Did the white man win some kind of racial lottery as is suggested by Advocate columnist Michelle Stirling-Anosh? I think not.
Cultural development or lack thereof is not dependent on some kind of happenstance but is rather dependent upon cultural vigour. The simple truth is that native culture is lacking in intellectual vigour — and why is that? I would like to offer up a couple of reasons for why I believe this to be the case. Stirling-Anosh in her article says that the Europeans were blessed with domesticated animals who were used for their labour in addition to being food stuffs. She then contrasts this to the situation in North America where there was a lack of domesticated animals available for the native population to make use of.
First of all I would like to point out that this situation of a lack of domestecable animals only shows a geographic disadvantage and not a racial one. As an example, I would point to the horse.
It is a well accepted fact that although there were no horses present in North America at the time of European discovery, that horses had been present at one time in North America but had gone extinct, which was possibly due to overhunting by native North Americans. At the time of European discovery, North America was a veritable walking and swimming and flying pantry of protein.
It is this overabundance of wild available game that is most likely the reason that the native population did not find any need to pursue domestication, and not some racial disadvantage that they suffered.
Next I would point out that while Europeans had wheat, barely, rye and the like, these grains were not developed in Europe but in the fertile Mesopotamian Crescent, which is considered to be the seat of civilization. There is nothing that is particularly white about that area of the world.
Also North and South America was an abundant source of many plant-based foods such as: corn, peanuts, acorns, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, sunflowers, avocados, beans, maple syrup etc. There are many more plants that nourished the native population then and still nourish us now.
Stirling-Anosh like many of those who want to see pre-discovered North America as a utopia also quotes the number of bison that are estimated to have roamed the plains prior to their decimation by the white man. However she does not take note of the small numbers of human beings who lived along side of those bison.
In other words, these same plains that once supported only a few hundred thousand native people are now feeding millions of people both here and around the world. I ask you which situation do you think is best?
Has the white man had some unbelievably long streak of good health? I think not. The plagues that ravaged Europe and wiped out an estimated third of its population are but one evidence of a population that has been attacked by disease.
I for one would not want to live in a society that has no written language as was true of the native cultures. Written language is the means by which we can not only pass on knowledge from one generation to the next but it also allows knowledge to deepen in the present by enabling discussion with a wider group of people other than your tribe or family.
It was the European Christian missionaries who put the native languages into a written form.
Much more could be said but I hope that what I have said here is enough to show that there is not some kind of racial bias working against the native population.
Rather they can have the same things as are enjoyed by everyone else, if they are willing to remove the chip from their shoulders and embrace Western thought.
Julian Ross Hudson