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Old 06-12-2019, 08:41 AM
 
Location: NW Nevada
14,179 posts, read 11,593,279 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe from dayton View Post
I'll throw out several thoughts, then let other people take over.

The Hohokam built multi-storied houses and large adobe walls. They are most famously known for engineering and building an extensive irrigation and canal network.

The Mound Builders built extensively, and had walled cities and pyramids. Here is a very large and famous site: https://cahokiamounds.org/

A lot of Indians in the US were nomadic horse people, so they aren't going to build anything.

The Aztecs had a unified system of leadership and administration, while the US Indians were simply a collection of tribal groups -- they did not have a national leader or identity. It is referred to as the Aztec Empire for a reason. The empire was started by an alliance of tribes that were within relatively close proximity to each other. They also had a written language.

Geography. The size of the Aztec Empire at its height is still the tiniest of a fraction of the size of the US.

Horse culture did not develop with the North American Indians until the Spanish came and brought horses with them. Horses were extinct here before that with the theory being they were hunted as meat animals. To their credit The American Indians developed use of the horse as a riding animal to a fine art but they had to see horses used thus first.


The top tribes that became horse cultures were the Commanche, Sioux and Cheyenne, Kiowa, Arapahoe, Pawnee, Blackfoot and other tribes in proximity to these. Personally I think the Commanche were the top dogs in horsemanship. They were incredible.
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Old 06-12-2019, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
8,206 posts, read 2,869,843 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lodestar View Post
My opinion and certainly not worth an argument.
I see no real argument. If you want to regard a fairly limited number of glyphs meant to be easily read by a number of communities with different spoken languages as a written language, I won't dispute it - but both ends of Asia had complex written languages millennia before Columbus.

Africa is the interesting parallel: only those areas more or less in contact with Egypt (==contact with the Indus civilizations) developed written languages in the same time frame. The west coast and south had only spotty development, probably imported from the northeast, until the last few centuries of European, um, contact.

It would seem that written language is a bit like the atomic bomb: really only invented once, perhaps twice and then copied/adapted by those who encounter it. The continental isolates of North America... never had the influence until it was too late.
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:23 AM
 
Location: New Mexico
6,463 posts, read 3,611,213 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
Why do you think the Native Americans in the U.S. never developed much beyond the primitive state in spite of living here for many thousands of years?
Why spend the energy building huge showy palaces and temples when you don't need them?

The Plains Indians were seemingly content in their lifeways -- nomadic as it was, they knew exactly where they could find the right kind of plants at the right time of the year and moved accordingly. They had more Buffaloes than they could possibly eat. Winters were tough -- much tougher than the Aztecs or Mayans ever dreamed of -- so they had to spend months preparing for it. There was a great deal of movement and migration all through the central region in the late prehistoric period and then the arrival of the horse dramatically changed the way of life on the Plains.

The Iroquois Confederacy of five tribes in the northeast produced a form of government that influenced or inspired aspects of our own constitution. The Iroquois controlled an area stretching from the St. Lawrence River in Canada to Virginia.

The Cahokians had an area of influence that stretched from Wisconsin and the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. They left earthen pyramids and mounds all across the eastern part of the US. The largest is 100 feet tall at Cahokia. Not an Empire built on conquest but certainly spread by the culture and trade networks they developed. The Cahokians and similar remnants of that mound-builder culture were possibly the closest cultural groups to the Mesoamerican city-state ideology that flourished among the Mayans and Aztecs.

In the southwest, the Chaco culture covered parts of four states with permanent roads and multi-storied towns that are major visitor sites today. Taos and Acoma pueblos are over 1000 years old and still occupied. Chaco trade routes stretched to Yucatan. There were ball courts and other cultural aspects in the Southwest that are found in the Mesoamerican cultures.
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunGrins View Post
The Plains Indians were seemingly content in their lifeways -- nomadic as it was, they knew exactly where they could find the right kind of plants at the right time of the year and moved accordingly.
Most nations were far less nomadic and roaming before they were displaced by European pressure, even after they got horses.

Most of what we know, and think of as normal for NAs of the various regions, is actually significantly changed from their pre-contact cultures. (And romanticized all to hell.)

Wars and climactic change did move tribes and nations around, but my best understanding of the modern understanding of their history is that few were truly nomadic, with some northern plains tribes moving between summer and winter regions in a fixed pattern, but not "roaming the plains" as a lifestyle - until they were forced to.
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Colorado
11,677 posts, read 7,225,277 times
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Well, nomadic or not, you've got to look at what just makes sense.

Why put all of the effort into quarrying stone and building structures of it, when it's a lot easier to build something from wood and hides, maybe mud. Or just move into a cave, there are tons of those in North America. Oh, but by all means, let's put ridiculous amounts of effort into building a structure that will last and last. Until the spot it's sitting on becomes a crummy spot to live, like maybe because there was a tornado or a hurricane or an earthquake or mudslide or wildfire or flood...

But the other thing is, the civilizations that did a lot of building had something the Northern Natives did not. Lots and lots of expendable human bodies needing a purpose to justify continuing to feed them. Enslaved or subjugated populations, or other relatively powerless masses. Needing not-truly-necessary hard labor jobs to keep them too busy working, to rebel against those in power.

You know. Like we're still doing.

I have read that Native populations were far greater than most modern people realize, prior to the arrival of the first Europeans and their diseases. But I have never heard that they kept large groups of "othered" people (like slaves from other nations) in a subjugated state where they'd need to make work for them to do.
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Old 06-12-2019, 03:06 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
14,177 posts, read 44,761,617 times
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Maybe the NA Indians were simply satisfied with a hunting and fishing lifestyle, and didn't feel the need to build stone edifices for no real purpose. I remember somewhere something about "Before the white man came, we hunted and fished all day, we gathered berries, nuts, and various wild plants. Life was good. Then the white man came and "fixed" all that for us."


The reason someone does not have certain "stuff" may be that they simply don't want it.
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Old 06-12-2019, 03:06 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic_Spork View Post
Why put all of the effort into quarrying stone and building structures of it, when it's a lot easier to build something from wood and hides, maybe mud.
Which is why almost nothing remains of Cahokia except a few indistinct mounds, and even less remains of timber villages in the midwest, and nothing remains of several fairly large and significant African nations. Not to mention all the civilizations in the UK that didn't use big rocks for their temples.

And why we know more of most middle eastern civilizations, and more about some minor southwestern native cultures than about massively larger ones from the woodland areas.

And, while we're at it, why we know a great deal less about Egypt than we should... because the priceless, irreplaceable midden was hastily dug out and tossed so they could see the pretty carvings on the walls. (Which is why it will take 100 years to properly excavate the tomb of Seti's sons; extents still unknown.)

But even if most NA villages were more intact, there's still no written material to be found, only archaeological context. Which is valuable, but not as much as one list of chiefs or battles or village inventory or dirty joke book.
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Old 06-12-2019, 03:29 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,150 posts, read 70,049,185 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
The Aztecs and the Mayas left the remnants of vast empires that existed in what is now Mexico and Central America.

However, there are no pyramids, cities, or signs of any advanced civilization that developed in the United States in pre-Columbian times. Only some pueblos in southwestern states like New Mexico.

Why do you think the Native Americans in the U.S. never developed much beyond the primitive state in spite of living here for many thousands of years?
There are ruins of monumental architecture and large ceremonial ball courts in the American Southwest. You need to study and learn about these civilizations, OP. The Northwest Coast peoples of the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, and Alaska had a rich civilization organized around settlements with huge longhouses and monumental totem poles, and had large seagoing canoes used for trade and war. The surviving remains of these structures can be seen in UNESCO World Heritage sites in Canada and Alaska. Moundbuilder tribes extending from the Mississippi area all the way into Florida built temple mounds very similar to the Aztec and Mayan pyramids, and traded with those cultures. You can see their constructions in other World Heritage sites. You're missing out, OP! There's so much history and pre-history in the US you know nothing about. Time to catch up.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped..._HRoe_2011.jpg
https://cahokiamounds.org

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=...60462066678688

Last edited by Ruth4Truth; 06-12-2019 at 03:43 PM..
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:06 PM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
7,228 posts, read 4,106,473 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic_Spork View Post
I have read that Native populations were far greater than most modern people realize, prior to the arrival of the first Europeans and their diseases. But I have never heard that they kept large groups of "othered" people (like slaves from other nations) in a subjugated state where they'd need to make work for them to do.
Slavery was actually quite widespread in pre-Columbian cultures of the Americas (although they had no need to create make work for their slaves; there was enough real work for the slaves to do). See the last two sections of this Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slaver...f_the_Americas (the sections titled Indigenous enslavement of indigenous people and Indigenous slavers). Up to 25% of the people living in some Pacific Northwest societies were slaves, mostly people who had been captured in war and their descendants (so definitely "othered" people).
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:48 PM
 
Location: Eugene, Oregon
9,058 posts, read 2,958,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe from dayton View Post
I'll throw out several thoughts, then let other people take over.


A lot of Indians in the US were nomadic horse people, so they aren't going to build anything.

The First Americans developed a horse culture only after 1500, when explorers from Europe brought domestic horses here. The native horses were all killed and eaten by the first ones who came from Asia, before the concept of capturing and training them for riding existed.

Last edited by mensaguy; 06-15-2019 at 06:25 AM.. Reason: Fixed quote tag
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