Opstod sult eller underernæring i indfødte amerikanske samfund?

Opstod sult eller underernæring i indfødte amerikanske samfund?

Kolonisatorer i Amerika betalte ofte indfødte for arbejde med mad og begrundede visheden ved at gøre det som en forbedring i forhold til den angiveligt farlige, uforudsigelige livsstil, de indfødte tidligere førte. For eksempel skrev Fermin Francisco de Lasuén, at missionsneofytter "er sikre på daglig næring, før de levede fra hånd til mund."

Naturligvis var de indfødte samfund relativt stabile. Folk kunne tilkalde en række ressourcer og sociale netværk efter behov. Var der en reel risiko for afsavn eller sult i disse indfødte samfund, før de blev forstyrret?


Jæger-samler

Absolut alle jæger-samlere lever "hånd-til-mund", fejlernæring er almindelig, og sult er ikke bare en "risiko"-det er en permanent trussel.

Dette burde være indlysende, fordi de ikke effektivt kan opbevare overskydende mad og dermed er omfattet af standard rovdyr-bytte-modellen:

masser af mad -> befolkningsudvidelse -> udtømning af fødekilder -> befolkningskontraktion -> masser af mad

indfødte samfund var relativt meget stabile

Middelalderens indre by ligner en moderne college campus "sikker zone" sammenlignet med voldsniveauet i "indfødte samfund".

Folk kunne bruge en lang række ressourcer

Dette er en overdrivelse: en stammejagt hjorte vil sandsynligvis have lidt at falde tilbage på, især om vinteren.

sociale netværk

En stamme er en enkelt social enhed. De jager sammen, de spiser sammen, de sulter sammen. Husk, de kan ikke gemme mad! Ja, nogle har en bedre tipi eller mokasiner, men ikke mad.

En nabostamme kan klare sig bedre (usandsynligt, men muligvis), men afstanden dræber samarbejde. Det er ikke sandsynligt, at de er brystvenner (de angriber hinanden for hele tiden at kidnappe kvinder), og transport af mad er meget svært.

Landbrugssamfund

Disse klarede sig bedre, men ikke meget.

De havde ikke afgrøder med høj udbytte og trækdyr (og dermed hjulet).

Den første betød, at de stadig levede hånd-til-mund (selvom de var bedre end jæger-samlere, fordi kornlager bedre end kød) og den anden betød, at en lokal afgrødefejl (på grund af f.eks. En tørke) ikke kunne dæmpes ved import.

Se Guns, Germs og Steel for detaljer.

Opbevaring af mad

Effektiv madopbevaring er en forholdsvis ny opfindelse. Preindustrielle samfund producerede ikke meget overskydende mad til opbevaring og kunne ikke opbevare, hvis det var så godt.

F.eks. GurvenKaplan2007 omtale

sagen om en Nunamiut Eskimo -gruppe, der omkom i sin helhed, efter at have været sneet ind uden tilstrækkelige fødevarer til at overleve gennem vinteren.

PS. Jeg siger ikke, at hvis en mand ikke fanger sin daglige kvote af fisk/fugle/vildt, så vil hans familie sulte i morgen. De kan overleve på kombinationen af ​​gårsdagens fangst og konens samling. Død fra sult var sandsynligvis ikke en årlig begivenhed. Imidlertid, sult var.

PPS. Yderligere læsning:


Fra en anmeldelse af New York Times (Don't blame Columbus for All the Indianers 'Ills) af bogen The Backbone of History: Health and Nutrition in the Western Hemisphere:

Hvad der dog ikke var blevet klart anerkendt før nu, er, at indfødte amerikaneres generelle helbred tilsyneladende havde været forringet i århundreder før 1492 ... Mere end 12.500 skeletter fra 65 steder i Nord- og Sydamerika - lidt mere end halvdelen af ​​dem fra tidligere -Columbianere-blev analyseret for tegn på infektioner, fejlernæring og andre sundhedsproblemer i forskellige sociale og geografiske omgivelser ... Overraskelsen, sagde Dr. Armelagos, var ikke tegn på mange infektionssygdomme, men at præ-columbianerne ikke blev bedre næret. og generelt sundere ...

De mere mobile, mindre tæt bosatte befolkninger var normalt de sundeste præ-columbianere. De var højere og havde færre tegn på smitsomme læsioner i knoglerne end beboere i store bosættelser. Deres kost var tilstrækkelig rig og varieret, sagde forskerne, for at de stort set kunne undgå symptomerne på barndomsmangel, som stunting og anæmi. Alligevel overlevede i de enkleste jæger-samlersamfund kun få mennesker over 50 år. I de sundeste kulturer i de 1.000 år før Columbus kunne en levetid på højst 35 år være sædvanlig ...

Forskerne fandt en undtagelse fra reglen om, at de sundeste steder for indianere var de ældste steder. Rytter nomader fra Great Plains i Nordamerika i det 19. århundrede syntes at nyde et godt helbred nær toppen af ​​indekset. De var ikke indhegnet til gårde eller byer.


Underernæring i Amerika

Selvom nyhederne er fulde af historier om fejlernæring andre steder i verden, er mange mennesker ikke klar over, at fejlernæring også er et problem i USA.

Underernæring er den tilstand, der udvikler sig, når kroppen er frataget vitaminer, mineraler og andre næringsstoffer, den har brug for for at opretholde sunde væv og organfunktion. Begrebet fejlernæring adresserer tre brede grupper af tilstande:

  • Underernæring, som omfatter stunting (lav højde-for-alder) og undervægtig (lav vægt-for-højde)
  • Overvægtig, fedme og kostrelaterede ikke-smitsomme sygdomme (hjertesygdomme, slagtilfælde, diabetes)
  • Mikronæringsrelateret fejlernæring, som omfatter mangler i mikronæringsstoffer (mangel på vigtige vitaminer og mineraler) eller overskud af mikronæringsstoffer.

I dag er cirka 40 millioner amerikanere og 12 millioner børn usikre i fødevarer, hvilket betyder, at de ofte er tvunget til at springe måltider over og købe billig ikke-nærende mad. Mange familier, der lider af sult og fattigdom, bor i områder, hvor frisk, uforarbejdet sund mad er ikke tilgængelig eller er dyrt.

Fødevaresikkerhed er en kritisk social determinant for sundhed og et komplekst problem, der ikke eksisterer isoleret. Amerikanere fra alle indkomstgrupper mangler at opfylde føderal kostvejledning-indtagende kost for lav i frugt, grøntsager, fuldkorn og fedtfattigt mejeri og indtagelse af kost, der er højt tilsat sukker, natrium og fast fedt. Lavindkomstfamilier kan være særligt sårbar over for dårlig ernæring og fedmepå grund af yderligere risikofaktorer, der er forbundet med utilstrækkelige husstandsressourcer samt samfund, der ikke har ressourcer. Manglende adgang til mad vil sandsynligvis forårsage sundhedsmæssige forskelle for dem med lav socioøkonomisk status (LSES). Fedme påvirker for eksempel uforholdsmæssigt børn, der vokser op med lavere SES, sammenlignet med dem med højere SES. Den dobbelte underernæring (fedme eller en ikke-smitsom sygdom kombineret med underernæring) er udbredt i mere end halvdelen af ​​alle underernærede husstande, der er bosat i USA. Mange familier har ikke de ressourcer, de har brug for til at opfylde de grundlæggende behov og disse udfordringer øge familiens risiko for madusikkerhed.

Underernæring hos børn

I 2018 udsendte American Academy of Pediatrics en banebrydende politisk erklæring, der fremhævede betydningen og irreversibiliteten af ​​1000 -dages vinduet. Den ernæring, børn får i løbet af deres første 1000 dage - fra undfangelsen til deres anden fødselsdag - har en dybtgående indflydelse på, hvordan de udvikler sig. Ingen mængde indhentning kan fuldstændigt løse den tabte tid for den fysiske, mentale og kognitive vækst. Vigtige næringsstoffer, der understøtter neurodevelopment, herunder protein, zink, cholin, folat, jod, vitamin A, D, B6 og B12. Underernæring af hjernen kan producere en lavere IQ- hvilket fører til en levetid for kroniske medicinske problemer, hvilket øger risikoen for fedme, hypertension og diabetes og koster den enkelte fremtidige præstation og jobsucces.

Underernæring hos unge voksne

I USA er mere end halvdelen af ​​alle voksne nu overvægtige - en tilstand, der reducerer arbejdsproduktiviteten og sænker levetiden. Fedme er farligere hos unge voksne, fordi det øger chancerne for kronisk sygdom, herunder diabetes, hypertension, hjertesygdomme, galdeblæresygdom og nogle former for kræft. Ifølge femkantdata fra 2017 var 71 procent af unge amerikanere mellem 17 og 24 ikke berettigede til at tjene i det amerikanske militær. Sagt på en anden måde: Over 24 millioner af de 34 millioner mennesker i den aldersgruppe kunne ikke slutte sig til de væbnede styrker - selvom de ville.

Underernæring hos ældre

Ældre voksne er i risiko for kompromitteret ernæringsstatus på grund af fysiske ændringer i forbindelse med aldring samt kognitive, psykologiske og sociale faktorer som demens, depression isolation og begrænset indkomst. Underernæring hos ældre voksne kan føre til højere risiko for hospitalsindlæggelse, muskelsvaghed og nedsat knoglemasse, hvilket ofte resulterer i fald og brud, et svækket immunsystem og endda øget risiko for død.

I dag kan vi tackle fejlernæring ved at prioritere offentlige politikker, der sikrer tilvejebringelse af tilstrækkelige næringsstoffer og sund kost i løbet af de afgørende 1000 dage, der ville sikre, at alle børn har et tidligt grundlag for optimal neurodevelopment. Øget udnyttelse af føderale ernæringsprogrammer som Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) og Child Nutrition Programs er vigtige, effektive og bredt tilgængelige tiltag for at forbedre sårbare amerikaneres sundhed og velvære. Forskning viser, at disse programmer kan reducere fødevaresikkerhed, lindre fattigdom, støtte økonomisk stabilitet, forbedre kostindtag og sundhed, beskytte mod fedme og øge læring og udvikling. At forbinde mennesker til de føderale ernæringsprogrammer er en kritisk måde at uddanne, støtte og forbedre landets sundhed på. For at håndtere fedme parallelt med fødevaresikkerhed skal nonprofitorganisationer fokusere på at tilbyde lavindkomstmodtagere næringsfyldte fødevarer i modsætning til kalorietætte fødevarer. I øjeblikket måler agenturer ofte succes ved at kvantificere de mennesker eller måltider, der serveres. At tage fat på den dobbelte byrde af underernæring kræver et skift i tankegangen fra mængde på mennesker serverede kvaliteten af ​​den serverede mad og indvirkningen på enkeltpersoner.


Opstod sult eller underernæring i indfødte amerikanske samfund? - Historie

Medianindkomsten for indianske husstande er næsten $ 30.000 mindre end medianindkomsten for hvide husstande.

Mere end 5,5 millioner oprindelige mennesker bor i USA fra mere end 560 indiske nationer. Mange er en del af føderalt eller statsligt anerkendte stammer.

De inkluderer indianere og indfødte i Alaska. Indfødte samfund lever i pueblos, stammer og lokalsamfund, i landdistrikter såvel som i byer i 33 stater, herunder Alaska.

Indfødte samfund har nogle af de højeste sultrater i USA. Som gruppe er hver fjerde indianer og indfødte i Alaska fødevareusikre, defineret som ikke at have regelmæssig, pålidelig adgang til de fødevarer, der er nødvendige for et godt helbred.

Sult blandt oprindelige samfund er et direkte resultat af fattigdom og af systemiske uligheder gennem race- og kønsdiskrimination. Mens USA har en fattigdomsrate på 12,3 procent, har oprindelige samfund en højere fattigdomsgrad - 25,4 procent. Fattigdommen er endnu højere blandt kvindelige husstande (54 procent) og på nogle forbehold (næsten 40 procent).


Hvorfor døde amerikanerne i 1500- og 1600 -tallet af europæiske sygdomme frem for omvendt? 12. august 2007 21:37 Abonner

Faktisk dræbte syfilis ganske mange mennesker, og det er virkelig kun genkendeligt efter kontakten med Amerika. Der var simpelthen ingen effektiv behandling af denne sygdom før moderne antibiotika. Det er på ingen måde en bevist kendsgerning, at syfilis blev indført fra Amerika, vel at mærke, men beviserne er antydende.

Den colombianske udveksling er en interessant bog om de økologiske skader som følge af opdagelsen af ​​den nye verden.
indsendt af winna kl. 21:51 den 12. august 2007

Argumentet mod, at syfilis er en New World -sygdom, er baseret på beviser fra en lignende sygdom, yaws, der er afrikansk oprindelse.

Her er en paleopatologisk artikel om emnet, selvom den er lidt gammel.

Jeg har ikke set nogen afgørende artikler om emnet. På grund af ligheden med flere lignende sygdomme og datidens ekstremt vage lægerapporter kender vi måske aldrig svaret.
indsendt af winna kl. 21:56 den 12. august 2007

For at løse det større spørgsmål udvikler og spredes store pestsygdomme, når der er store koncentrationer af mennesker i lange perioder, så der er masser af agar til at yngle i.

I hvert fald når det kommer til Nordamerika, var betingelserne ikke rigtige for den slags. Befolkningstætheden var lav.

Mellemamerika var mere befordrende, og det er her syphillis menes at være kommet fra.

Men for hele landområdet i den nye verden var der virkelig ikke så mange mennesker, selv når du inkluderer aztekerne, inkaerne og mayaerne. Langt de fleste mennesker - og dens sygdomme - befandt sig i Afrika og Eurasien.
indsendt af Steven C. Den Beste kl. 22:13 den 12. august 2007 [1 favorit]

Og for at være helt klar havde europæerne dengang tæmmet et helt menageri af dyr, herunder grise, køer og kyllinger.

Indianerne havde næsten domesticeret marsvinet og lamaen, og kun i Sydamerika.
indsendt af bshort kl. 22:46 den 12. august 2007

Bshort har det rigtigt, det er mest fordi disse sygdomme stammer fra dyr, som folk har tæt kontakt til, og der bare ikke var ret mange dyr, som (eller rettere kunne have været) tæmmet i Amerika. Som nævnt ovenfor gør Jared Diamond -bogen et fremragende stykke arbejde med at forklare dette.

Det er nu også udbredt opfattelse, at befolkningstætheden i mange dele af Amerika var * højere * end i Europa. Men hvad der skete, var sygdomme spredt fra meget tidlige europæiske kontakter til indfødte amerikanske grupper, derefter til andre indfødte amerikanske grupper, og når europæerne ankom i større antal og udforskede yderligere, var skaden allerede sket i flere generationer.

Meget af det, Steven Beste har skrevet ovenfor, var & quotthe sandheden & quot; indtil meget nyere tid nu er det meget stort set miskrediteret, og der er endda et væsentligt bevis på, at & quot. Jeg graver referencer ud, når jeg har en chance. Jeg er 4000 miles væk fra mit bibliotek i øjeblikket.
indsendt af Dee Xtrovert kl. 02:33 den 13. august 2007 [1 favorit]

Bylivet i 1600- og 1700 -tallets Europa var meget beskidt. Folk døde regelmæssigt og ofte af alle slags sygdomme. De overlevende opbyggede følgelig immuniteter over for disse insekter, men de bar dem stadig i deres kroppe.

Spredning af sygdomme gennem kontakt og handel er relativt let og hurtigt. Selvom indfødte amerikanere var adskilte stammer, var handelen meget omfattende. Så sygdomme på østkysten kunne rejse mod vest, før der overhovedet var kontakt med europæere i vest.
indsendt af JJ86 kl. 05:38 den 13. august 2007

En række svar i denne tråd er baseret på forældede forestillinger, eller simpelthen på, at man har læst Gun, Germs og Steel, hvilket mens det er underholdende bestemt ikke er endegyldigt. Først og fremmest, som for 1491 var der næsten lige så mange mennesker i den & quotnew verden & quot; & quotold & quot; den største by i verden, derfor var stedet med den højeste befolkningstæthed Tenochtitlan, du kender det måske ved det nuværende navn Mexico City .

Ud over de klassiske civilisationer, som alle burde kende, dvs. azteker, mayaer, inkaer, var der hundredvis af andre samfund i hele Nord- og Sydamerika, den østlige kyst af NA var fyldt med mennesker, da europæerne først begyndte at udforske der. Når alt kommer til alt, hvorfor er det så, at der i 1500 var europæere over hele Den Mexicanske Golf, men en permanent europæisk bosættelse blev først oprettet nord for Florida før i 1607? Fordi der allerede var mennesker der, og der var mange af dem!

Dette var ikke et eksempel på kopper, der var redet med kopper, da europæerne ærligt talt havde meget lidt praktisk viden om, hvordan sygdom rent faktisk fungerede, men gennem handel med disse udviklede kystsamfund i løbet af 1500 -tallet udviklede sygdommen sig gradvist til indfødte samfund, der i det væsentlige ikke havde historisk immunitet over for dem.

Med hensyn til hvorfor det ikke strakte sig den anden vej, er jeg sikker på, at der er nogle sygdomme, der gjorde den østlige tur over Atlanterhavet, den mest almindeligt kendte var syfilis, men der er lige så god en chance, der faktisk stammer fra Afrika.

Jeg synes, det ville være en grov overforenkling at sige, at de eneste dyr, der blev domesticeret af præ -columbianske samfund, var nogle få sydamerikanske væsner, man ville finde i Michael Jacksons husdyrpark, men bortset fra udsigt til hunde, der blev brugt til både arbejde og mad (chihuahua's var ikke kæledyr, og de var heller ikke arbejdskraft.) de havde en anden model for domesticering, end den gamle verden gjorde. De var mere miljøledere og skabte miljøer, hvor deres udvalgte maddyr ville favorisere, uden at de egentlig skulle tage sig af dyrene selv, derfor mindre direkte arbejdskraft, mindre kontakt, færre sygdomme. De & quot virgin & quot -skove beskrevet af Smith og Raleigh var faktisk tilgroede rod i & quotorchards & quot havde ikke været tilstrækkeligt plejet i løbet af århundredet, der gentagne gange decimerede indfødte befolkninger gentagne gange.

Man skal også overveje, at landbrugsvidenskaben i den nye verden var meget mere avanceret end i den gamle, og for det meste indfødte folk fik en væsentlig del af deres næringsstoffer fra plantemateriale uden at skulle stole på tamdyr. Deres genialitet, hvad angår domesticering, var i det store og hele rettet mod planter, og europæerne, der høstede denne overdådighed og tog den med sig tilbage igen Europa kunne opleve den dramatiske stigning i landbrugets produktivitet, der gjorde det muligt for flere mennesker at flytte fra gårdene og ind i byerne, som igen førte til opdagelsen af ​​opdagelsestiden og senere den industrielle revolution osv.

Jeg synes, at spørgsmålet er blevet tilstrækkeligt besvaret af tidligere indlæg, men jeg ville tilføje ovenstående. Som historiker er jeg imponeret over den fortsatte opfattelse, ofte vel tilsigtet, at størstedelen af ​​Amerika var en vildmark fuld af hippier, der lever i harmoni med naturen. Det var et folk, der ofte havde en meget mere markant indvirkning på deres miljø, end deres europæiske kolleger gjorde.

Jeg er enig i tanken om, at grunden til, at der ikke dukkede flere sygdomme op i Amerika var, at de indfødte befolkninger var mindre bekymrede for husdyrhold med andre midler til fødevareproduktion, ikke befolkningstæthed.

Jeg vil kraftigt foreslå, at du læser, den colombianske udveksling, som allerede blev nævnt ovenfor af en person, der er meget mindre af en vandretur end jeg er. Jeg kan heller ikke anbefale bogen 1491 stærkt nok, og jeg er ret sikker på, at du kender Guns, Germs og Steel, men det er også værd at tage et kig på, hvis du ikke allerede har gjort det.
indsendt af BobbyDigital kl. 07:13 den 13. august 2007 [12 favoritter]

Der er en helt anden idé, jeg er stødt på: De amerikanske indfødte var ikke så forskelligartede genetisk.

De stammer alle fra et relativt lille antal migranter, der stødte på Beringstrædet i løbet af den sidste istid.

Så hvis en dræbersygdom udefra (f.eks. Kopper) ramte de indfødte, så var de i det væsentlige alle meget sårbare over for det. Derfor har du & quotempty landsbyer & quot i New England.
indsendt af Steven C. Den Beste kl. 08:32 den 13. august 2007

Jeg tror, ​​det ville være en grov overforenkling at sige, at de eneste dyr, der blev domesticeret af præ -columbianske samfund, var et par sydamerikanske væsner, man ville finde i Michael Jacksons husdyrpark, men bortset fra udsigt til hunde, der blev brugt til både arbejde og mad (chihuahua's var ikke kæledyr, og de var heller ikke arbejdskraft.) de havde en anden model for domesticering, end den gamle verden gjorde. De var mere miljøledere og skabte miljøer, hvor deres udvalgte maddyr ville favorisere, uden egentlig at skulle tage sig af dyrene selv, derfor mindre direkte arbejde, mindre kontakt, færre sygdomme.

Vi taler her om virkelig tamdyr, der levede i tæt kontakt med landmænd / etc. Dette tætte forhold gør det muligt for sygdomme at springe artbarrieren på en måde, der ikke var tilgængelig i den nye verden.

De europæiske styrker havde kyllinger, heste, grise, kvæg, får osv., Og selvom de ikke havde nogen eller alle disse arter med sig i deres udforskninger, bar de sikkert deres sygdomme med sig.
indsendt af bshort kl. 10.30 den 15. august 2007


Blackfoot -indianerne: Historie, kultur, samfund

Indianerne kom oprindeligt over til Nordamerika via Beringstrædet på et tidspunkt, hvor istiden fik hullet til at fryse over. De kom fra Asien ved at følge flokke og på jagt efter flere.

Under deres rejser besluttede nogle at stoppe og slå sig ned, derfor de mange forskellige stammer. Blackfoot besatte regionen i dagens Alberta i Canada, og Montana i USA Blackfoot bestod af tre hovedstammer: Northern Blackfoot (Siksika), Piegan (Pikuni) og Blood (Kainah).

Stammerne var lidt forskellige i deres tale, men var politisk uafhængige. Blackfoot -befolkningen varierede, men var mindre påvirket af den hvide mands ankomst end nogle stammer på grund af deres placering. I 1855 var der cirka 2.400 nordlige Blackfoot, 2.000 blod og 3.200 Piegan. Den samlede befolkning i Blackfoot varierede som følger: 15.000 (1780), 9.000 (1801), 7.600 (1855) og 4.600 (1932) ”.

Faldet i befolkningen skyldtes sandsynligvis den hvide mands sygdomme og tilintetgørelsen af ​​bøfflen. I 1781 havde Blackfoot deres første alvorlige angreb af kopper. En epidemi af kopper opstod igen i 1838, 1845 1857 og 1864.

I vinteren 1864 blev stammen ramt af mæslinger, og omkring 780 døde. I vinteren 1883 til 1884 døde mere end 1/4 af Piegan -befolkningen af ​​sult (600). Dette var hovedsageligt resultatet af officiel dumhed og bøffelens forsvinden.

Blackfoot var typisk storvildtjægere og var hovedsageligt afhængige af bøfflen for deres kost, tøj og beholdere. De jagtede også dyr som elg, rådyr og antiloper. Der var fire hovedmetoder til jagt, hvoraf den ene var “surround ”.

Denne metode krævede brug af heste og blev udført ved at omgive flokken, hvorefter de blev skudt ned. En anden metode blev opnået ved at køre spillet ned ad en klippe, hvor faldet ville skade dyret nok til at forhindre deres flugt. En tredje metode, der blev brugt, var beslaglæggelse, der lignede nutidens kohold. Jagtselskabet ville bygge hegn, som de ville besætte dyrene i.

Endnu en metode var at omringe flokken med ild. Jægerne ville forlade en åbning, hvor de ville vente, da det var dyrene, og#8217 kun undslap. I nødstilfælde ville Blackfoot fange fisk ved hjælp af rå kurvfælder. De gjorde også brug af vilde planter, herunder bær, chokecherries, vilde majroer og mange andre. Den vilde majro blev gravet op i store mængder i forsommeren og blev skrællet og tørret til vinterbrug. Majs, bønner, græskar eller græskar og solsikker var de vigtigste afgrøder. Det meste af dyrkningen af ​​landbruget blev udført af kvinder.

Blackfoot, som alle indianere, voksede og brugte tobak hovedsageligt til ceremonier og andre højtidelige lejligheder. Frøene blev indsat i det tidlige forår i separate indhegnede haver, cirka 21 X 18 fod. I midten af ​​juni blev blomsterne plukket og tørret indendørs. Blomsten var mere værdsat end stilken eller bladene, som blev plukket lige før frosten kom. Stænglerne udgjorde størstedelen af ​​den rygtobak. Begge afgrøder blev olieret med bøffelfedt, før de blev opbevaret i en pose til fremtidig brug. Frø blev sat ud for det følgende år uden selektion.

Dyrkning af tobaksplanten blev udført af gamle mænd, og kvinder hjalp dem. Mænd var de vigtigste rygere af tobak, men nogle kvinder røg det i små rør. Som et overtroisk folk ville nogle Blackfoot ikke ryge, mens gamle par mokasiner hængte andre lagde røret på en skive bøffeltunge før brug. Fredspiben blev altid sendt af værten til hans vis-a-vis (venstrehåndede nabo), der pustede den flere gange og gav den videre til venstre.

Denne rutine til venstre pass blev fortsat, indtil slutningen af ​​linjen var nået, på hvilket tidspunkt slutmanden enten returnerede røret til værten eller sendte det tilbage mod højre. Ingen ville tage et pust, før røret blev returneret til værten, som røg det og sendte det rundt igen.

Blackfoot var en nomadisk stamme, der levede hele året i tepees og havde sæsonmæssige migration. Tepee var oprindeligt dækket med bøffelskind, men senere blev de dækket med lærred på grund af mangel på bøfler. Kvinder blev betragtet som ejeren af ​​tepee og havde ansvaret for dens pleje og vedligeholdelse.

Blackfoot tepees bestod af fire pæle og blandt indianerne var de mest elegante i form og malet dekoration. Blackfoot -tepee havde et bredt bånd af mørk farve malet omkring basen for at repræsentere jorden og på dette en række cirkler eller støvede stjerner.

De havde en sæsonbestemt gruppering af tepees i en stor cirkel. Pejsen blev lavet i midten af ​​tepee, med en stikkontakt til røg øverst. Teltdækslet havde klapper, hvortil der var fastgjort to stænger uden for de generelle rammer for at danne en døråbning, der kan lukkes. Indgangen til tepee vendte mod øst med æresstedet bagpå.

Ceremonielle genstande blev også opbevaret på bagsiden sammen med sengetøjet, ryglænene, råskindbeholdere og redskaber såsom træfade, hornskeer, våben og redskaber. Da stammen rejste, blev tepee kollapset og båret på en hest. Men før hestens introduktion var tipi sandsynligvis mindre med lettere stænger og dækket med bark eller måtter.

Blandt Blackfoot -indianerne blev håret betragtet som sjælens sæde ”. Warriors kæmmede en smal hårlok over næsebroen og skar den firkantet. Blackfoot var ansvarlig for nogle af de mest imponerende kostumer på sletterne. De brugte ofte hermelin i deres tøj og dekorerede deres krigsdragter med maling, perler osv. Disse kostumer blev anset for at have åndelige kræfter og blev derfor sjældent slidt. Sådanne kostumer blev dog båret ved visse særlige begivenheder som “war parade ”, som blev afholdt for at imponere gæster.

Folk dannede linjer eller cirkler, mens de havde hovedbeklædninger, skjolde, lanser, malede ponyer og hermelinefrynser på tøj. De bar også dyreskind fra dyret, de havde beføjelser til som et symbol på en magtoverførsel. Under træk blev disse “uniformer ” gemt i containere, der stolt blev båret af krigerne ’ koner. Til hverdagsbeklædning havde mændene i varmt vejr en ridebukser og mokasiner på. I koldt vejr havde mænd hjorteskjorter, lange hud leggings og en bøffelkåbe på. Kvindernes påklædning i varmt vejr bestod af kjoler lavet af hjorte eller fåreskind.

Længden var under knæet, og den blev holdt på skuldrene af stropper. I koldt vejr kunne ærmer tilføjes ved at binde hudsnore bag på nakken, og der blev også brugt mokasiner, leggings og bøffelkåber. Mænds leggings var over knæet, mens kvinder var under. Blackfoot-indianerne havde pelsforede mokasiner og pelshætter med øreklapper. De malede også deres kroppe med bjørnefedt for at holde varmen i de kolde temperaturer.

Myter og historier var en indianer-form for historieundervisning, da den ikke blev registreret i bøger, og derfor var afgørende for at holde fortiden og dens fejl i live. Myterne og historierne handlede om ting som tidens begyndelse, solen, månen og stjernerne, jordens dannelse, dyrenes kræfter, vinden, skyerne og torden og lyn. Normalt blev historier fortalt omkring et bål med mange mennesker både for at fortælle historierne og lytte til dem. Historierne fulgte altid den samme formelle rækkefølge, men hver gang havde de en anden vægtning.

Hver taler havde deres egne yndlingsindledninger og fortællestil, der gjorde hver historie unik. Børn blev opfordret til at følge historierne ’ moralske værdier, og hver historie lærte en lektion for at gøre en til et bedre menneske. Et eksempel på, hvordan en typisk historie gik, kan ses gennem Blackfoot “Creation ” -historien: I begyndelsen skabte Napi (Old Man) alt: jorden, månen, dyr og mennesker. Fra øst rejste han mod vest og spredte mudder foran ham for at danne jorden og gjorde denne stor, så der skulle være masser af plads.

Han gik mod syd og rørte mod nord og lavede fugle og dyr, som alle kunne forstå ham, og han lavede også prærierne, bjergene, floderne og dalene og satte træer i jorden. For at dyrene skulle have noget at spise, dækkede han prærierne med græs, derefter markerede han et afsnit, hvor han fik de forskellige rødder og bær til at vokse: camass, bitter-rod, sød-rod, sarvis bær, og så på. Nogle steder lagde han rød maling på jorden.

Da Blackfoot var en nomadestamme, var transportteknikker meget vigtige i deres liv. Inden hesten kom, blev tamme hunde brugt til at bære ejendele. Hundene bestod af to forskellige sorter: en stor ulvelignende og en mindre coyote-lignende. Nogle stammer brugte hunden som fødekilde, men Blackfoot gjorde det ikke. Hundene bar belastninger på ryggen eller blev trænet i at tegne en “travois ”.

Travois blev dannet af to lange stænger, hvis forspidser konvergerede for fastgørelse til hundene ’ skuldre. Midtvejs ned ad stængerne blev der fastgjort en ramme, der enten var i stigeform eller en bunke med net og tanga. Til dette blev en belastning på 60 pund eller mere knyttet. Travoen blev også brugt til at bære brænde, der lettede kvinden fra dette job. Hunde blev navngivet i henhold til deres udseende eller gerninger udført af deres herrer, såsom Red-spot, Feather-lance-carrier og Took-away-his-shield.

Blackfoot trænede også deres hunde til at bære baiting og skylle mindre dyr ud af skjul. Hesten blev introduceret af spanierne efter 1730. Indianerne tilpassede hurtigt deres travoises til hestebrug og lavede ridetøj, der efterlignede spaniernes. Sadlerne var højt opstillede og forbeholdt kvinder, mens mænd enten brugte en pad-sadel eller ramme af elghorn-træ og kantel med sidebjælker i træ. Stigbøjler var lavet af træ og var bundet med råskind. Heste blev brugt som en form for penge og bestemte en ’s status og rigdom. Ikke alene repræsenterede en hest en bedre transportform, men også mere velstående buffalojagt og forbedret militærposition.

Til transport af babyer brugte Blackfoot en vugge. While on horse, the mother would sling the cradle from the saddle. The Blackfoot’s cradleboard design was U-shaped at the top and tapered toward the bottom. To cross rivers, they would only use crude temporary hide rafts to ferry across a deep stream. It was towed by able-bodied men and women, usually by swimming out and holding the tow lines with their teeth.

Marriages were usually arranged with a go-between, but the couple was allowed to fall in love before they got married. A lover would convey a message to his beloved by playing a tune on his flute, with each tune meaning something different. The young men were shy and would wait near a stream hoping for a glance when the girls came to fill their bags. As a sign of acceptance of union, a girl would stand outside her family’s tepee with a big blanket, and when her lover came, she would cover them both and they would talk about plans for the future.

If a young man was in love with a certain girl, he would often prod his parents to take further steps. A young girl, on the other hand, had to be dutiful and accept her parents’ choice without complaint. Girls married young and looked forward to becoming mothers. It was custom for the bridegroom to give a gift of horses to the girl’s family not as a bride price, but as proof of his wealth and ability to take care of their daughter. Marriages were simple and men usually had two to three wives. This was in part because of the shortage of men due to warfare.

The family unit was very close and consisted of an extended family. They camped together in several tepees that included grandparents, great-grandparents, unmarried brothers and sisters, parents, and children. It was the man’s duty to supply meat and protection, while the woman was responsible for the household and moving. Women walked a few paces behind the men when in public, but ruled the tepee and wielded behind-the-scenes influence in major tribal decisions. Marriage was considered a permanent union between families instead of individuals.

It’s amazing that the majority of American citizens have some form of Indian blood flowing through their veins, yet know nothing of this lost heritage beyond what those John Wayne and Gene Autry western shows taught them as children. We as Americans should learn from the mistakes that this country was founded on. People cannot leap into a situation without thinking about the results first else disaster will follow.

In this case, human mistakes caused the mass murder of an indigenous nation, along with its customs, traditions, and human rights. Even though we think we are the most knowledgeable people, we could have learned much from the American Indian. Maybe we could have learned how to freely love other people and accept them regardless of their strange ways.


Photography by Peter Bregg

Andrea Jose Juarez is small for her age, but she’s not short of audacity. She’s quick to tell you that she used to be eight years old but now she’s nine — imagine that, nine years old. She’s in Grade 2 at the village school up here in the mountaintops of Guatemala. She likes to draw. In fact, she’ll draw a saucy cat in your notebook if you like while her mom, who is tending the fire nearby, watches over her intrepid daughter. Andrea is wary, though, because the last time she interacted with strangers, she wound up in an American detention centre.

Andrea is a returnee, the term used by the Guatemalan government for migrants who have been detained in the United States and deported. Two or three planeloads of them arrive most days in Guatemala City, the adults shackled to their seats, the kids on their own.

She became a statistic when she was caught in the net cast by U.S. President Donald Trump to get rid of the people he has referred to as rapists, criminals and drug dealers. While the act of separating children from adults and putting them in detention with other terrified children earned Trump global disdain, it doesn’t tell the whole story behind the migrants from the Northern Triangle — Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — who are making a run for the U.S. border.

(Map by Marco Cibola)

Andrea is one of 100,000 Guatemalans who were returned last year alone. Many come from the same mountainous region: Huehuetenango, a place in the western part of the country where ancient history and modern-day reality collide. Half a million residents are Indigenous, the famed Mayans who have been growing maize here on the rooftop of Latin America ever since the Bronze Age. Now, the dry season gets longer every year due to climate change. The crops are failing. In Guatemala, the number of people in need of urgent food assistance rose from 568,000 to 1.2 million between December 2019 and May 2020. There simply isn’t enough to eat, so Mayans are leaving a way of life that can no longer sustain them.

“Migration between Central America and the United States has been going on for decades,” says Danny Glenwright, the executive director of Action Against Hunger (AAH), an international organization that fights hunger and its root causes worldwide. “But where it was once mostly for economic reasons, it is increasingly happening because of lack of food and opportunity in places like Huehuetenango, forcing desperate people from here to take their chances elsewhere.”

Guatemala is about twice the size of Nova Scotia and has a population of 17 million. It’s known for its volcanoes, rainforests and ancient Mayan ruins — and a tourism industry that, until COVID-19, was on the rise. But now it’s making headlines for being the centre of a massive food shortage, for the brutal violence imposed by Colombian and Mexican drug cartels and for being a target of the man in the White House who positions this as a story about crooks and borders. Det er ikke. This is a story about human rights: the right to food, to migration, to asylum, to not be tortured. And it’s about how those rights are so easily traded and denied.

This is a tapestry woven by a diminishing food supply and all the medical ailments that come with hunger. It’s also the chronicle of the migrants’ dangerous and expensive escape, and of humanitarian violations driven by xenophobic politics.

Andrea lives with her eight siblings and parents on a patch of land in the highlands at 3,000 metres. Calla lilies grow wild in the fresh mountain air, angel trumpet trees scent the paths to the mudbrick huts, and baby chicks wander about. One could presume it’s a hidden paradise. But poverty is a reality for Andrea’s family and over 80 percent of Huehue­tenango residents. More than half of the people living here are suffering from chronic malnutrition. Among children, stunted growth and cognitive impairment due to lack of food is becoming common at least 77 kids under five died from hunger-related diseases last year.

The region is also a hot spot for drug trafficking. Cocaine and other narcotics flow in and out, mostly heading north to the American market. Opium poppies grow well in the highlands, and impoverished youth are easy targets for recruitment into gangs.

The government of Guatemala mostly ignores the Mayan people. And so the sons and daughters of the oldest civilization in Central America are fleeing to the United States to escape hunger and the climate of fear created by the drug traffickers. “No one is paying attention to Latin America right now because there’s no conflict like Syria’s here,” Glenwright says. “But this crisis of food insecurity needs the eyes of the world on Guatemala right now.”

The United Nations declared a state of emergency for the department of Huehuetenango in January. That resulted in a co-ordinated appeal launched by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund that was approved in April and began providing additional food assistance in Guatemala through a consortium of humanitarian organizations, including AAH.

Now, the coronavirus has become part of the equation. The returnees from the United States started bringing cases of COVID-19 to Guatemala in mid-March. All three countries in the Northern Triangle closed their borders immediately, but for the next two months, flights with returnees from the United States only slowed down. By then, COVID-19 had taken hold.

Neighbours: Angela Pedro Andreas (left) and Andrea Jose Juarez were separated at the U.S. border. Right: Pedro Andreas says she was treated like a criminal by immigration officers.

The chronic hunger and the terrifying drug gangs that swagger through these villages are why Andrea’s mother and father agreed to let their child go when their neighbour Angela Pedro Andreas, 25, presented them with a plan that seemed to promise food and safety in the United States. Pedro Andreas’s mother, who lives in America, told her that a mother and child had a better chance of presenting a convincing story to the immigration officers when asking for asylum. “I told the family I would adopt their daughter and make a better life for her in the United States,” Pedro Andreas explains. Her own mother sent the money — over 17,000 quetzals (C$3,000) each — to pay “coyotes” for the trip. Some coyotes say the fee will get you to the United States others claim it will cover three tries to cross the border still others say they’ll take the money once you’re safely inside the country. For Angela Pedro Andreas and Andrea, it was a one-off. Now or never. Pay up and take a chance. The poorest people, like Andrea’s parents, cannot pay coyotes for even one person’s trip, let alone a whole family’s. Their best prospect is to give up a child in hopes she has a better life — and that when she does, she’ll send money back to the family. Twelve percent, or US$9 billion, of Guatemala’s gross dom­estic product in 2017 came from remittance payments from relatives who live, often undocumented, in the United States.

Although Pedro Andreas tried to obtain adoption papers, she settled for a facsimile — a signature scribbled on a paper with Andrea’s full name and age on it — and hoped it would pass the test at the border. They left at 3 a.m. on a cold morning in April 2019, travelling the usual route of the migrants and facing many of the same perils, including hiding for six hours in the back of a container truck and staying in a house with 10 strangers until they could leave again at 2 a.m. Andrea says she saw the whole journey as a huge adventure and wasn’t scared at all. They made it as far as the desert and gingerly crossed the American border. Less than an hour later, immigration officers caught them and wanted to see their papers.

“They asked me if I am really the mother of this child,” says Pedro Andreas. “Then they said, ‘If you tell us the truth, nothing will happen to you. If you lie, you’ll be in jail for 10 years.’” So she told them the truth, hoping to be let go, but the officers began shouting at them. “I felt like a criminal, and that’s how they treated us,” says Pedro Andreas. “They pulled us apart. Andrea was clinging onto me and crying, but they yanked her away while that little girl was pleading, ‘Please, please Angela, take me with you.’”

Pedro Andreas was taken to a detention centre, where she stayed for three days before being driven to the Mexican border and ordered to get out of the car. She and the other detainees asked people to help them, give them a lift, show them the way. It took five days to get home.

But Andrea, who had imagined the United States as “a beautiful place with tall buildings and airplanes and cars,” was taken to another detention centre for children. “I was very afraid. I never slept by myself in my life before. And I didn’t know if I was going home or going someplace else,” she says.

It’s the child detention centres that have grabbed the attention of the public — kids crying for their parents, being held in fenced-off shelters that have been likened to concentration camps. The American “zero-tolerance policy” of separating migrant kids from their parents and guardians at the border began in April 2018, and although the federal courts found it to be illegal two months later, they allowed exceptions when the parents or guardians were suspected of a crime or deemed unfit. Due to this loophole, separations continue.

Physicians for Human Rights stated in a report released last February that “the U.S. government’s treatment of asylum seekers through its policy of family separation constitutes cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment and, in all cases evaluated by PHR experts, constitutes torture.” In their investigation, most of the parents and children interviewed who had been directly affected “met diagnostic criteria for at least one mental health condition, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, or generalized anxiety disorder consistent with, and likely linked to, the trauma of family separation.”

Andrea spent eight months in detention and speaks of the experience nonchalantly: “I learned to eat the food — cornflakes and hamburgers. I made friends with the other kids.” But it’s hard to know if the bravado is a cover for her vulnerability. In fact, she was so traumatized when she got home, she could not speak her own Mayan language, Akateko. She only muttered a few English phrases over and over again and refused to talk to her family. Her mom, Majdalena, says they hardly knew the child who came back to them. “She stared at us and said she didn’t want to be here.”

Returnees: Maria Micaela Pedro Manuel (left) has tried to get to the United States twice. Right: Men exchange currency after being deported back to Guatemala.

The Guatemala Air Force base where the planeloads of returnees arrive looks like it could post the creed from the Statue of Liberty that the current United States administration has seemingly rejected: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.” If you stand on your tiptoes and peer over the metal wall around the compound, you can see them — the returnees — walking toward the exit: heads hanging down, eyes averted, shoulders hunched, hands clutching small white mesh bags that contain a few personal items. After being checked off a government list, the men, women and children wind their way down an alley toward the street where buses will take them to shelters or waiting family members. Their busted dreams left on the runway, they find their way back to the hunger and fear that pushed them out of these ancient mountaintops in the first place.

Nineteen-year-old Isaias Garcia emerges from the gate glancing about, hoping to see a familiar face there to meet him. “I was the hope for my family,” he says. “There’s no food here, no jobs. I wanted to go to the U.S. to work and earn money and send it back here. They were depending on me.” He got as far as the other side of the American border when he was caught, detained for five days and deported.

Despite the measures to keep them out, tens of thousands of migrants from Guatemala make it to the United States each year. Many families in Guatemala’s ancient highlands have a story to tell. Maria Micaela Pedro Manuel, 22, saw her husband leave for the United States several years ago. When she didn’t hear from him for months, she decided, in 2017, to hit the road with their two daughters, Lorena, then three, and Elena, then one. She paid a coyote over 16,000 quetzals (C$2,800) and set out. It was a harrowing journey — hiding in a locked truck for two days in Mexico, detained by immigration authorities for a month in Texas, sleeping with the two girls in a tiny space and eating nothing but burritos — but at last the officers let her go and told her to come back in six months for a court hearing. She and her girls took a bus to Alabama where her aunt lives. “I knew that now my life was going to be good,” says Pedro Manuel.

But six months later, when she dutifully went back to the court, she recalls the judge saying, “You will be deported. You cannot leave this detention centre.” She begged to see her girls but was denied, and a month later was shackled onto a seat in a plane going back to Guatemala City. “I was desperate to be with my girls,” says Pedro Manuel, “so about a year later, on March 4, 2019, when I had enough money to pay the coyote, I tried again.” This time, her journey included clinging to the side of one of the freight trains known as La Bestia — “some people fell off and died” — and forging the Rio Bravo del Norte in hip-deep water. “Thankfully the water was low, because I can’t swim.” It was once she crossed the desert into the United States near San Antonio, Texas, that the migration authorities nabbed her and took her into detention. Then she went through what could only be described as an astonishing route home: first to Washington state, then to Colorado, then to Tacoma, Wash., where she was kept for 10 months, then to Phoenix — all the while begging to see her daughters. She recalls a court official saying, “If you are approved, you will see your daughters if you are not, you won’t.” She was then sent back to Guatemala City, arriving after another round of delays on Dec. 7, 2019.

“I’ll try again as soon as I can raise the money for the coyote,” says Pedro Manuel. “I want to live in the U.S. I have nothing here.” She’s shy, picking at her fingers while she tells her awful tale. But she’s feisty, too. “Even if this is the saddest thing in the world for me to be without my daughters, they are better off in the U.S. There is no future for them here. No food, no house, no land.”

Last year, with a budget of over $11 million, the Action Against Hunger team in Guatemala worked with more than 35,000 people to help them remain living in their communities. It provided food assistance to over 18,100 people, including more than 4,900 children under five who were at risk of malnutrition.

“Even if this is the saddest thing in the world for me to be without my daughters, they are better off in the U.S.”

Maria Micaela Pedro Manuel

With support from the Canadian government, AAH is also building resilience in families, like the ones in Huehueten­ango, who are most vulnerable to recurring food crises. This includes training in new agricultural practices that help farmers adapt to changing weather patterns vocational training for alternative income sources and delivery of tools and seeds. The group has also created women-led seed banks and community gardens to promote diversified diets and help these families survive climate shocks and crop failures. Since lack of access to clean water is one of the main drivers of chronic malnutrition, AAH started work on a water and sanitation project that will benefit more than 195,000 people in 120 communities.

And in May, with the support of the Canadian embassy in Guatemala, AAH started working with staff and volunteers at the deportee reception centre to deliver hygiene kits and information on COVID-19 to the newly returned.

But stop-gap measures aren’t enough. Miguel Angel Garcia Arias, the AAH country director, says the United States needs to help the development of Central America by paying fair prices for the goods that come from the region. Success in Central America “means decent policies that improve the lives of the people through a reformed tax system and better use of resources. It means being allowed to export your products to the north to open your market. It means establishing ways to help the people who are fleeing the persecution, the guns and the hunger.”

And if that happens, it means that kids like Andrea can stay home rather than take a chance on fleeing. Although food aid is arriving and a sturdy little garden plot is boasting new produce, the family isn’t convinced their future is safe. Five weeks after Andrea’s return, she piggybacks her little brother over the field and plays chase with the other kids. She seems like a happy-go-lucky kid who has come to terms with her extraordinary adventure. But then she approaches me, a stranger, and says, “If you’ll take me, I’ll go with you.”

This feature first appeared in Broadview’s September 2020 issue with the title “Dead end.”

Sally Armstrong is a writer in Toronto. Her and Peter Bregg’s trip to Guatemala was partly funded by Action Against Hunger. The organization did not review this feature.

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Disease Has Never Been Just Disease for Native Americans

Native communities’ vulnerability to epidemics is not a historical accident, but a direct result of oppressive policies and ongoing colonialism.

About the author: Jeffrey Ostler is the Beekman Professor of Northwest and Pacific History at the University of Oregon. Han er forfatter til Surviving Genocide: Native Nations and the United States from the American Revolution to Bleeding Kansas.

As the death toll from COVID-19 mounts, people of color are clearly at greater risk than others. Among the most vulnerable are Native Americans. To understand how dire the COVID-19 situation is becoming for these communities, consider the situation unfolding for the Navajo Nation, a people with homelands in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. As of April 23, 1,360 infections and 52 deaths had been reported among the Navajo Reservation’s 170,000 people, a mortality rate of 30 per 100,000. Only six states have a higher per capita toll.

The spread of COVID-19 is reminiscent of previous disease outbreaks that have ravaged Native American communities. Many of those outbreaks resulted in catastrophic loss of life, far greater than even the worst-case scenarios for COVID-19. Even the 1918–19 flu pandemic, in which an estimated 650,000 Americans died (0.6 percent of the 1920 population of 106 million), pales in comparison to the losses Native Americans have suffered from disease.

Until recently, histories of disease and Native Americans have emphasized “virgin-soil epidemics.” According to this theory, popularized in Jared Diamond’s Kanoner, kim og stål, when Europeans arrived in the Western Hemisphere, they brought diseases (particularly measles and smallpox) that indigenous people had never experienced. Because they had no immunity to these diseases, so the theory goes, the resulting epidemics took the lives of 70 percent or more of the Native population throughout the Americas.

New research, however, provides a much more complicated picture of disease in American Indian history. This research shows that virgin-soil epidemics were not as common as previously believed and shifts the focus to how diseases repeatedly attacked Native communities in the decades and centuries efter Europeans first arrived. Post-contact diseases were crippling not so much because indigenous people lacked immunity, but because the conditions created by European and U.S. colonialism made Native communities vulnerable. The virgin-soil-epidemic hypothesis was valuable in countering earlier theories that attributed Native American population decline to racial inferiority, but its singular emphasis on biological difference implied that population collapses were nothing more than historical accidents. By stressing the importance of social conditions created by human decisions and actions, the new scholarship provides a far more disturbing picture. It also helps us understand the problems facing Native communities today as they battle the novel coronavirus.

Virgin-soil epidemics undoubtedly occurred. In 1633, for example, a smallpox epidemic struck Native communities in New England, reducing the Mohegan and Pequot populations from a combined total of 16,000 to just 3,000. The epidemic spread to the Haudenosaunee in New York, but no farther west than that. Smallpox did not hit communities in the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes until 1756–57, a century or more after initial contact with Europeans. When it did, it was because Native fighters, recruited to fight for the French against the British during the Seven Years’ War, had contracted the virus in the east and infected their communities when they returned home. Lack of immunity mattered, but it was the disruption resulting from war that promoted smallpox’s spread.

Smallpox did not arrive in the Southeast until 1696, a century and a half after the Hernando de Soto expedition. It was once thought that de Soto’s men carried smallpox, but this view reflected the flawed assumption that Europeans were always infected with smallpox and always contagious. De Soto’s expedition did cause disease to erupt in Native communities, but the reason was that the expedition’s violent warfare led to outbreaks of pathogens such as dysentery, which was already present in the Americas. When smallpox finally hit the Southeast, it spread rapidly from Virginia to East Texas across networks created by an English trade in Native captives for enslavement in their coastal and West Indies colonies. Raiding, capturing, and transporting human bodies created pathways for the smallpox virus. To make matters worse, those bodies were already weakened by war and its companions—malnutrition, exposure, and lack of palliative care.

By the end of the 18th century, most Native communities in what would eventually become the United States had been exposed to smallpox. Nevertheless, as smallpox recurred in the 19th century, its impact correlated not with a lack of prior exposure, but with the presence of adverse social conditions. These same conditions would also make Native communities susceptible to a host of other diseases, including cholera, typhus, malaria, dysentery, tuberculosis, scrofula, and alcoholism. Native vulnerability had—and has—nothing to do with racial inferiority or, since those initial incidents, lack of immunity rather, it has everything to do with concrete policies pursued by the United States government, its states, and its citizens.

Consider the impact of the Indian Removal Act. Formally adopted in 1830, this policy called for the relocation of Native peoples east of the Mississippi River to “Indian Territory” (what would eventually become Oklahoma and Kansas). Most everyone has heard of the Cherokee Trail of Tears, but it is seldom considered a U.S.-caused health crisis. The expulsion of the Cherokee from their homeland in Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee had three phases. In the first, the U.S. Army forcibly evicted Cherokees from their homes and held them for several months in concentration camps with inadequate shelter, insufficient food, and no source of clean water. The camps became death traps. Of the 16,000 people held in them, about 2,000 died from dysentery, whooping cough, measles, and “fevers” (probably malaria). In the second phase, the journey west, an additional 1,500 perished, as people, already sick and further weakened by malnutrition, trauma, and exposure, succumbed to multiple pathogens. In the months after reaching Oklahoma—the third phase—an additional 500 died from similar causes. The death toll was 4,000, or 25 percent of the original 16,000 forced from their homes.

Although the Cherokee Trail of Tears is the most well known, there were dozens of other such forced removals. Creeks, Seminoles, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Senecas, Wyandots, Potawatomis, Sauks and Mesquakies, Ojibwes, Ottawas, Miamis, Kickapoos, Poncas, Modocs, Kalapuyas, and Takelmas represent only a partial list of nations that suffered trails of tears. Not all experienced the same mortality as the Cherokee, but many did, and for some, the toll was even higher. The allied Sauks and Mesquakies were forced to move four times from their villages in western Illinois—once to central Iowa, once to western Iowa, once to Kansas, and finally to Oklahoma. In 1832, the time of the first expulsion, the Sauks and Mesquakies numbered 6,000. By 1869, when they were finally sent to Oklahoma, their population was only 900, a staggering loss of 85 percent. Year after year, unrelenting diseases, including an outbreak of smallpox in 1851, took many lives. Low fertility and infant mortality, the result of malnutrition, sickness, and trauma, hindered population replacement. The Sauk and Mesquakie catastrophe was not an accident. It was a direct and foreseeable consequence of decisions made by the United States and its citizens to dispossess Native people of desirable lands and shove them someplace else.

Navajos (Dinés, as they refer to themselves in their language) were also evicted from their homelands. In the winter of 1863–64, the U.S. Army pursued scorched-earth tactics—destroying their peach trees and cornfields—to drive them to a barren reservation at Bosque Redondo, on the Pecos River in New Mexico. On the 250-mile forced march, known as the Long Walk, several hundred of the 8,000 to 9,000 Dinés died en route. Over the next four years, Dinés lost as many as 2,500 of their people to disease and starvation. In their darkest hour, though, Diné leaders successfully prevailed on government officials to release them from their prison and return home. But even though their population has grown over time, the legacies of the Long Walk remain. The Diné historian Jennifer Denetdale observes that “severe poverty, addiction, suicide and crime on reservations all have their roots in the Long Walk.”

As cases of COVID-19 began to appear on the Navajo Reservation in late March, tribal President Jonathan Nez spoke to his people on Facebook. Summoning memories of the Long Walk, he “called on citizens to help one another,” reminding them “that’s when the best came out of many of our ancestors, helping each other out, carrying the load for the elders, carrying the children for our mothers.” “Now it’s our turn,” he said, “to think of our future, our children, our grandchildren.” Ongoing colonialism makes fighting COVID-19 a challenge. Although the Navajo are a sovereign nation with resources of their own, Dinés have a high incidence of conditions—diabetes, hypertension, and lung disease—that increase their susceptibility to becoming severely ill from the coronavirus. Lack of access to clean water makes hand-washing difficult. Many people cannot afford food, hand sanitizer, and other necessities. And there is an acute shortage of hospital beds and medical personnel.

Many public officials, health experts, and journalists are drawing attention to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. Even so, large segments of America are indifferent, if not outright hostile, to recognizing these disparities and the inequities underlying them. Native Americans are visible to the general public far more often as sports mascots than as actual communities. The Trump administration initially resisted providing any relief to tribal nations in the $2 trillion stimulus package passed in early April, and although the legislation ultimately appropriated $10 billion to tribal governments, the Treasury Department, tasked with distributing these funds, has failed to disburse them. According to New Mexico Senator Tom Udall, Treasury Department officials “don’t know how to interact in the appropriate way with tribes and they’re just not getting the job done.”

Countering the invisibility of Native peoples, of course, means greater awareness of how COVID-19 is affecting them and enhanced efforts to provide resources to help them combat the current outbreak. It also means creating a deeper understanding of the history of American Indians and disease. Although the virgin-soil-epidemic hypothesis may have been well intentioned, its focus on the brief, if horrific, moment of initial contact consigns disease safely to the distant past and provides colonizers with an alibi. Indigenous communities are fighting more than a virus. They are contending with the ongoing legacy of centuries of violence and dispossession.


Things to remember while reading the excerpts from Exterminate Them:

  • Most whites, even those sympathetic to the plight of Native Americans, considered themselves better or more civilized than Indians and were very condescending toward Native Americans.
  • The conflicts between Indians and whites helped many people recognize the need for governmental regulations of white and Indian interaction.
  • Some people believed war with the Indians could have been avoided.
  • Whites often created stereotypes of the Indian character that justified many of their treatment of the Indians.
  • The first two articles are sympathetic to the Native Americans. The last two describe the stirrings of war between the whites and the Native Americans.

The Devastating Effects of Child Starvation & Malnutrition in Africa

Every child deserves a healthy start in life. However, there are far too many starving children in Africa for whom hunger is a constant, chronic pain.

In sub-Saharan Africa, a shocking 28 million children are experiencing stunted growth due to malnutrition. Stunting prevents children from developing to their full potential mentally and physically, and it is largely irreversible.

Stunting is not the only form of malnutrition that affects children. Children who have severe acute malnutrition, the deadliest form of extreme hunger, can succumb to the disease in just a few days. Children who die in this way suffer immensely as their vital organ functions slow down and eventually stop.

It doesn’t have to be this way for children in Africa, but we need your help now.

Starving Children in Africa Need Your Help Today

It’s very simple – if we don’t act now, starving children in Africa will die. Drought, poverty and conflict have impacted every aspect of their lives.

With your support, our frontline health teams are working across the continent to deliver emergency hunger and nutrition programs to save vulnerable children. Critically, we’re also working to prevent malnutrition from occurring in the first place. But we can’t do it without you!

Screening Children in Africa for Malnutrition

Small measuring tapes like these are a crucial part of Save the Children’s malnutrition screening programs. Called MUAC (Mid-Upper Arm Circumference) tapes, they are very easy to use and can quickly deliver critical information. The bands are simply wrapped around the mid-point of the child’s upper arm and, taking into account the child’s ages, the circumference of their arm is measured against different colored zones on the band. Green is normal, yellow is moderately malnourished and red is severely malnourished. If children in the red zone are not quickly treated, there is a very real risk the child could die or suffer from profound long-term health and development issues.

How Much Does It Cost to Feed a Hungry Child?

$40 could buy a box of highly nutritious peanut paste to treat 1 child with severe acute malnutrition for 10 weeks.

$100 could cover all the costs for the treatment of one child with severe acute malnutrition, including costs such as routine medication, transportation and the cost of staff.

$210 could pay for a household to feed and protect livestock, which will ensure continued access to food and income for the household after the emergency.

African Countries Facing a Hunger Crisis

The world knows how to prevent child deaths due to hunger. In fact, more children are surviving today than at any time in history. The challenge is that proven lifesaving services aren’t reaching the children most in need, including the poorest counties in Africa where nearly 52% of the world’s poorest children live. Save the Children is working to change all this – and save more lives.

South Sudan
The crisis in South Sudan is especially dire, as roughly half the population is without enough food. Some 1.7 million people are facing emergency levels of hunger, which is one step away from famine. Nearly one million children under the age of five are acutely malnourished.

Our teams are working hard to screen children for malnutrition and help prevent the deadly diseases they are more likely to contract and die from, including measles, malaria, diarrhea, cholera and pneumonia.

Somalia
In 2011, drought and famine in Somalia killed more than 125,000 children under five in one brutal year. Now, vulnerable communities are again facing severe hunger and water scarcity as Somalia faces one of the driest seasons on record in over 35 years.

We are providing some of the hardest-hit communities at risk of starvation with food, clean water, health and nutrition services and vouchers for families to purchase vital supplies.

Etiopien
Children are still feeling the impact from the worst drought to hit Ethiopia in more than 50 years. Millions of families dependent on rain to grow crops for food and income remain at risk of extreme hunger and malnutrition. Additionally, the country is home to one of the largest populations of refugees.

Save the Children has worked to improve nutrition among the poorest Ethiopian children. Working very closely with the government, our teams are devising a national nutrition plan and responding quickly and efficiently to save as many lives as possible. We are also working with communities to improve their knowledge so that they are better equipped to protect themselves and their children from the effects of hunger. Our mobile health teams provide assessment and treatment of children suffering malnutrition.

Kenya
Successive droughts have made it hard for many families in Kenya to make a living. The number of people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from and who are in need of assistance now stands at 2.55 million.

Save the Children’s mobile health teams visit drought-affected communities in Kenya to not only treat children who are already sick but also to prevent further illness. We actively screen children under the age of five for malnutrition so that they can receive ready-to-use therapeutic foods such as a highly nutritious peanut paste. We also screen pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. We also carry out community awareness activities across the whole community so that everyone understands the risks around malnutrition and disease.

Nigeria
Right now, 1.9 million people require urgent humanitarian assistance, as conflict and displacement has left countless families without food or basic necessities.

We’re distributing food to vulnerable families, running feeding and treatment centers, in addition to providing psychosocial support.

Uganda
Uganda is now hosting more refugees than any nation in Africa, with over 1 million refugees, including children who’ve walked for days without food, water or rest.

We’re at work in refugee sites, as well as in remote areas where health needs are highest and lives are on the line.

Niger
Save the Children has been running programs in Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries, since the 2005 food crisis. In Niger, 42% of children under the age of five are stunted due to malnutrition. As a result, children are particularly vulnerable to dangerous, life-threatening diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, acute respiratory infections and anemia.

Save the Children is on the ground working to help Nigerien children and alleviate suffering among child refugees, returnees, internally displaced children and locals through health and nutrition programs, among others.


3b. William Bradford and the First Thanksgiving

The major similarity between the first Jamestown settlers and the first Plymouth settlers was great human suffering.

November was too late to plant crops. Many settlers died of scurvy and malnutrition during that horrible first winter. Of the 102 original Mayflower passengers, only 44 survived. Again like in Jamestown, the kindness of the local Native Americans saved them from a frosty death.

The Pilgrims' remarkable courage was displayed the following spring. When the Mayflower returned to Europe, not a single Pilgrim deserted Plymouth.

Helping Hands


Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoag tribe, signed a treaty with the Pilgrams in 1621, that was never broken. As a result, the two groups enjoyed a peaceful coexistence.

By early 1621, the Pilgrims had built crude huts and a common house on the shores of Plymouth Bay. Soon neighboring Indians began to build relations with the Pilgrims. Squanto , a local Indian who had been kidnapped and taken to England nearly a decade before, served as an interpreter with the local tribes. Squanto taught the Pilgrims to fertilize the soil with dried fish remains to produce a stellar corn crop.

Massasoit , the chief of the nearby Wampanoags, signed a treaty of alliance with the Pilgrims in the summer. In exchange for assistance with defense against the feared Narragansett tribe, Massasoit supplemented the food supply of the Pilgrims for the first few years.

Governor Bradford


The modern conception of a Pilgrim might include a man in a black hat with a buckle, but not all of the original settlers of Plymouth County fit this description.

Successful colonies require successful leadership. The man to step forward in Plymouth colony was William Bradford . After the first governor elected under the Mayflower Compact perished from the harsh winter, Bradford was elected governor for the next thirty years. In May of 1621, he performed the colony's first marriage ceremony.

Under Bradford's guidance, Plymouth suffered less hardship than their English compatriots in Virginia. Relations with the local natives remained relatively smooth in Plymouth and the food supply grew with each passing year.

By autumn of 1621, the Pilgrims had much for which to be thankful. After the harvest, Massasoit and about ninety other Indians joined the Pilgrims for the great English tradition of Harvest Festival . The participants celebrated for several days, dining on venison, goose, duck, turkey, fish, and of course, cornbread, the result of a bountiful corn harvest. This tradition was repeated at harvest time in the following years.

It was President Lincoln who declared Thanksgiving a national celebration in 1863. The Plymouth Pilgrims simply celebrated survival, as well as the hopes of good fortune in the years that lay ahead.