Re: Amerind an offensive term (was: Early Amerind assimilation

Mary Beth Williams (
4 Aug 1996 21:01:29 GMT

In <> Stephen Barnard <>
>Xina wrote:
>> Very simple, most of the *dominant society* (read that as decended
>> European ancestors, not aboriginal to this country) dont give a damn
>> the country, just what they term in real estate as "highest and best
>> of the land". The AmerInd, Native, aboriginal (insert choice
>> here) people for the most part find this idea abhorrent.
>There is pretty good evidence that the early arrivals from Siberia
>were responsible for the extinction of the large Pleistocene animals
>in North and South America (animals like Mammoths and Giant Ground
>Sloths). Some disagree with this, but that's the majority opinion
>among those who are in a position to have informed opinions.

Actually, this WAS the majority opinion some time ago, but is no longer
an uncontestable view among *those who are in a position to have
informed opinions.* At last year's (1995) SAAs there was an entire
session on the Paleoindian *mammoth-hunter* myth, where most of the
participants concurred that a more appropriate description of the first
Paleoindian migration would be *vole hunters*.

>There is no disagreement that the arrival of aboriginal people to
>islands such as Madagascar,

I guess that you've never read Dr. Laurie Godfrey's work on the giant
lemurs of Madagascar, which does not indicate that humans were directly
responsible, i.e., killed off, the megafauna on Madagascar. Dr.
Godfrey (UMass-Amherst) is considered the leading authority on the

Cyprus, and New Zealand led to the extinction of many
>defenseless island species, such as flightless birds and pygmy
>Indians in North America had the practice of stampeeding herds of
>Bison over cliffs, killing as many as possible, and far more than
>could be consumed.

That's arguing that *consumption* was the primary reason for stampeding
buffies. Hides provided shelter as well as clothing, and it is highly
unlikely, as many separate groups would gather seasonally to hunt, that
much of the hide went to *waste*.

>Today some Native American groups demand unlimited hunting and fishing
>rights, even though they use modern weapons, steel traps, snowmobiles,
>nylon nets, etc., justifying this by claiming that they only want to
>pursue their traditional way of life. IMHO, if they want to pursue
>their traditional way of life they should do it with stone-age tools.

So, what you're saying is that Indian subsistence technology remained
completely static for 12 millenia, never changing, never adopting new
and more effecient tools and ideas? That only Paleoindians (up to 9000
BP) are real Traditionals?

MB Williams
Dept. of Anthro., UMass-Amherst