Escape from Elba
Exiles of the New York Times
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Author Topic: American History  (Read 29378 times)
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Bob
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« Reply #1365 on: October 26, 2007, 05:28:45 AM »

I was refering to the source you were using. I had no thoughts  of going into detail about it...my point was merely that there were Indian cultures who practiced cannibalism with some regularity as opposed to a European culture which practiced only in extremis. But, the question is fascinating and I'll look into it over this weekend---(Cannibalism among Indians in North America)
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weezo
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« Reply #1366 on: October 26, 2007, 05:53:07 AM »

Bob,

It the source you are using is the Jamestown Narratives, you must remember that these were first impressions and based on a very prejudiced view of the Natives. The Jamestown Narratives are very believable when it comes to what the colonists themselves did, but not reliable evidence of how the Natives lived. Remember how often Helen Roundtree refuted the narratives of the settlers in her study of the Natives?

I read Cabezo de Vaca with the same sense that he likely misinterpreted some of what he saw. But, he seemed to say less that was questionable. He did encounter a tribe that was so beset by "enemies" that they, according to him, destroyed most of their own children to prevent them from marrying into enemy tribes and producing more "enemies". I suspect that, if the tribe was to survive as an entity they would have had to change their outlook in soon, or face extinction. For the most part, Cabezo makes a point that the Native groups loved their children, and went to great lengths to protect them, including, according to him, some tribes suckling their children up to age 12 in order to prevent starvation during times between feeding seasons. Of course, for anyone who knows anything about breast feeding, it is a barely believable story, since, facing starvation, a mother does not produce much, if any milk herself.
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Shirley Marcus1
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« Reply #1367 on: October 26, 2007, 03:33:45 PM »

Hello everyone,
   I liked "Conquering Gotham."  I liked Alexander Cassatt's determination to build his tunnels.  I like that he was a hard worker.
   I liked Jill Jone's writing  Page 6

        "All about him was the luminous briny river air and ahead a wondrous   sweep of sky and currents.  Yet the very bodies of glistening water that encircled Manhattan and made the port city so rich were now starting to strangle her rambunctious growth.  In 1901, only one major bridge, that marvel of grace and engineering, the Brooklyn Bridge, connected Manhattan to any other piece of land." 
   I liked reading about the Brooklyn Bridge.  I thought the Hudson River was much larger.

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thanatopsy
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« Reply #1368 on: October 26, 2007, 03:49:46 PM »

(Cannibalism among Indians in North America)


It has been taught over the years that Kareeb (Carib) Indians practiced ritual cannibalism. In fact, Charles Mann whose book 1491 was read by our NYT group mentioned it. I have also read that certain Meso-Americans practiced cannibalism but only in times of mass drought and starvation.
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weezo
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« Reply #1369 on: October 26, 2007, 04:08:47 PM »

Than,

The Carib Indians were a small tribe on a single island in the Carribean. Please quote your source for the cannibalism among tribes in meso-American. I have heard only of ritual human sacrifice.

As to cannibalism in times of starvation, there are a number of accounts of Europeans doing such. There was some cannibalism at Jamestown, and Carbezo de Vaca mentions it in his account. There are innumerable stories of it in the wildernesses especially in winter. 

It would be hard to pin the crime of cannibalism on the Native Americans and not the Europeans based on the available evidence.



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caclark
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« Reply #1370 on: October 26, 2007, 04:27:27 PM »

An archaeological excavation near Mesa Verde in SW Colorado uncovered skeletal remains that had been dismembered, broken, and scorched indicating that cannibalism took place at one time among the Anasazi (likely ancestors of today’s Pueblo Indians of New Mexico). It's disputed by some historians. Others who believe that it did take place theorize that it may have been brought on by famine rather than ritual practice. The remains were dated to about the time that the Anasazi left the area.

With regard to cold temperatures on the Gulf coast, keep in mind that the global climate in the 1500s was colder than it is today. Some climatologists date the Little Ice Age as starting in the 16th Century but some date its start as far back as the 13th century.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2007, 04:31:34 PM by caclark » Logged
weezo
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« Reply #1371 on: October 26, 2007, 05:09:39 PM »

Your comment that "It is disputed by some historians" speaks volumes.

Dismembered, broken and scorched does not indicate cannibalism. Human teeth marks on the bones do.
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caclark
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« Reply #1372 on: October 26, 2007, 05:21:22 PM »

A team of professionals who know more about it than I do studied the evidence and decided that flesh had been torn from the bones. But perhaps they should have retained the services of a world class authority on forensics science such as yourself. 
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Bob
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« Reply #1373 on: October 26, 2007, 07:10:12 PM »

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It would be hard to pin the crime of cannibalism on the Native Americans and not the Europeans based on the available evidence.

I hope that's not a reference to my post on the subject where I merely mentioned that cannibalism was practiced by some Indian nations, and that De Vaca--the source you used for your post, mentioned the Indian practice of cannibalism in his book. I didn't try to pin a crime on anybody to the exclusion of anybody else. Everyone acknowledges that cannibalism was and is rare among European cultures. And I think everyone acknowledges that it was certainly practiced by given Indian cultures,( ie, the Aztecs)  Your question was whether there was evidence of Northern Indian tribes or nations which held to the practice. 

In the Indian cultures where it was practiced in  it was not considered a crime at all, but was either a religious ceremony or an accepted way of dealing with and enemy. In European cultures it is always considered a crime.

As promised I'll look into whether there were instances in the Northern Nations.
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weezo
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« Reply #1374 on: October 26, 2007, 09:06:22 PM »

Bob,

I think you may have confused books. The book by de Vaca that I just read, did not mention any cannibalism among Natives. He did tell of finding one of his fellow adventurers, the last surviver of a small band, who had eaten his fellows in order to survive, and lived long enough to tell the tale. The Natives were so abborhed by the knowledge of what he had done, that they refused to help him with food or anything else, and removed themselves from him De Vaca reports that the cannibal did not live much longer. This was a European who committed cannibalism, not a Native, and not as a ritual either, but to survive.

With the exception of the Carib Indians on an island in the Caribbean, there are no Natives that practiced cannibalism as a ritual. They did use human sacrifice, but there is no evidence that they ate the remains - just killed them to sacrifice to their gods.

I think the tales of cannibalism in Native Americans are just that - tales - born of prejudice, misunderstanding, and sometimes pure malice towards those who could not be conquered and enslaved as desired.

In the south, there was such hatred of slaves who attempted to revolt against their masters, that their deathes were carried to extremes. One such, a Gabriel, who let a short-lived revolt was not just killed, but was dismembered and his body parts flung to the wild animals. At present, I cannot remember if John Brown was also dismembered, or just hung. I think he was just hung.

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thanatopsy
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« Reply #1375 on: October 26, 2007, 10:28:23 PM »

``Please quote your source for the cannibalism among tribes in meso-American. I have heard only of ritual human sacrifice. ``


I did not quote any source and only mentioned past readings.

A couple of years ago there was a historical documentary on either PBS or History Channel re cannibalism in the Southwest.  Here is a book on the subject:

http://www.amazon.com/Man-Corn-Cannibalism-Prehistoric-Southwest/dp/087480566X


I did not read the book but believe it was the one cited in the documentary.  To the best of my recollection, again, it was sacrifice borne of drought and starvation rather than an every day practice.

As for Caribs, they wandered throughout the Caribbean having originated somewhere in the Orinoco river basin. They settled in the Lesser Antilles but were not restricted to any one island.
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weezo
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« Reply #1376 on: October 27, 2007, 12:03:36 AM »

Than,

I would have ordered the book, but not at $65. Even the used copies started at $48. That's beyond my budget. Either its a very thick book, very popular, or some other reason to drive the cost so high.

Cannibalism and human sacrifice are two distince crimes against nature. Human sacrifice seems to come from aberant acts of religion, and remember, even Abraham was tempted to sacrifice his son to please his god, but his hand was stayed at the last minute.

Cannibalism is the consuming of human flesh whether killed for that purpose, or after a natural death such as from starvation. While I have read of cannibalism among those who explored in northern areas (may have been fictional sources) in winter, the ones that concern me most are the two read about recently by De Vaca and in the Jamestown Narratives. In both of these instances, food was available, particularlyfish, game and vegetation, yet those who resorted to cannibalism were too fearful or untrained in the arts of procuring their own food to take advantage of the available bounty. There was a comment in the March of Folly about a ruler who was burned to death because he was sitting too close to his brazier and the servant who was called to move it could not be found, and he was too royal to move himself away. I suspect that this issue of not having servants to supply food were at the root of these two instances of cannibalism more so than the actual lack of available food.

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Dzimas
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« Reply #1377 on: October 27, 2007, 01:46:45 AM »

I got a response back to the query I sent Jill Jonnes regarding any kind of health care or pensions for the workers on the tunnels,

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The workers in the tunnel were not employees of the PRR, but the 
contractors who bid the jobs. While there are a handful of reports on 
worker accidents, there is nothing that tells us the fate of the 
workers overall. We do know that the large number of deaths and 
injuries in the LIRR tunnels led to the formation of the sandhog 
union that exits in NYC to this today, a small entity whose members 
work on the water tunnels. Hope this helps.
Best, JIll Jonnes

Very nice of her to write.  I provided her a link to our website, but it seems she prefers questions directed to her website.
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madupont
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« Reply #1378 on: October 27, 2007, 01:57:28 AM »

thanatopsy,

"pot polishing" was described in articles that I believe were in The National Geographic in recent years(the last ten years.  It seems an innocuous term but what it actually refers to is the kind of marking left inside a clay pot used for cooking, when it has been stirred and lifts bones against the interior surface which leads to scratching.  It was a thoroughly unpleasant article to read.

I think that I may have kept a few articles on South-western practices that were originally submitted by valle-inclan. Since they were from areas with which I was familiar, I was particularly interested in learning more about the legendary Old Ones than I could possibly have been informed of in my childhood. If I locate the material, will post the links.
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Bob
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« Reply #1379 on: October 27, 2007, 02:42:45 AM »

Quote
I think you may have confused books. The book by de Vaca that I just read, did not mention any cannibalism among Natives.

Sorry, I apologize, my error. What I meant to reiterate was the exact wording of my original post:

Quote
Under Irala and the other leaders the natives in the region around Asunción were exploited for the benefit of the Spanish. There was no attempt to change the natives' practice of selling war captives into slavery or the practice of cannibalism. Another native practice that created problems was that of giving away women to cement tribal alliances. These women were given to the leaders of other tribes or to the Spanish when they became important in the power structure of the region. Soon any leader that did not refuse the gift of women would soon have a harem of dozens of native women. When Cabeza de Vaca came to Asunción he set about to curb cannibalism, slavery and the concubinage was well as regulate the trade between the Spanish and the natives.

http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/cabeza3.htm

Quote
Cannibalism was practiced with regularity in some of the Indian cultures--but only rarely and under extreme  circumstances by Europeans.

This post does not try "to pin the crime of cannibalism on the Native Americans and not the Europeans based on the available evidence." In fact it makes quite clear the view that both both sides commited cannibalism. That is all it says. It says nothing about "crimes."

The post is short and to the point--nothing more should be read into it.
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