QueDeCoup: Colonial Conquest of Turtle Island – Before Columbus Part 1

QueDeCoup: Colonial Conquest of Turtle Island - Before Columbus Part 1

Uncovering the Impact of the Doctrine of Discovery

The Doctrine of Discovery was the embodiment of the European ruling class’ insatiable desire for expansion and control over the new world. These powers, backed by papal authority, deployed the notion of “terra nullius,” meaning “nobody’s land,” which was used to justify their claims over Indigenous territories across Turtle Island[1].

This era of so-called discovery was first set in motion with Christopher Columbus landing on what is today known as the Americas in 1492[2]. Four years later, this period of discovery was further highlighted by John Cabot’s arrival on the shores of what we now call Newfoundland on June 24, 1497[3].

In the following century, French explorer Jacques Cartier took three journeys to the New World funded by King Francis I of France[4]. These 16th-century explorations marked the peak of the Age of Discovery, spanning from 1534 to 1541.

On July 24th, 1534, Cartier landed on the Gaspé Peninsula, claiming the territory for France under the authority of the Doctrine of Discovery, though it had already been inhabited by the Mohawk and Miꞌkmaq Indigenous peoples[5].

Two years later, Cartier journeyed up what became known as the St. Lawrence River to an Indigenous village in today’s Quebec in 1536, and on his final expedition in 1541, Cartier explored the St. Lawrence up to the mouth of the Great Lakes, opening up the New World to further European exploration and settlement[6].

The journey to Turtle Island for these so-called explorers was intertwined with the concurrent birth of the Discovery Doctrine, and are both historical events that profoundly reshaped the trajectory of human history[7].

The inception of the Discovery Doctrine is attributed to a series of Papal Bulls, including Romanus Pontifex and Inter Caetera[8]. These religious edicts empowered European Christian monarchs with the authority to discover, claim, and convert all non-Christian Indigenous peoples and their territories[9].

Later, the doctrine’s judicial legitimacy was further affirmed by the landmark 1823 U.S. Supreme Court case, Johnson v. McIntosh, which upheld the exclusive right of European nations to acquire American lands from its Indigenous inhabitants[10].

Upon codification into the U.S. constitution, Canadian confederation, the Doctrine of Discovery was used to facilitate state-sanctioned land theft, child slavery, and genocidal attempts at ethnic cleansing against the Indigenous population of Turtle Island[11].

The Discovery Doctrine set in motion a relentless wave of colonization and exploitation of Indigenous peoples of the so-called New World. For this reason, in recent years, there have been escalating calls to reassess and discard the doctrine, due to its detrimental effects on Indigenous rights and sovereignty[12].

Vatican’s Role: Doctrine of Discovery & Indigenous Impact

On March 30, 2023, the Catholic Church issued a statement distancing itself from this contentious “doctrine of discovery”[13]. The Church declared that the doctrine does not reflect the teachings of the Catholic faith and that the historical papal documents, such as Dum Diversas (1452) and Inter Caetera (1493), used to justify it do not accurately represent the Church’s beliefs[14].

The Church officially repudiated any concept that fails to acknowledge the rights of Indigenous peoples, stating that they “seek to foster reconciliation and healing.”

The Catholic Church’s actions have instigated a reevaluation of the significant role that the Vatican has played in shaping the colonial policies of countries like Canada[15].

In very simple terms, at the beginning of this historical period known as the Age of Discovery, the Vatican stood alone as a religious institution that could wield the state power, and authority, of divine right, which was used as a ideological foundation for colonial expansion, contributing directly to the dispossession and colonial subjugation of Indigenous populations in the name of civility and Chirstendom[16].

In response to the Catholic Church’s recent statement, a thorough examination of Canada’s past and present is required to understand the complex relationship that the Vatican’s religious influence had on colonization, and how it is connected directly to the ongoing struggles of Indigenous peoples here on Turtle Island today[17].

Doctrine of Discovery: Indigenous Struggles in Canada

As we examine the conquest of Turtle Island and the infamous Doctrine of Discovery that facilitated it, we must do so while remaining committed to promoting restitution, healing, and justice for all Indigenous peoples, and the protection of their territories[18].

Firstly, I’d like to acknowledge that this podcast has been recorded on unceded indigenous territory. Tiohtià:ke, otherwise known as Montréal, is celebrated historically as a convergence point for several indigenous nations, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe people. Today, this area remains inhabited by a diverse mix of Indigenous communities and Canadian settlers from a variety of ethnic backgrounds[19].

The history of these lands that we now call Canada provides context to our collective existence, offering solace and understanding in its reflection, and gives space, not to place blame, but to better understand ourselves, how we have historically treated each other, and the natural world around us[20].

Those of us privileged enough to live on Turtle Island today must never forget the struggles faced by the Indigenous peoples who inhabited these lands long before the colonial creation of Canada ever existed.

As settlers, it is our duty to reconcile with the realities of our colonial past, and to assist in the struggle for true restitution, restoration of Indigenous land title, self-determination, and sovereignty[21].

In these efforts, it is hoped we can acknowledge the profound impacts that these historical atrocities have had on the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, and the intrinsic connection that was once held between the inhabitants of these lands, and the land itself.

Throughout this series, we aim to cohesively portray the chilling legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery and the catastrophic effects it had on the Indigenous civilizations of Turtle Island.

Like any introspective journey, we will begin with an acknowledgement of the past, recognizing the systemic oppression practiced, and historical erasure implemented to cover up the genocidal acts of these colonial institutions.

Colonial Legacy: Indigenous Struggles & Resource Exploitation in Canada

As European powers sought to expand their influence, they engaged in practices that disrupted traditional ways of life, undermined Indigenous sovereignty, and threatened the survival of entire Indigenous civilizations[22][24].

The territorial acquisition of so-called Canada was achieved through a complex and tumultuous history marked by the displacement of Indigenous communities, which was the result of jingo imperialism, fraudulent treaties[23], and brutal, oftentimes even deadly colonial enforcement by both the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Armed Forces

As a colonial state, Canada’s reliance on resource extraction has perpetuated ongoing colonization and exploitation of the land it was founded on[25].

The vast natural resources on the land known as Turtle Island have played a significant role in the development of Canada as a colonial state[26]. With abundant deposits of oil, gas, and minerals such as zinc, nickel, and gold, the country of so-called Canada has become one of the world’s largest suppliers of precious metals, and fossil fuels.

Exploiting these resources from the land has come with an unimaginable cost for the many Indigenous peoples here on Turtle Island, who have been systematically displaced, dispossessed, and historically oppressed by these colonial resource extraction projects, their policies, and environmental practices.

The mining industry has been a significant part of Canada’s economy for over a century, specifically in northern regions where agriculture is unviable. Many towns in these areas have been sustained only by nearby mines, often at the expense of the environment and the well-being of Indigenous communities.

As covered in our last episode, the Canadian Prairies, which have become one of the world’s most important producers of wheat and canola, have a history of land dispossession and displacement of Indigenous peoples, with acts of resistance from land defenders such as Louis Riel ending in colonial violence with fatal state-sanctioned consequences.

In the course of European colonization on Turtle Island, an unexpected deluge of diseases wreaked havoc on the Indigenous inhabitants, causing widespread devastation unlike anything seen before.

When the European settlers arrived, they carried with them a large array of unfamiliar diseases that proved devastating for scores of Indigenous communities. Most Indigenous peoples prior to European contact had no natural immunity to foreign pathogens, making them extraordinarily vulnerable to the unprecedented health threats introduced by the settlers.

Illnesses such as smallpox, influenza, measles, and chickenpox spread swiftly through most of Turtle Island. Indigenous communities, connected through travel and trade routes along waterways, unknowingly expedited the transmission of these pathogens, spreading death and disease rapidly across the entire continent.

Modern historical narratives tend to shift the responsibility of this mass eradication caused by the onslaught of foreign microbes, by suggesting this was simply an unintentional outcome of human progression and migration.

This perspective, however, conveniently dodges the ethical responsibility presented when faced with the consequences of what colonial mythology portrays as the natural evolution of history.

Nonetheless, the significant role colonization played in this dramatic dissemination of diseases is often downplayed or even removed from conventional historical discourse. Yet, it’s undeniable that colonization played a key role in introducing fatal infections to the indigenous populations of Turtle Island].

In fact, Historical accounts confirm that, during colonization, diseases were occasionally weaponized for the purpose of imperial motivations and colonial subjugation[27].

One notorious case of this that is often cited occurred at the 1763 Siege of Fort Pitt during the French and Indian War]. It is here where British officers have been alleged to have distributed smallpox-infected blankets to Indigenous delegates, hoping to infect their communities.

Around a century later, a smallpox outbreak among the Indigenous peoples of the Chilcotin region of colonial British Columbia further illustrates the willingness of colonizers to deploy disease as a means of biological warfare[29].

At the time of the 1862 epidemic, Indigenous communities in the Pacific North West had not yet encountered a smallpox epidemic and thus were left vulnerable due to a lack of immunity. Consequently, the disease spread rapidly throughout the Chilcotin region, causing death on a mass scale, with roughly 70% of the Tsilhqot’in population being wiped out by the end of the first wave of the epidemic[30].

This devastating spread of disease among the Indigenous peoples of the northwest was viewed by the British Colombian colonial state as a chance to dispossess a weakened Indigenous population from their lands.

In fact, following the initial wave of the epidemic, the colony of British Columbia’s Chief Commissioner of Land and Works, Joseph Trutch, disregarded Indigenous land rights and terminated the treaty process entirely. This act, essentially established the precedent for British Columbia to be a viable state for the future Canadian confederation, which was made possible by the seizing of Indigenous lands without treaty or succession.

In the spring of 1864, the Tsilhqot’in, like many other Indigenous First Nations of the Pacific Northwest, were still recovering from the first wave of the smallpox epidemic a few years prior.

It was then when they learned of plans for a wagon road to go through the Homathko River Valley later that year. The Tsilhqot’in resisted the threat of this territorial violation with an armed blockade, which led to the Chilcotin War of 1864.

Prior to this conflict, many Indigenous groups, including the Tsilhqot’in, were convinced that the epidemic was intentionally propagated by British colonizers for the purpose of driving them off their lands, a claim that has now become supported by official government records.

Historical evidence shows that during the conflict leading up to the Chilcotin War, and before the 1864 smallpox outbreak, Alfred Waddington, the man behind the wagon road project, or potentially one of his foreman, threatened the Tsilhqot’in peoples with an intent to spread the smallpox infection.

In the end, as some predicted, the conflict culminated with the resurgence of the small epidemic in the Chilcotin region, along with the death of six Tsilhqot’in chiefs who were executed by hanging for their roles in the wagon road blockade.

Waddington’s Road was never fully finished due to the war, but was later considered as a potential route for the Canadian Pacific Railway, which instead led to present-day Vancouver.

The devastation left behind by the second wave of this epidemic resulted in the consolidation of numerous deserted Indigenous villages by settler forces, further fragmenting Tsilhqot’in communities and leaving them vulnerable to further encroachment and colonization[31][32].

In 2014, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark formally absolved the six executed Tsilhqot’in chiefs and expressed regret for their deaths. Clark admitted in her apology in the government record that there was “an indication that smallpox had been spread intentionally”[33].

In 2018, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau further acknowledged the historic injustice, making an in-person apology to the Tsilhqot’in community[34].

The Doctrine of Discovery’s influence on the European Crowns’ colonial occupation of Turtle Island continues to echo in present-day circumstances, most notably reflected in many Indigenous households across First Nations communities in so-called Canada[35].

Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island living in present-day Canada represent approximately 5% of the population and face substantially higher rates of poverty, incarceration, and physical and mental health issues compared to their non-Indigenous, settler counterparts[36].

This disparity underscores many of the systemic hardships faced by Indigenous peoples living today in so-called Canada and how those hardships originate from the roots of this country’s violent colonial past. It also exemplifies the truth about cultural genocide as an ever-present and ongoing atrocity, which is still very much taking place at the behest of the Canadian-state[37].

Yet, in the face of all this injustice, the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island have never relinquished their territory, nor their spirit of resistance. Even today, Indigenous peoples living within the borders of so-called Canada demonstrate the same resilience that characterized their struggle with European colonizers during the age of discovery[38].

As settlers on Turtle Island, we have a duty to accurately acknowledge and communicate that this grim historical period of colonial domination and occupation has never really ended. It is also essential for us to proactively prevent further colonial myths from presenting themselves in the face of increased historical denial, and revisionism[39].

These ongoing acts of colonial violence, displacement, cultural erasure, and holistic genocide are not merely historical subjects to be debated but represent the continued reality that many Indigenous communities on Turtle Island grapple with each and every day[40].

Our Mission

The main objective with this content is to build towards a profound understanding of the disastrous human catastrophe that accompanied the Europeans, and their so-called discovery and colonization of the New World[41]. We hope to contribute to what is an ongoing conversation surrounding the history of the Canadian state, born from the conquest of Turtle Island, and raised to deny its colonial roots[42].

In this episode, we will begin a journey that will take us into the shadows of our own history, unearthing complex roots that will point us towards a significant confrontation with our collective past and all of the genocidal, colonial implications[43].

As for the word “Canada,” it is said to originate from the St. Lawrence Mohawk word “kanata,” meaning “village” or “settlement”[44]. But the story of the land that makes up present day Canada goes back much further than the word itself[45].

Long before Canada was even a glimmer in a European settler’s eye, this land was home to many vibrant civilizations of Indigenous peoples[46]. Resilient communities that have been woven into the fabric of this land for thousands upon thousands of years, and while it may not seem that way on the surface, the true essence of this land that what makes up so-called Canada is still very much rooted in the traditions, customs, and histories of the Indigenous peoples who have inhabited these lands long before European settlers ever arrived[47].

This is where we will begin our examination of the Doctrine of Discovery’s colonial impacts. First, by understanding what life was like for Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island in the era before the grips of European colonialism took hold[48].

Confronting Colonial Mythology

New research is rewriting the narrative about the history of Turtle Island and the Indigenous peoples that first inhabited these lands[49]. Modern scholars are beginning to challenge many deeply ingrained misconceptions that have unjustly branded the lives of these pre-Colonial Indigenous peoples as overly simplistic, unenlightened, or abandoned by the progress of civilization[50].

However, evidence suggests that pre-Colonial Indigenous societies on Turtle Island were highly sophisticated and socially advanced, thriving across the Western Hemisphere, long before Europeans began to even etch images on cave walls[51].

In fact, by the time Christopher Columbus embarked on his first voyage in 1492, the population of the Meso and Southern regions of the so-called New World, were believed to have exceeded that of the European Old World[52]. The cultural richness among these pre-Colonial Indigenous societies also outpaced their European counterparts in many ways, a fact that is often overlooked due to an entrenched cultural bias[53].

This misrepresentation of Indigenous history isn’t confined to Turtle Island. Western ethnocentrism has not only affected how we perceive geography, causing the distortion of Africa’s actual size in world maps like the Mercator projection, but it has also skewed the interpretation of Indigenous history in the so-called New World[54]. These distortions often lead to the marginalization of Indigenous civilizations beyond the well-documented Aztec or Inca empires[55].

The common narrative tends to depict the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island as passive inhabitants of a pristine wilderness[56]. This viewpoint has even been echoed by prominent historians of the 20th century, who described these Indigenous territories as “empty space,” “wilderness,” and “virgin land”[57].

This contemptuous attitude towards the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island has seeped so deep into societal consciousness that it is often accepted as a truism, requiring no proof of concept, and is merely passed down by anecdotal repetition from one generation to the next[58]. This strategic devaluation of the demographic, cultural, and moral significance of Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island is part of a politically-driven narrative often referred to as “colonial mythology”[59].

Like the colonial myths that underpinned South Africa’s apartheid system, these narratives distort population estimates and exaggerate notions of Indigenous barbarism to rationalize colonial conquests[60]. These fabricated histories serve to justify the decimation of Indigenous peoples cultures and alleviate any moral discomfort associated with colonization[61].

This trend of colonial mythology isn’t exclusive to Turtle Island —it can also be seen in South Africa, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, in Central and South America and in many other societies worldwide that have experienced colonial and post-colonial rule[62]. These narratives, following imperialistic logic, begin by erasing Indigenous knowledge and traditions[63].

Once the Indigenous peoples have been expunged from collective memory, the colonizers assert their moral and intellectual right to conquer lands for the purpose of what is often said to be human progress, and civility[64].

To maintain a self-congratulatory national narrative, dispossessed Indigenous territories are seldom recognized as sovereign or separate nations, but are included within the colonial state’s borders and national identity[65]. Meanwhile, demands to establish an honest narrative about the truth of these historical land seizures and acts of ethnic genocide remain largely unanswered, or ignored completely[66].

Thankfully, as mentioned, a growing number of mainstream scholars now challenge these colonial narratives and strive to correct the problematic portrayal of indigenous societies before European contact[67]. However, some counter-arguments to this viewpoint, particularly from those who lack familiarity with these histories, risk idolizing pre-Colonial Indigenous civilization[68].

Hence, it’s extremely important to maintain a balanced viewpoint that acknowledges both the intricate sophistications and mundane normalities of these Indigenous societies, while also resisting the romanticizing of them as paradisiacal or utopian[69].

With that said, what we know is that despite facing many material hardships, Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island in the pre-Colonial era led lives marked by a harmonious relationship with nature, and the bonds in which that relationship forged between themselves, the natural world, their collective social behavior, and state structures[70].

Early Human Arrival in the Americas: Chronology and Migration Theories

The story of the first human habitation of Turtle Island is a complex narrative rife with contentious scholarly debates and speculations, which is shaped by an array of disciplines including archaeology, genetics, anthropology, and paleoclimatology[71].

The prevailing theory long proposed that the initial human migration onto Turtle Island occurred via Beringia, a land bridge that connected what is now Alaska and eastern Siberia during the Last Glacial Maximum (approximately 26,000 to 19,000 years ago)[72]. The harsh climatic conditions during this time period compelled these early inhabitants, most likely hunter-gatherers, to hunker down in Beringia’s refuge zones, a period of time termed the “Beringian standstill”[73].

This period’s termination marked many significant environmental shifts. The retreat of colossal glaciers, synonymous with the end of the Wisconsin glaciation period, allowed these early humans to embark towards newly accessible territory southwards[74]. As the climate warmed, glaciers receded, the ice-free corridor between the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets opened, and a route into the heart of the Americas became navigable[75].

This notable journey involved overcoming myriad environmental obstacles, including rugged landscapes, diverse climates, and an array of fauna[76]. However, the early settlers proved to be incredibly resilient and adaptive, not just surviving but thriving in these novel ecosystems[77].

Moreover, their descendants embarked on an extensive southward migration that led to the occupation of nearly every habitable corner of the continent, ranging from the upper Midwestern United States to the southernmost tip of South America, Tierra del Fuego[78].

But the Beringian migration route isn’t the only hypothesis. More recently, scholars proposed an early coastal migration pathway, where early migrants might have traveled south along the Pacific coastline, either by sea or through a narrow, glaciated continental shelf exposed due to low sea levels[79]. This theory is buoyed by archaeological evidence from other parts of the globe showing successful sea migrations to places like New Guinea and Australia around 50,000 years ago[80].

Key archaeological sites, such as the Monteverde site in Chile, have produced evidence of early human habitation dating back at least 13,000 years, with artifacts ranging from wooden structures and animal bones to grinding stones and plant remains[81]. This evidence, along with other archaeological findings, supports the existence of sophisticated human societies in both the northern and southern parts of the continent thousands of years ago[82].

Despite such compelling evidence, doubts and skepticism persist, especially given the lack of early human presence in eastern Siberia and the absence of non-modern human skeletal remains in the Americas[83]. However, these doubts have been scrutinized with the advent of more sophisticated dating techniques and archaeological discoveries in the late 20th century, making the debate over the exact timeline of the first human settlement of the Americas far from conclusive[84].

Kennewick Man and Early Human Migration

In 1996, along the banks of the Columbia River in Washington State, a significant archaeological finding occurred. A remarkably well-preserved Paleoamerican skeleton surfaced along the river bank, estimated to be around 9,000 years old[85]. This relic of ancient times became popularly known as the ‘Kennewick Man’, or simply the ‘Ancient One'[86].

The discovery’s relevance increased greatly almost two decades later, in 2013, with new advancements in DNA analysis[87]. The Kennewick Man’s physical characteristics sparked theories of varied migration sources in prehistoric times. Yet, linking him genetically to initial Beringian or Asian populations has been complex due to difficulties in categorizing ancient DNA[88].

Although Siberia is often cited as an early migration source, concrete archaeological evidence is lacking[89]. Some speculate these ancient migrants preferred coastal climates, with traces of their journey possibly erased by subsequent marine activity[90]. It’s also possible that Beringia, extending far south during glacial peaks, may have harbored migrants from different regions, challenging the assumption of Siberia being the sole source of migration[91].

In the northeastern regions of Turtle Island, archaeological evidence of early human presence that is more than 42,000 years old is limited[92]. However, Archaeology as a discipline has continually reinforced the understanding that a lack of evidence doesn’t equate to evidence of absence[93]. Site degradation and loss are common phenomena in severe environments, and there is always room for new discoveries[94].

This is especially relevant considering the vast time discrepancy between evidence of modern humans in the northeast regions of Turtle Island and elsewhere, possibly up to over 100,00 years[95].

Even the belief that modern humans emerged around 42,000 to 52,000 years ago is now being debated, with new estimates indicating modern humans appeared significantly earlier, perhaps close to 200,000 years ago[96].

Advancements in linguistics and genetics have contributed to understanding the timeline and routes of the initial human migration to Turtle Island[97]. Evidence points to multiple major population movements over the last 50,000 years[98].

The tremendous diversity of languages and cultures along the western coast of so-called Canada, especially near Vancouver, suggests it may have been an early human dispersal route[99].

Despite many disruptions, indigenous cultures of this region have persisted for over thousands of years, with over 100 tribes and First Nations dispersed across regions from B.C. to Idaho today[100].

Linguistic Diversity and Pre-European Settlements

Before the arrival of Europeans in 1492, Turtle Island was known for its impressive mix of diverse languages. It is estimated that there were between 1500 and 2000 different languages, which came from more than 150 unique language families[101]. In the years prior to European contact, no other place in the world had such a wide range of language diversity[102].

The roots of these languages have long been a subject of academic contention[103]. Some scholars argue that these languages evolved from a single ancestral language spoken by an early migratory group to North America around 50,000 years ago[104]. More recent studies have countered this theory, showing that the linguistic diversity is too advanced to have been derived from less than the known 150 language families[105].

Historian David Stannard’s influential book, “American Holocaust,” provides a deep dive into the geographical and linguistic diversity in North America during the last ice age, a period that stretched from approximately 14,000 to 1,000 years ago[106]. His research underscores the vibrant cultural diversity that marked this era, hinting at numerous unique language groups scattered across various regions of the continent[107].

One of the pivotal insights from Stannard’s work is the likelihood that distinct populations resided in isolation for extended periods[108]. This isolation could have fostered the development of unique languages and cultural practices, each mirroring the distinctive environmental conditions and resources of the region they inhabited[109].

The timeline and population size of this expansive southward migration remain subjects of substantial academic discussion and interpretation[110]. Understanding the migration patterns of these indigenous groups is key to unraveling the story of the early histories of Turtle Island[111].

What we know now is that by around 17,000 years ago, indigenous societies had taken root across various regions of Turtle Island[112]. These included areas like the Pacific Coast, the Northern Plains, and the eastern woodlands beyond the Rocky Mountains[113]. Their survival strategies largely revolved around hunting and gathering a diverse array of fauna and plant species[114].

These groups generally moved from the north to the south and from the west to the east, tracking the availability of resources[115]. Interestingly, some groups traced a different trajectory, advancing northwards in alignment with the retreat of the ice age glaciers[116]. This evolution of migration patterns reflects the high capacity for adaptability in these early Indigenous societies[117].

Similar to the debate on migration, we see an even more contentious debate about the pre-Colonial population levels of Turtle Island, which continues to attract considerable academic interest today[118].

Recent research indicates that the pre-Colonial population could have ranged from 75 to 145 million, a drastic departure from the initially estimated 8 million[119]. This dramatic shift in population figures, resulting from a reevaluation of historical evidence, presents a counter to many traditional colonial narratives[120].

It uncovers a pre-European Turtle Island that was not only far more populous but also imbued with a level of cultural diversity far exceeding previous assumptions[121]. This new revised perspective offers a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the history of these lands and the early Indigenous peoples that inhabited them before the era of colonization[122].

Reassessing Columbus and Early Colonial Narratives

Current historical understandings recognize Christopher Columbus not as the inaugural discoverer of so-called America, but instead as one of many European colonizers to venture there during the age of discovery[123].

This viewpoint aligns with German cartographer Martin Waldzemeler’s 1507 world map, which labeled the newfound territory as “America”, in honor of the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci[124].

Vespucci discerned that the landmass of Turtle Island was a distinct entity, rather than an offshoot of the Asian continent[125]. Ironically, this recognition of a separate landmass is a discovery often misattributed to Columbus, rather than the namesake, Vespucci[126].

This initial wave of European colonizers on Turtle Island and the Caribbean Islands triggered a series of colonization efforts, with various Spanish figures leading the charge. Among them were Juan Ponce de León and Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón, who each left an enduring imprint on the colonial history of Turtle Island[127].

Ponce de León, initially part of Columbus’s second voyage, later initiated his own colonial pursuits in the Southeast United States[128]. Meanwhile, Ayllón strove to create a colony in modern-day Georgia, establishing the transient settlement of San Miguel de Gualdape in 1526[129].

Though, Spanish colonization efforts of this era were far from an uninterrupted success story. Pánfilo de Narváez’s ill-fated expedition to Florida in 1528 serves as an example, as it resulted in widespread death among his crew[130].

Notwithstanding the disastrous expedition, survivor Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca lived among several Indigenous tribes in areas of present day Texas and northern Mexico, unwittingly facilitating a cultural cross-pollination with the Indigenous inhabitants of Turtle Island and Old World Europeans[131].

A host of other individuals, including the notorious Hernán Cortés, Francisco Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, and Vasco Núñez de Balboa, have left their stamp on the historical record due to the profound colonial influence they exerted during the formation of the so-called “New World”[132].

Reports from these explorers suggested high indigenous populations in the colonized regions. Bartolomé de Las Casas projected that Hispaniola housed between 3 and 4 million inhabitants[133], while Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo estimated Panama and southern Central America hosted approximately 2 million indigenous people[134]. These figures, however, have recently been subject to strict re-evaluation as indigenous populations are known to have suffered steep declines during the period of these observations, following the onset of colonization[135].

Insights from the Vancouver School’s Research

By the 1920s, scholarly consensus suggested the 1492 Americas’ population was no more than 40 to 50 million, later reduced to less than 14 million[136]. Anthropologist Alfred L. Kroeber proposed 8.4 million for the Western Hemisphere, including under 1 million in Canada, and called for region-specific analysis[137].

A team from the University of British Columbia, featuring Carl Sauer, Sherburne F. Cook, and Woodrow Borah, undertook this task[138]. They examined extensive data, including church and government archives, leading to innovative demographic techniques known as the ‘Vancouver School'[139].

Their analysis estimated 25 million people in central Mexico and 8 million in Hispaniola[140]. By the 1960s, based on numerous studies, Borah suggested a pre-Columbian population exceeding 100 million[141]. Anthropologist Henry F. Dobbins later concluded that the Americas hosted 90 to 112 million people pre-Spanish arrival, a radical departure from previous estimates[142].

Due to Vancouver School’s rigorous analysis, pre-Columbian population estimates have significantly increased, providing insights into early human history and pre-European Americas, despite uncertainties[143].

Indigenous Diversity: Revealing Turtle Island’s Culture

Pre-colonial Indigenous societies of Turtle Island showcased a vibrant diversity in their social and political structures, suited to their specific locales and historical contexts, spanning from the furthest reaches of the Arctic down to the Peruvian Andes[144].

The Northwestern region of Turtle Island, stretching from Alaska to present-day Washington State, was a melting pot of diverse cultures, which included the Haida, Tlingit, Modocs, Chinooks, Makah, and many others[145]. These societies, renowned for their warrior strength, extended their influence as far south as present day California[146].

A significant aspect of these cultures was the way they visually represented their societal structures and hierarchies through the creation of totem poles[147]. These intricate wood works of art, made from tree logs, served as cultural signposts, conveying narratives of family lineages, historical events, and spiritual beliefs, further reinforcing their societal dynamics[148].

The social structure of these Northwestern Turtle Island societies incorporated a class of servants, largely comprised of war captives, who made up around a quarter of the population[149].

While this system was compared to a form of chattel slavery by early European observers, it more closely resembled to, for lack of a better comparison, the role of draft animals in Medieval Europe[150]. These servants were not subjected to undue cruelty or violence, but were in fact assigned lifetime labor tasks or caregiving roles[151].

Yet, despite the seemingly dominating class-based structure, these societies did operate within a form of egalitarianism subtly interwoven into their social fabric[152]. This egalitarian approach was prominently showcased in their practice of the potlatch ceremony[153].

These gatherings, characterized by extravagant feasts and competitive gift-giving, were a means to redistribute, and at times even intentionally destroy, surplus wealth rather than hoarding it[154].

This potlatch tradition underlined the societies’ commitment to community benefit over individual accumulation, thereby fostering an undercurrent of equality, even amidst their defined class hierarchy[155].

Heading further south to the Pacific coastal lands that make up present day California, the Chumash, Cahuilla, and Gabrielino or Tongva tribes exhibited unique cultural facets[156]. Through their comprehensive mutual aid and trade networks, and multicultural feasts, they displayed remarkable adaptability to their natural and social environments[157].

The concept of a servant class, prevalent in the north, was not entirely foreign to these tribes due to occasional incursions by northern raiding tribes[158]. Such interactions, however, led to a significant cultural schismogenesis within the Indigenous societies of this region[159].

Instead of adopting similar social structures, they resisted forming a servant class, fostering a more balanced societal system. This difference became a defining feature of their social identity[160].

As the Northwestern communities increasingly channeled their cultural and ceremonial expressions towards the motif of masculine-dominated aggression, the lower Pacific societies responded in kind, pivoting their focus towards matriarchal knowledge and feminine symbolism, and vice versa[161].

This is far from a rarity, but the relationship between the lower Pacific villagers and their Northwestern counterparts offers a striking case in point when it comes to an example of how these kinds of schismogenetic contrasts between neighboring societies are formed[162].

The social, cultural, and spiritual practices of the lower Pacific villagers would have appeared completely alien and unfamiliar to those inhabiting the Northwest, just as the practices of the Northwest inhabitants would have seemed utterly foreign and strange to the villagers of the lower Pacific[163].

It’s important to note, however, that the distinction in these societal structures were not born merely out of whimsical choice or tradition, but rational responses to their respective environmental, ecological and social circumstances[164].

In the case of the Indigenous societies of the northwest, where terrestrial food was scarce but marine life was bountiful, a system had to be developed to swiftly handle and mass harvest fresh fish, nearly instantly[165].

This task demanded a sizable labor force. Yet, satisfying such labor needs posed a quandary within the existing social fabric. Tribal chiefs found themselves at odds with having to implore their own tribe members into such rigorous labor, as such a move would potentially erode their authority and unsettle their position of power[166]. Acknowledging this delicate balance, they forged a new path, by sourcing a servant class from other tribes, thereby ensuring an adequate supply of manpower[167].

On the other hand, the tribes in the lower Pacific region had access to a wealth of terrestrial resources. Because of this, they didn’t depend heavily on marine life as a main food source. As a result, there was no demand for a large labor force as seen to their north, which allowed them to develop a more balanced and equal society[168].

The differences between the two not only reflect adaptive responses to their distinct environmental conditions, but also indicate their comparative adaptation to one another, which offers profound insights into societal evolution under these compounding circumstances[169].

However, it’s also important to recognize that this is a generalized comparison and not an absolute rule in any way. Obviously, first of all, I’m in no way an expert, this is an amateur endeavor, and due to time constraints, the goal here is not to detail an all-encompassing truth, but just to outline these broad cultural differences observed between these two regions[170].

Indigenous Agricultural and Architectural Acumen

Further southwest, communities like the Papago, Pima, and Mojave displayed remarkable cultural diversity[171]. Notable societies like the Anasazi, Hohokam, and Moga Yan also profoundly influenced the social, cultural, and architectural landscapes of this region[172].

In fact, the southwestern region of Turtle Island showcases one of the most ideal examples of Indigenous agricultural acumen in pre-colonial times, with some methods still being employed today[173].

The Hohokam, an ancient Indigenous civilization tracing its roots back nearly seventeen hundred years, developed comprehensive irrigation networks enabling their existence in the harsh Sonoran desert[174].

With their homeland stretching across the dry terrain of the Salt and Gila River Valleys, where rainfall was a rare occurrence, the Hohokam engineered a novel irrigation methodology[175]. This creation is hailed as one of the most advanced irrigation systems on the globe during the peak of its use[176].

Canals that could reach up to eight feet in depth and thirty feet in width, spanning miles, transformed inhospitable terrains into lush agricultural spaces[177]. These waterways were not confined to a single use but were prudently conserved to cultivate riparian, that is, riverbank vegetation[178]. The design of this canal system ingeniously maximized each ounce of water, ensuring not a single drop was wasted[179].

These remarkable achievements signified the cooperative and collective nature of these societies, which strikingly contrasted with both their neighbors in the mid-Pacific and Northwestern regions of Turtle Island[180].

Contrary to their Northwestern neighbors, who relied on a well-structured workforce frequently resulting in a servant class due to their fishing economy, this society flourished through an alternate collectivist model[181]. For the Hokem peoples, sustaining life was a shared responsibility, not divided by class, but borne by every community member[182].

In this society, the task of managing the intricate infrastructures was collectively handled. All members contributed their labor based on the community’s needs[183]. For example, planters were not only confined to agricultural duties but also served as guardians, protecting their crops from potential threats like pests and wildlife[184].

Key agricultural phases such as planting and harvesting witnessed a large group effort and participation from the entire community. This shared responsibility negated the need for a specific servant class or workforce, leading to minimal class differences, unlike their Northwestern counterparts[185].

In comparison to their immediate mid-Pacific neighbors, the distinction emerges from the variance in resource availability. While the tribes in the mid-Pacific region enjoyed an abundance of terrestrial resources, negating the need for a clear servant class, the Hokaham were driven to establish a unique labor and resource management system[186]. This necessity wasn’t done by choice or as a socio-economic experiment but rather as a survival imperative born out of their harsh desert environment[187].

Faced with such conditions, they were forced to adopt a collectivist agricultural approach. However, this collaborative agricultural project wasn’t just about optimizing resources. It was a requirement imposed by their unforgiving desert environment, which binded individual survival to collective agricultural success[188].

Had the environmental conditions been different, more extreme, or had the population been unable to uphold such efforts, it’s likely these people would have been forced to relocate to more hospitable regions[189].

This collectivist practice of advanced agriculture and the evasion of strict social hierarchies only worked because the desert environment necessitated such collective efforts for individual survival[190]. It was not a preferred choice, as much as it was a survival strategy, demanding the entire community’s dedication and commitment for effective functioning[191].

The unprecedented canal system, unrivaled in its magnitude in its time, provided water, and consequently food, for a significant rural population. In fact, portions of the Hohokam canal system remain operative today, catering fresh water access to the metropolitan region of so-called Phoenix, Arizona[192].

The intellectual prowess of these ancient Indigenous civilizations in the south west of Turtle Island were not limited to agriculture but extended to architectural supremacy, as well. The Anasazi civilization, especially, made a profound impact with their architectural ingenuity in the San Juan Basin, located in the area presently known as the Four Corners region of the United States[193].

Pueblo Bonito, an immense, multi-tiered residential complex believed to have been constructed over 1100 years ago, and capable of housing more than 1200 inhabitants in its heyday, validates their superior construction capabilities[194]. Their architectural accomplishments were unmatched on Turtle Island until the inception of the apartment complex in Manhattan in the 19th century[195].

However, despite a multitude of these structures and settlements spread across the Grand Canyon, only a small fraction have been thoroughly researched, as extensive colonial incursions by looters and frontier era artifact thieves have deprived these sites of any meaningful archaeological exploration[196].

Southeastern Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island

Turning the lens towards the Southeastern region of Turtle Island, home to today’s American colonial states, such as so-called North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, and more. This region was once a rich land filled with diverse Indigenous cultures[197].

North Carolina was home to tribes like the Cape Fear, Chickanee, (kah·taa·buh) Catawba, and (chuh-RAW) Cheraw Indigenous peoples[198]. Further south, the Chickasaw and (Cha-key-uma) Chakchiuma tribes found their homes in Alabama and Mississippi, though their descendants now live in present-day Oklahoma[199].

Florida, a cultural epicenter for the Chine, Calusa, (cha·taat) Chatot, and the Seminole tribes, continues to have a vibrant Indigenous presence in this region[200]. The Seminoles, also having communities in Oklahoma and present day Mexico, exemplify the extensive diaspora of these cultures[201].

Along the coast of South Carolina, the Chicora peoples made their homes, while the Chawasha tribes lived in the present-day occupied regions of so-called Louisiana[202]. The (chaak·taa) Choctaw peoples originally ranged across Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, though a significant portion of their population now also resides in Oklahoma[203].

In the sprawling territories from western North Carolina to eastern Tennessee and further, the Cherokee tribes thrived, with their descendants now mainly living in North Carolina and Oklahoma[204].

These cultures, each unique in their own right, had certain common social characteristics[205]. The concept of Chiefdoms was a pervasive trait, where social and political hierarchies were determined by birthright[206]. The chiefs, as a result of their birth status, were given the power of authority over their peoples[207].

These tribes also exhibited a distinct class system, with a hereditary nature of inherent social status and privilege[208]. A higher birth class meant more privileges and resources at one’s disposal[209].

Kinship and clan systems, central to these societies, dictated social relationships and responsibilities within their communities[210]. These intricate systems were pivotal to the daily functioning of their societies[211].

Community cooperation, a significant aspect of these cultures, was manifested through reciprocal sharing of resources and indigenous knowledge[212]. This ethos extended to the settlers, who often benefited from the Indigenous people’s knowledge about local food sources and medicinal practices[213].

It’s essential, however, to remember that these societies were far from static. Each tribe had its unique social organization and cultural practices, continually evolving over time[214]. The onslaught of colonization and enforced assimilation policies by European settlers profoundly disrupted these traditional systems, resulting in a permanent shift in the lifestyle of these Indigenous cultures[215].

Complexity of Pre-Columbian Indigenous Societies

Ancient civilizations of Turtle Island showcased a magnificent diversity of distinct socio-political structures, architectural designs, and lifestyle adaptations[216].

Indigenous societies in the continent’s northwest region were sustained by fishing and foraging, which underpinned their settled lifestyles[217]. These societies were characterized by a rigid social hierarchy and vibrant social traditions that bolstered community cohesion, even amidst class division[218].

On the other hand, the Indigenous communities in the sun-kissed lands of what is known as California led a contrasting lifestyle[219]. Their societies upheld an egalitarian division of labor and lacked rigid social structures, thanks to the region’s bountiful resources[220]. This abundance also facilitated the establishment of their sophisticated mutual aid and trade networks, showcasing their deep comprehension of value and exchange[221].

In the Southwest, distinct Indigenous communities literally carved their unique cultural legacies into the landscape[222]. Renowned for their advanced agricultural acumen, these communities displayed an intimate relationship with the land[223]. Their prowess extended to architecture, creating structures that continue to enchant modern scholars[224]. Such feats were made possible due to their collectivist labor division and deep-seated expertise in engineering and design[225].

Geographical attributes and the richness of resources available played a pivotal role in molding these societies[226]. Fertile lands often led to the emergence of settled communities with elaborate labor systems and societal frameworks[227]. In contrast, areas favoring hunting or foraging nurtured more fluid egalitarian societies with less demand for a division of labor[228]. The intricate link between their habitats and societal structures underscores the significant impact of environmental conditions on the cultural and societal evolution of Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island before colonialism began[229].

Regrettably, contemporary historians have often misrepresented these pre-Columbian Indigenous societies, erroneously labeling them as primitive or crude[230]. Even when acknowledging the more advanced civilizations that we will soon explore, such as the Inca, Aztec, or Mississipian, these societies are often considered anomalies rather than representative of the sophistication inherent to these Indigenous cultures[231].

This limited perspective perpetuates the misconception that these Indigenous societies devolved into less egalitarian systems as they expanded[232]. Moreover, the undue focus on practices such as the capturing of servants, or human sacrifice, simplifies and exoticizes the understanding of these intricate cultures, especially when compared to the depravity taking place in the Old World during this same era[233].

Fortunately, there is a progressive shift in this narrative[234]. Historical and anthropological studies are evolving, challenging, and reassessing traditional political narratives[235]. Perspectives once deemed radical or unorthodox are finding their way into mainstream thought[236].

An increasing number of scholars are dedicated to revisiting and revising outdated interpretations of pre-Columbian Indigenous societies on Turtle Island[237]. This effort is helping lead us to a deeper understanding of life on these lands before European colonization began[238].

With this, a more comprehensive and less biased view of these Indigenous cultures’ complexity, sophistication is emerging, along with many notable contributions made to our understanding of human history as a whole[239].

Since The Dawn Of Everything

The late anthropologist David Graeber and archaeologist David Wengrow co-authored the influential book, “The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity” in 2021[240]. The book showcases the remarkable diversity and intricacy of ancient human societies[241].

Contrary to typical historical narratives proposing a linear progression from primitive to complex societies, the book proposes a different perspective, suggesting that early human societies were vast, intricate, and largely decentralized for millennia[242].

“The Dawn of Everything” quickly received global recognition as a bestseller, and was translated into over thirty languages[243]. It drew attention from mainstream media, academic publications, and various renowned thinkers[244].

Graeber and Wengrow question the widely held view of early human societies as small bands of so-called hunter-gatherers, and reject the idea that the rise of agriculture inevitably led to strict social hierarchies[245]. They also dispute the notion of a single dominant societal structure, particularly not until thousands of years after agriculture’s onset[246].

Inuk Peoples

One of the examples presented in the Dawn of Everything is a popular study by French sociologist and anthropologist Marcel Mauss entitled ‘Seasonal Variations of the ‘Eskimo’’[247], which despite the use of the archaic term, the study stands out as a formidable work in early anthropology, blending a sociological lens with insights from human geography[248].

In it, Mauss makes a compelling case: to truly understand a society, one must consider its geographical influences within the intricate web of its social fabric[249].

This symbiotic relationship is shown to continuously adapt to human and environmental changes, with societal structures reflecting their environments, even under the most severe conditions[250].

The example given is in the Arctic, where Indigenous communities like the Inuit embraced sustainable living, adopting a holistic approach to their use of what were sometimes scarce resources[251].

Inuit communities displayed seasonal social adaptations: forming larger, multi-familial groups for collective whale hunting in winter, and dispersing into smaller units with a far less hierarchical structure in the summer[252].

These shifting hunting patterns were strategic choices, consciously adopted to prevent hierarchical tendencies and maintain egalitarian social structures, which is a testament to the Inuit peoples profound understanding of societal formation[253].

In fact, the adaptability of Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island often exceeded the societal customs handed down through their ethnic lineage, as societal practices often reflect their environmental adaptations more than their inherited cultural traditions[254].

The relationship between the environment and social structure is even more clear when we look at Indigenous groups with similar ethnic backgrounds, who have contrasting societal frameworks based on their differing locations and natural living conditions[255].

Mississippian Civilization: Cahokia and Spiro

From the 9th to the 16th century, a distinct civilization through the central region of Turtle Island, known as the Mississippian culture, flourished extensively[256]. Primarily centered around the fertile expanses of the Mississippi River and its tributaries, this vibrant society made significant contributions to the cultural and architectural development of the region[257].

The heart of this impressive civilization was Cahokia, now situated in the southern region of modern-day Illinois[258]. Covering a substantial area of six square miles, Cahokia was a clear representation of the architectural acumen and social organization of Mississippian culture[259].

Its cityscape was adorned with sophisticated earthwork structures, including pyramid-like platform mounds[260]. These structures were multi-functional and served as temples, royal residences, and elite burial sites, showcasing the complexity of their social hierarchy[261].

Despite its core being in Cahokia, the cultural influence of the Mississippian society wasn’t geographically confined to that region, as it extended over 400 miles southwest to Spiro, in what is now known as Oklahoma[262].

Spiro played a crucial role within the expansive trading network of the Mississippians, reaching across the central and midwest regions of Turtle Island and even into the southwest[263].

Encompassing 150 acres, the Spiro town site boasted twelve distinctive earthen mounds and several elaborate earthworks, underlining its cultural importance within the Mississippian domain[264].

The bustling settlement, active from the 9th century till about the year 1450, served as a prominent center of cultural activity for hundreds of years[265]. Even amid a dwindling population beginning in the mid 13th century, Spiro remained relevant as a ceremonial site, maintaining its spiritual significance throughout the region[266].

While both part of the Mississippian culture, Cahokia and Spiro showcased contrasting social structures. Spiro, primarily inhabited by the Caddoans, had a more fluid, less hierarchical society compared to Cahokia[267].

In contrast, Cahokia, distinguished by its intricate city layout and architectural wonders, epitomized the grandeur of Mississippian culture, marking its significance as a beacon of influence throughout this region of Turtle Island[268].

The majesty of this city, however, also came with a demand for a far more organized division of labor, and in turn, led to a much more defined social hierarchy than what was typical in Spiro[269].

The contrasting characters of these two civilizations are visibly reflected in their physical remnants today[270]. In Eastern Oklahoma, a massive spiral mound stands as a silent witness to a bygone society that once thrived. Sadly, its cultural treasures have been pilfered, with the site being left vulnerable over time to both natural degradation and colonial looters[271].

In comparison, Cahokia presents a far different picture. There, a sprawling urban expanse with a huge earthen mound remains intact, bearing witness to the complexity and stability of this society[272].

Its survival perhaps indicates a more structured and advanced societal framework in Cahokia, which was comparable in sophistication to the advanced Maya city-states, or even the Ancient Roman Empire[273].

Enigmatic Connections: Turtle Island and the Roman Empire

Many of these Indigenous societies who inhabited the common areas of the so-called Americas were not transient peoples, as often portrayed, but were of time well-established and well-organized peoples[274].

In comparison to this, the indomitable aura of the ancient Romans is often presented through grand narratives of intricate political systems, architectural marvels, and sophisticated societal structures[275]. But what is not often discussed is the parallels that can be drawn between the two – these Indigenous societies on Turtle Island and that of the Roman Empire of Old Europe[276].

Just as the Romans were renowned for their advanced infrastructure and governance systems[277]. Indigenous societies on Turtle Island also achieved comparable accomplishments[278]. However, due to ethnocentric bias, these achievements are often overlooked in the historical record[279].

Adena and Hopewell

In an era when the Roman Empire exerted its immense influence over Ancient Greece, molding the chronicles of Western civilization, a parallel narrative emerged thousands of miles away across the Atlantic on Turtle Island[280].

Indigenous societies like the Adena, Hopewell, Hohokam, Mississippian and countless others, mirrored their European equivalents, manifesting intricate cultures steeped in tradition, sophisticated urban designs, and broad-reaching trade networks[281].

The reverberations of these once-thriving societies are still palpable today. Through the tenacious efforts of archaeologists, layers of history have been unveiled, spotlighting civilizations such as the Adena across modern-day regions of Turtle Island from so-called Ohio to present day West Virginia[282].

The city planning and architectural mastery of these Indigenous societies on Turtle Island stood toe-to-toe with that of ancient Rome and Greece[283]. Settlements, from humble homes to vast urban communal spaces, were precisely organized in concentric order, surrounding significant religious monuments, sometimes known as ‘sacred circles'[284].

A profound veneration for the dead was a defining characteristic of the Adena culture[285]. Grand tombs, some challenging the magnificence of the Egyptian Pyramids or Roman mausoleums, proudly commemorated their cultural and hereditary lineage[286].

Skillfully harnessing their natural resources, these Indigenous societies became experts in many forms of hunting and fishing, as well as the cultivation of various crops, which showcase an agricultural expertise far more advanced than many European cultures of the same time period[287].

Expansive trade routes reaching to distant locales from the so-called Carolinas all the way up to Lake Superior, sourced treasures such as mica and copper[288].

In tandem with the Adena, the Hopewell culture, another bedrock society of Turtle Island, marked its presence from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, and from Kansas to so-called Western New York[289]. Their distinct earthen landmarks served not only as architectural wonders but also as vessels of profound spiritual and celestial insights[290]. These structures echoed the majestic amphitheaters and temples of many observed in the ancient Old World[291].

Just as the Greeks and Romans extensively traded across the Mediterranean, the Hopewell utilized Turtle Island’s rivers for their commerce, dealing in furs, tools, and fashioning lavish artifacts from copper, silver, and gold[292].

The aforementioned Mississippian culture was another radiant beacon illuminating Turtle Island’s vast central expanse[293]. Their monumental undertakings, spiritual endeavors, and extensive trade and mutual aid networks further cemented the notion that advanced civilization’s heart rhythm was not confined solely to that of the Old World[294].

These Indigenous cultures symbolized the rich, diverse continuum of human advancement on Turtle Island, and like the much more talked about European empires that ascended and left their eternal legacy on world history, these Indigenous cultures also engraved their distinct signatures onto the land of pre-colonial Turtle Island[295].

When comparing these impressive Indigenous civilizations with ancient European realms, we are faced with this overarching realization. Across diverse lands, time periods, and eras of various empires, human beings, fueled by similar goals, apprehensions, and visions, have consistently sculpted history, crafted beauty, and pursued cosmic and spiritual comprehension, intertwining our existence into a deep understanding and conscious expression of our collective human nature, and species being[296].


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[211] Waselkov, G. A. (1992). A Conquering Spirit: Fort Mims and the Redstick War of 1813-1814. University of Alabama Press.

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[213] Hudson, C. (1976). Black Drink: A Native American Tea. University of Georgia Press.

[214] Milanich, J. T. (1994). Archaeology of Precolumbian Florida. University Press of Florida.

[215] O’Brien, G. M. (ed.). (2008). Pre-removal Choctaw History: Exploring New Paths. University of Oklahoma Press.

[216] Mann, C. C. (2006). 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. Vintage.

[217] Suttles, W. (1990). Northwest Coast. Handbook of North American Indians.

[218] Drucker, P. (1955). Indians of the Northwest Coast. Natural History Press.

[219] Lightfoot, K. G. (2005). Indians, Missionaries, and Merchants: The Legacy of Colonial Encounters on the California Frontiers. University of California Press.

[220] Kroeber, A. L. (1925). Handbook of the Indians of California. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin.

[221] Blackburn, T. C., & Anderson, K. (Eds.). (1993). Before the Wilderness: Environmental Management by Native Californians. Ballena Press.

[222] Cordell, L. S. (1997). Archaeology of the Southwest. Academic Press.

[223] Diamond, J. (2005). Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. W. W. Norton & Company.

[224] Doelle, W. H. (2000). Tucson Underground: The Archaeology of a Desert Community. Archaeology Southwest Magazine.

[225] Haury, E. W. (1976). The Hohokam: Desert Farmers and Craftsmen. University of Arizona Press.

[226] Fagan, B. (2005). Ancient North America: The Archaeology of a Continent. Thames & Hudson.

[227] Smith, B. D. (2011). The Subsistence Economies of Indigenous North American Societies: A Handbook. Smithsonian Institution.

[228] Burch, E. S. (2006). Social Life in Northwest Alaska: The Structure of Inuit Eskimo Societies. University of Alaska Press.

[229] Silverman, H., & William, I. (2008). Handbook of South American Archaeology. Springer.

[230] Trigger, B. G. (1984). Alternative Archaeologies: Nationalist, Colonialist, Imperialist. Man, 19(3), 355-370.

[231] D’Altroy, T. N. (2014). The Incas. Wiley.

[232] Smith, M. E. (1996). The Aztecs. Wiley.

[233] Pauketat, T. R. (2009). Cahokia: Ancient America’s Great City on the Mississippi. Penguin.

[234] Jennings, J. (2010). Globalizations and the Ancient World. Cambridge University Press.

[235] Patterson, T. C. (1999). The Inca Empire: The Formation and Disintegration of a Pre-Capitalist State. Berg.

[236] Restall, M. (2003). Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest. Oxford University Press.

[237] Trigger, B. G. (2006). A History of Archaeological Thought. Cambridge University Press.

[238] Willey, G. R., & Sabloff, J. A. (1993). A History of American Archaeology. W.H. Freeman.

[239] Trigger, B. G. (1989). A History of Archaeological Thought. Cambridge University Press.

[240] Graeber, D., & Wengrow, D. (2021). The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

[241] Ibid.

[242] Ibid.

[243] “Best Sellers – The New York Times”, The New York Times, 2021.

[244] Reviews of The Dawn of Everything in major publications such as The Guardian, The Times, and Nature.

[245] Graeber, D., & Wengrow, D. (2021). The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

[246] Ibid.

[247] Graeber, D., & Wengrow, D. (2021). The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

[248] Mauss, M. (1979). Seasonal Variations of the Eskimo: A Study in Social Morphology. Routledge & Kegan Paul.

[249] Ingold, T. (2000). The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill. London: Routledge.

[250] Ibid.

[251] Nuttall, M. (1992). Arctic Homeland: Kinship, Community, and Development in Northwest Greenland. University of Toronto Press.

[252] Wenzel, G. W. (1991). Animal Rights, Human Rights: Ecology, Economy, and Ideology in the Canadian Arctic. University of Toronto Press.

[253] Ingold, T. (2000). The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill. London: Routledge.

[254] Ibid.

[255] Helander, E., & Kailo, K. (1998). No Beginning, No End: The Sami Speak Up. Circumpolar Research Series.

[256] Anderson, D. G., & Mainfort Jr, R. C. (2002). The Woodland Southeast. University of Alabama Press.

[257] Pauketat, T. R. (2009). Cahokia: Ancient America’s Great City on the Mississippi. Penguin Group.

[258] Ibid.

[259] Emerson, T. E., & Lewis, R. B. (1991). Cahokia and the hinterlands: Middle Mississippian cultures of the Midwest. University of Illinois Press.

[260] Pauketat, T. R. (2007). Cahokia: Domination and Ideology in the Mississippian World. University of Nebraska Press.

[261] Ibid.

[262] Sabo III, G., & Early, A. M. (1990). Prehistoric culture history: Arkansas Archeological Survey research series. Arkansas Archeological Survey.

[263] Brown, J. A. (1996). The Spiro Ceremonial Center: The Archaeology of Arkansas Valley Caddoan Culture in Eastern Oklahoma. Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan.

[264] Ibid.

[265] Ibid.

[266] Sabo III, G., & Early, A. M. (1990). Prehistoric culture history: Arkansas Archeological Survey research series. Arkansas Archeological Survey.

[267] La Vere, D. (2013). The Caddo Chiefdoms: Caddo Economics and Politics, 700-1835. University of Alabama Press.

[268] Pauketat, T. R. (2007). Cahokia: Domination and Ideology in the Mississippian World. University of Nebraska Press.

[269] Pauketat, T. R. (2009). Cahokia: Ancient America’s Great City on the Mississippi. Penguin Group.

[270] Emerson, T. E., & Lewis, R. B. (1991). Cahokia and the hinterlands: Middle Mississippian cultures of the Midwest. University of Illinois Press.

[271] Brown, J. A. (1996). The Spiro Ceremonial Center: The Archaeology of Arkansas Valley Caddoan Culture in Eastern Oklahoma. Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan.

[272] Pauketat, T. R. (2007). Cahokia: Domination and Ideology in the Mississippian World. University of Nebraska Press.

[273] Beck, R. A. (2013). Chiefdoms, Collapse, and Coalescence in the Early American South. Cambridge University Press.

[274] Mann, C. C. (2006). 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. Vintage Books.

[275] Beard, M. (2016). SPQR: A history of ancient Rome. Liveright Publishing.

[276] Trigger, B. G. (1985). Natives and newcomers: Canada’s “Heroic Age” reconsidered. McGill-Queen’s Press – MQUP.

[277] Goldsworthy, A. K. (2010). How Rome fell: Death of a superpower. Yale University Press.

[278] Mann, C. C. (2006). 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. Vintage Books.

[279] Deloria, V. Jr. (1999). Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto. University of Oklahoma Press.

Video Clips Used in Episode

Catholic Church repudiates Doctrine of Discovery that justified Indigenous oppression – CBC News

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologizes to the Tsilhqot’in Nation | APTN News

Russ Diabo: Our people are demanding fundamental change | APTN Face To Face

Russell Diabo: a Chronology of Canada-First Nations Relationship

Video rewind: July 28, 1996 — It’s the Kennewick Man!

The Kennewick Man (CBC 1996)

Learning and Teaching The Truth of the Last 500 Years of Colonialism

The Sopranos about Columbus

Graeber and Wengrow on the Myth of the Stupid Savage

David Graeber – Delivers a talk on ‘Indigenous’ peoples.

“The Dawn of Everything”: David Wengrow & the Late David Graeber On a New History of Humanity

Episode Track List

John Tavener – The Protecting Veil for Cello and Orchestra

Tio’tiake – Montreal

National Indigenous Peoples Day Concerts at Cabot Square, Montréal, Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Miserere Mei (Drill Remix) Free Track Helium Choir

Miserere Mei but It’s Drill Beat

I Never Knew, from Savage, by Doug Brandt

Tsilhqot’in – The River Song

The Rebel Spell – The Tsilhqot’in War

#Mashups Return to Burn Your Village to the Ground

The Halluci Nation – Burn Your Village to the Ground

Native Flute Type Beat – Spirit Dance Prod. OvenBakedBeatz & Yung Wunda

Karkwa – Coup

Lee Reed – No Kanada (Instrumental)

Native American Type Beat – Calm Hard Trap Freestyle Type Beat Type Beat Dynamit3

Nadav Cohen – Tales from Babylon [Middle Eastern Lofi Hip Hop/Relaxing Beats]

Ice Age Ancestors – Snow Fall, Windy Winter – Tribal Ambient Music – Shamanic Pulse

Listening to Lofi Music with Man in the Stone Age Chill Lo-fi Hip-Hop (44100 Hz)

Ancient Aztec and Mayan Traditional Music by Ricardo Lozano featuring Jorge Ramos

Columbus Day Lyric Video – The Kiboomers Preschool Songs & Nursery Rhymes for Holidays

Juan de Triana – Dinos Madre del Donçel – Hespèrion XX

Cortez the Killer (2016 Remaster) (Instrumental)

DaniSogen – Forgotten Rite

L 18 Haida Song

Haida Gwaii August 20th, 2022 Potlatch

Tongva Song #LACMA

Haida – Cousin Tyler Crosby Singing My Drum

Binaural Hand Drumming for Sleep, Study, and Meditation Tonal ASMR Frisson Binaural Hand Drumming ASMR, Tapping Tingly Satisfying Drum Music for Work/Sleep/Study TonalASMR

Native American Lofi Hip Hop & Chillstep Music Relaxing Vibes

Cherokee Drums

Native American Drums Only, Shamanic Drumming, Rhythmic Drumming Meditation, Tribal Drums

Brian Eno – By This River (Lofi Reimagined, BGM)

Brian Eno – Just Another Day HD Stream

Snow Chant Hypnotic Shamanic Drum Journey w/ Throat Singing Forest Ambience De Tantoc a Cahokia

06 – Entering the City with a Future Foretold – James Horner – Apocalypto

Arkandji’s Doomonica II – FatBoySlim – Right Here, Right Now [Slow Version]

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