoma with the
promise that they would govern their own land. Each Indian nation had a
governor, a court system, a school system, magazines and newspapers printed
in their own language and a legal system based on a constitution they
themselves wrote. They carried on commerce with other nations in Europe and
argued for their rights in the Supreme court with their own people acting as
the legal clouncil. This was all taken away from them by the annexation of
Oklahoma into the United States in 1906.
All this was an outgrowth of the acceptance of missionaries and much of
European civilization around the time of George Washington and before.
Intermarriage between the Indians and the Byrd family of Virginia in the
1600s, for example, led to William Byrd becoming the Governor of the
Chickasaw nation in the 1890s. He was only half Chickasaw. Tribes that did
not go through this process of religious and civil conversion had a much
harder time coping with the changes brought by the European invasion of
North America. Read the books of Angie Debo on the Chocktaw Nation some
time. A real eye-opener.
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