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Indigenous people invented the so-called ‘American Dream’

Lewis Borck, Leiden University and D. Shane Miller, Mississippi State University

When President Barack Obama created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the 2012 program that offered undocumented young people brought to the U.S. as children a path into society, for a moment the ideals of the American Dream seemed, at least for this group, real.

We call these kids (many of whom are now adults) “Dreamers,” because they are chasing the American Dream – a national aspiration for upward economic mobility built on physical mobility. Fulfilling your dreams often means following them wherever they may lead – even into another country.

The Trump administration’s decision to cancel DACA and build a U.S.-Mexico border wall has endangered those dreams by subjecting 800,000 young people to deportation.

But the notion underlying both the DACA repeal and the wall – which is that “illegal” immigrants, most of them from Mexico, are stealing U.S. jobs and hurting society – reflects a profound misunderstanding of American history.

On Indigenous Peoples Day, it’s worth underscoring something that many archaeologists know: many of the values that inspire the American Dream – liberty, equality and the pursuit of happiness – date back to well before the creation of the U.S.-Mexico border and before freedom-seeking Pilgrim immigrants arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1620. They originate with native North Americans.

A Native American dream

The modern rendition of the American Dream can be traced back to 1774, when Virginia’s governor, John Murray, the fourth earl of Dunmore, wrote that even if Americans “attained Paradise, they would move on if they heard of a better place farther west.”

The actual term “American Dream” was popularized in 1931 by the businessman and historian James Truslow Adams. For him, its realization depended on not just being able to better oneself but also, through movement and human interaction, seeing your neighbors bettered as well.

The first peoples to come to the Americas also came in search of a better life. That happened 14,000 years ago in the last Ice Age when nomadic pioneers, ancestors to modern Native Americans and First Nations, arrived from the Asian continent and roamed freely throughout what now comprises Canada, the United States and Mexico. Chasing mammoth, ancient bison and the elephant-like Gomphothere, they moved constantly to secure the health of their communities.

The indigenous communities of the Americas knew none of these modern-day national borders.
USGS

A more recent example of the power of migration reappears about 5,000 years ago, when a large group of people from what is today central Mexico spread into the American Southwest and farther north, settling as far up as western North America. With them they brought corn, which now drives a significant part of the American economy, and a way of speaking that birthed over 30 of the 169 contemporary indigenous languages still spoken in the United States today.

The Hohokam

This globalist world view was alive and well 700 years ago as well when people from what is now northern Arizona fled a decades-long drought and rising authoritarianism under religious leaders. Many migrated hundreds of miles south to southern Arizona, joining the Hohokam (ancestors to modern O’odham nations) who had long thrived in the harsh Sonoran desert by irrigating vast fields of agave, corn, squash, beans and cotton.

When the northern migrants arrived to this hot stretch of land around the then-nonexistent U.S.-Mexico frontier, Hohokam religious and political life was controlled by a handful of elites. Social mechanisms restricting the accumulation of power by individuals had slowly broken down.

For decades after their arrival, migrants and locals interacted. From that exchange, a Hohokam cultural revolution grew. Together, the two communities created a commoners’ religious social movement that archaeologists call Salado, which featured a feasting practice that invited all village members to participate.

As ever more communities adopted this equitable tradition, political power – which at the time was embedded in religious power – became more equally spread through society. Elites lost their control and, eventually, abandoned their temples.

America’s egalitarian mound-builders

The Hohokam tale unearths another vaunted American ideal that originates in indigenous history: equality. Long before it was codified in the Declaration of Independence,, equality was enacted through the building of large mounds.

Massive earthen structures like these are often acts of highly hierarchical societies – think of the pyramids of the ancient Egyptians, constructed by masses of laborers as the final resting place of powerful pharaohs, or those of the rigid, empire-building Aztecs.

But great power isn’t always top-down. Poverty Point, in the lower Mississippi River Valley of what’s now Louisiana, is a good example. This massive site, which consists of five mounds, six concentric semi-elliptical ridges and a central plaza, was built some 4,000 years ago by hunter-fisher-gatherers with little entrenched hierarchy.

Poverty Point: a city built on cooperation.
Herb Roe/Wikipedia, CC BY-SA

Originally, archaeologists believed that such societies without the inequality and authoritarianism that defined the ancient Egyptian, Roman, and Aztec empires could not have constructed something so significant – and, if so, only over decades or centuries.

But excavations in the last 20 years have revealed that large sections of Poverty Point were actually constructed in only a few months. These Native Americans organized in groups to undertake massive projects as a communal cooperative, leaving a built legacy of equality across America’s landscape.

Haudenosaunee

The Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois, offer a more modern example of such consensus-based decision-making practices.

These peoples – who’ve lived on both sides of the St. Lawrence river in modern-day Ontario and the U.S. Great Lakes states for hundreds, if not thousands, of years – built their society on collective labor arrangements.

They ostracized people who exhibited “selfish” behavior, and women and men often worked together in large groups. Everyone lived together in communal longhouses. Power was also shifted constantly to prevent hierarchy from forming, and decisions were made by coalitions of kin groups and communities. Many of these participatory political practices continue to this day.

The Haudenosaunee sided with the British during the 1776 American Revolution and were largely driven off their land after the war. Like many native populations, the Haudenosaunee Dream turned into a nightmare of invasion, plague and genocide as European migrants pursued their American Dream that excluded others.

Native Americans at Standing Rock

The long indigenous history of rejecting authoritarianism continues today, including the 2016 battle for environmental justice at Standing Rock, South Dakota.

There, a resistance movement coalesced around a horizontally organized youth group that rejected the planned Dakota Access oil pipeline.

Native American pioneers continue to fight for the same ideals that inspire the American Dream, including equality and freedom.
John Duffy/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA

The movement centered on an environmental cause in part because nature is sacred to the Lakota (and many other indigenous communities), but also because communities of color often bear the brunt of economic and urban development decisions. This was the indigenous fight against repression and for the American Dream, gone 21st century.

Redefining the North American dream

Anthropologists and historians haven’t always recognized the quintessentially Native American ideals present in the American Dream.

In the early 19th century, the prominent social philosopher Lewis Henry Morgan called the Native Americans he studied “savages.” And for centuries, America’s native peoples have seen their cultural heritage attributed to seemingly everyone but their ancestors – even to an invented “lost” white race.

America’s indigenous past was not romantic. There were petty disputes, bloody intergroup conflicts and slavery (namely along the Northwest Coast and American Southeast).

But the ideals of freedom and equality – and the right that Americans can move across this vast continent to seek it out – survive through the millennia. Societies based on those values have prospered here.

The ConversationSo the next time a politician invokes American values to promote a policy of closed borders or selfish individualism, remember who originally espoused the American Dream – and first sought to live it, too.

Lewis Borck, Archaeologist, Leiden University and D. Shane Miller, Prehistoric Archeologist, Mississippi State University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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And you think science is objective and without human bias?

I saw this yesterday and have been meaning to comment.

Science – good science – is indispensable to our modern way of life. Don’t get me wrong. And please don’t confuse science with technology. All I’ve been saying for the past while is that science is a human enterprise. As such, it is not perfect nor comprehensive.


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Christian conservatives and their flawed reasoning about “natural”


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Participation Mystique – An alternative to secular materialism

Okay so it’s been a bit slow this summer. Most people take some time to relax during the dog days but for me it has been busy. Internet traffic – or at least, visits – tend to drop a bit while everyone is outdoors. So things slow down here a bit.

In a way, this has been a good thing. I’ve been spending more time on individual articles at earthpages.ca. I feel a bit like a rock band, hammering out all the elements in preparation for that first hit. It seems I’m getting closer. Every time I write something I get some feedback and can use that to better my product.

Product?

Well yeah. Earthpages is a free blog, for sure. But I do have bills to pay and will need to crossover sometime into a paid-for position. Either as a writer at some other venue or as head honcho of a thriving Earthpages. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’m still having fun with it.

So here’s an entry I wrote at Earthpages.ca over the summer. Looking back I’m tempted to edit. But I’ll just wait ’till next time around.

Enjoy! — MC

Participation Mystique is a psychological and spiritual idea proposed by the anthropologist Lucien Lévi-Bruhl. It concerns the alleged mystical relationship that so-called primitives had with objects in their environment.

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The Acropolis: Centerpiece of Athens

The Parthenon of Athens seen from the hill of ...

The Parthenon of Athens seen from the hill of the Pnyx to the west. Location 23°43’35.69″E 37°58’17.39″N – Wikipedia

By Victoria Darrow

The Acropolis dedicated to its patron goddess, Athena, has been undergoing massive reconstruction since 1975. The Acropolis is home to several ancient buildings and is situated in the center of the City of Athens.  Probably the best known building is the Parthenon built between 447 and 438 BC.  A proper temple with majestic columns and decorated with sculptures and in particular a statue of Athena in full armor carrying Nike to the Athenians in her right hand.

Pottery shards of the Neolithic period (4000/3500-3000 BC) and, from near the Erechtheion, of the Early and Middle Bronze Age, show that the hill was inhabited from a very early period. A fortification wall was built around it in the thirteenth century BC and the citadel became the center of a Mycenaean kingdom. This early fortification is partially preserved among the later monuments and its history can be traced fairly accurately. The Acropolis became a sacred precinct in the eighth century BC with the establishment of the cult of Athena Polias, whose temple stood at the northeast side of the hill.

Among the major remains at The Acropolis are the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheum and the Theatre of Dionysus.  The Acropolis Museum houses all the valuable ancient artifacts on the southern slope near the Parthenon. This is the home of many Greek lessons taught to students from all around the world.

Since 1975, The Acropolis Restoration Project has been working to bring back the majesty of the ruin rather than trying to recreate its original look. The mission is to reverse damages caused by man and not nature.  Wars, vandalism and previous alterations and restoration attempts have caused considerable structural problems and further destruction.  The Project is employing many modern methods using cranes to haul giant marble pieces, but also ancient Greek building techniques and materials are crucial to maintaining its integrity as a ruin.

For example, the restoration of the temple of Athena Nike was completed in 2010; you may search for photos online and compare them to photos on Greek books, you will be able to see that the new pieces only restored to temple while maintaining it as an ancient ruin. The intervention is only meant to remove current and future damage from previous restorations and restore structural integrity.

The Restoration Project may take as long as 2020 to be totally complete, but the painstaking care to restore the ancient site using methods that can be reversed in the future will help ensure that it remains the centerpiece of Athens for millennia to come.  It is especially important in helping to preserve Greek language and culture by bringing to life this magnificent site for them to see.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/history-articles/the-acropolis-centerpiece-of-athens-6258425.html

About the Author

Greek123 and Papaloizos Publications, located in Silver Spring, MD is the oldest publisher of Greek language lessons in the United States. The company publishes text books, readers, workbooks, audio CDs, and videos for the instruction of Greek. The curriculum is written and designed by Dr. Theodore C. Papaloizos, who has been writing and publishing Greek lessons in America for over 50 years. For more information on the Greek123 product line for people of all ages visit http://www.greek123.com/ or call toll- frees 1-855-473-3512.

Note – Since this article was first published, there have been some changes to articlesbase.com. The original links have been left intact. 


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What is Big Brother Watching?


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UNESCO blamed of hypocrisy for heritage status to island where women are forbidden

A woman takes part in celebrations after Valongo Wharf was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on July 10, 2017.

Special to Earthpages.org

Hindus have blamed United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) of hypocrisy over granting Okinoshima Island of Japan the World Heritage Site status where the women are not allowed to set foot.

UNESCO World Heritage Committee, whose 41st session is meeting in Krakow (Poland) on July 2-12, endorsed Okinoshima Island of Japan for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List; it was announced on July nine.

Rajan Zed said that it was clear betrayal of the cause of UNESCO where “Gender Equality” was one of the two “Global Priorities”. He urged UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova to resign for insincerity to the ideals of UNESCO.

It was a blatant case of promotion and providing official stamp of approval to “gender-inequality” by UNESCO and its two-facedness, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted.

UNESCO, which “considers gender equality as a fundamental human right, a building block for social justice and an economic necessity”, should be embarrassed of its actions of placing this Island even on its Tentative List of heritage sites. It seemed that UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and Executive Board Chairperson Michael Worbs and other concerned officials failed to really read and grasp the priorities and goals of the organization, Rajan Zed indicated.

Zed stated that UNESCO should not be in the business of rewarding the monuments/sites which refused to treat women with equality and respect they deserved. Women were entitled to equal rights and opportunities and this gender discrimination at the Island needed to end right now as it was highly inappropriate and out-of-line.

Rajan Zed, quoting scriptures, explained that ancient Manusmriti said: “Where women are revered, there the gods are pleased; where they are not, no rite will yield any fruit.”

Men and women were equal in the eyes of God; Zed said, and urged His Holiness Pope Francis and other world religious leaders to strongly speak on this gender equality issue. How could the “men-only” island be on the UNESCO World Heritage List? Zed wondered.

“Okinoshima Island and Related Sites in Munakata Region” was on the Tentative List under Japan in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention since 2009. A description of Okinoshima Island on UNESCO website includes: “where from the fourth to the tenth centuries national religious rituals were conducted to supplicate the gods” and “where gods descended to live in this world”. A “Nomination Dossier” was prepared by Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs for this site in January 2016.

 UNESCO considers German cave art for World Cultural Heritage status (euronews.com)

 13 spectacular photos of the Lake District, the newest UNESCO World Heritage Site (businessinsider.com)

 Island That Bans Female Visitors Is Now A UNESCO World Heritage Site (newsy.com)

 What you didn’t know about Djibouti, the tea-loving nation where women outnumber men (telegraph.co.uk)

 Seven trees photographed over two years (telegraph.co.uk)

 Someone spent 2 years painstakingly replicating China’s Forbidden City in ‘Minecraft’ (mashable.com)