Discovering the New World

Over the past five hundred years, human beings have sculpted a new worldwide society, a new political and economic order as well as a new demographic and agricultural order. Indians played the decisive roles in each step to create this new society. Sometimes they acted as prime movers, other times they played equal roles with a set of actors, and sometimes they were mere victims. But in all cases they acted as necessary although not sufficient causes. Somewhere in the telling of modern history, the writing of the novels, the construction of textbooks and instructional programs, attention drifted away from the contribution of the Indians to the heroic stories of explorers and conquistadors, the moral lessons of missionaries, the political struggles of the colonists, thee great and impersonal movements of European history, the romance of the cowboy. The modern world order came to be viewed as the product of European, not American, history. The Americans became bit players, and only their role as pathetic victims remained visible. In ignoring the Indian cultures we are doing far more than slighting the American Indians of their earned place in history. We may be hurting ourselves because of what we have all lost. … Continue reading Discovering the New World