Re: Indigenous Greed?

Mary Beth Williams (MBAWilliam@AOL.COM)
Tue, 7 Mar 1995 08:13:50 -0500

Bret Diamond's assertions that noone has yet fulfilled his *criteria* seems
to me that he anticipated the answer long before it was received. My
attention to this thread has been minimal, and I admit I had to review much
of what has been written since I last contributed a week or so ago. However,
I'm still not convinced that the example I offered of shellfish
*over-exploitation* among indigenous groups in southern New England doesn't fi
t his criteria. Furthermore, if we're going to add *capitalist* tendencies
among *pre-capitalist* societies to the criteria, I would again offer the
coastal New England societies of the Late and Final Woodland period. Trading
in shell and dried shellfish between coastal and inland groups was well
establshed, and may in fact have led to extensive territorialism among
coastal groups. I have also begun to question whether the development of *wamp
um* was purely communicative or spiritual (as presently hypothesized), or if
it had *economic* attributes similar to those with which it was later
associated, i.e., during the Fur Trade.

I'm sure that other examples of such *greed* or *exploitation* (as Diamond it
seems to terms such *human* behaviors) can be offered. Personally, I find
the perpetuation of the *noble savage* myth more troubling than admitting
that *pre-capitalist* groups may have many of the same attributes as their
*capitalist* counterparts.


MB Williams