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How the Indians of the Americas transformed the world
This paper tries to explain Jack Weatherford's Indian Givers by examining the history of the Native American connection to many agricultural products would not have been produced without the knowledge that Indians gave. Weatherford further stipulates that it is through these advances in agriculture that the United States has remained a strong contender in the global market, that without the influences of the Native Americans on the early settlers those early immigrants to America would not have survived. Through his work, "Indian Givers: How Indians of the Americas Transformed the World", Weatherford brings an insight to a people that most individuals have been neglected to consider. The paper concludes that it is Weatherford's purpose to demonstrate that Native Americans have been a misrepresented and forgotten people when the history of North America is discussed.
This book is complete with some facts, unfounded assumptions, explores Native American gifts to the World and gives that information credence which really happened yet was covered up and even lied about by Euro-centric historians who have never given the Indians credit for any great cultural achievement. From silver and money capitalism to piracy, slavery and the birth of corporations, the food revolution, agricultural technology, the culinary revolution, drugs, architecture and urban planning our debt to the indigenous peoples of America is tremendous. With indigenous populations mining the gold and silver made capitalism possible. Working in the mines and mints and in the plantations with the African slaves, they started the industrial revolution that then spread to Europe and on around the world. They supplied the cotton, rubber, dyes, and related chemicals that fed this new system of production. They domesticated and developed the hundreds of varieties of corn, potatoes, cassava, and peanuts that now feed much of the world. They discovered the curative powers of quinine, the anesthetizing ability of coca, and the potency of a thousand other drugs with made possible modern medicine and pharmacology. The drugs together with their improved agriculture made possible the population explosion of the last several centuries. They developed and refined a form of democracy that has been haphazardly and inadequately adopted in many parts of the world. They were the true colonizers of America who cut the trails through the jungles and deserts, made the roads, and built the cities upon which modern America is based.
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America owes a debt to slavery that can never be repaid. That's not to say it shouldn't be. At the very least, it should be acknowledged, validated, and honored with the respect that it deserves.
Presents information and ideas that are too often overlooked in our day-to-day thinking about what we have, and where those things came from. Issues rose such as the American Indians' contributions to the geopolitical influence of American silver and gold on the rest of the world. Questions from my youth are where did all of the Inca gold go to? Why is not Spain not a major world power? Why does it seem as though most foods are native to the Americas? These are questions that are avoided in popular history books, giving all of the stability of modern life to the credit of the civilized Europeans.
Chapter 7, "Liberty, Anarchism, and the Noble Savage" was very subjectively and one-sidedly trying to glorify the Indian nature, Indian government and Indian understanding of control. I am not trying to say that what Weatherford is totally incorrect, but the way he presents the knowledge is too much on the Native side of the scale. Weatherford starts defending his point using Thomas More's 'Utopia' as an example, stating that he was enormously influenced by the Indians, while he was only excited about the new discovery of a new place. In 'Utopia', very contrary to what Weatherford is trying to describe, we see chained slaves. We see a monogamist system without divorce, a rule broken only in the severest cases of perverseness and adultery, however Indians are known to be, most commonly, polygamist, and in some cases adultery is not against Indian morals. Europeans exploited and colonize the vast continents of the Americas, gave the Indians diseases and Christianity and overlooked almost as much as they took from the Indians.
(From the back cover)
"The Indians gave us:
"Wealth: The gold and silver from the Americas was the source of major economic and trade expansion in Europe and eventually led to the industrial Revolution. The ore was mined largely with Indian laborand just getting it out of the earth forced the Indians and Europeans to refine and create undreamed-of industrial techniques and systems.
"Food: Some 60 percent of the food eaten in the world today is of American origin. The potato changed Europe's agricultural economy and the nature of society, as well as feeding the large European armies from the eighteenth century on. Chocolate became the taste sensation of Europe; peppers, or chilies, enlivened cuisines throughout the world.
"Modern corporations and business: The 'companies' that established the first settlements and built plantations and 'factories' were the ancestors of the great commercial enterprises of today; they would not have survived or flourished had it not been for the labor and lives of the Indians.
In the past the Federal government policies was to suppress Indian traditions as an obstacle to their assimilation into American life. American Indians' communal dance is a critical element and guide to community solidarity. There are conflicting views on the subject of powwows as being indications of dying cultures or of reviving Native ethnicity. Medicines, "The Indians of the Americas provided quinine, the first effective treatment for malaria and contributed much to modern medicine in the form of aspirin-related tree bark extracts, laxatives, painkillers, antibacterial medicines, petroleum jelly, and much, much more.