Only by increasing our awareness of the large populations and skilled lifestyles of the indigenous population of North American before European setter colonialism devastated them can we begin to appreciate the scope and depravity of the destruction of those original inhabitants and their way of life.
So today, for the health of our souls and selves, a few facts from the first chapter of AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.
When Lewis and Clark began their trek up the Missouri River in 1804, ethnologist Dale Lott has observed, they beheld “not a wilderness but a vast pasture managed by and for Native Americans.’” Native Americans created the world’s largest gardens and grazing lands—and thrived.
Native peoples left an indelible imprint on the land with systems of roads that tied nations and communities together across the entire
landmass of the Americas. Scholar David Wade Chambers writes:
“The first thing to note about early Native American trails and roads is that they were not just paths in the woods following along animal
tracks used mainly for hunting. Neither can they be characterized simply as the routes that nomadic peoples followed during seasonal
migrations. Rather they constituted an extensive system of roadways that spanned the Americas, making possible short, medium and
long distance travel. That is to say, the Pre-Columbian Americas were laced together with a complex system of roads which became
the roadways adopted by the early settlers and indeed were ultimately transformed into major highways.” pp. 28, 29.
Gardens, grazing lands and roadways in North America, including Mexico, lived upon by approximately 200,000,000 people. (p. 17).
Two hundred million people.
John K. Stoner 8/30/20