Re: virus: Re: my heart

Tracy Harms (
Thu, 26 Oct 95 17:43:28 MDT

Don Rivers on indigenous American history:
>More recently (before this century, though) they only took as much as
>they needed. Every last bit was used. Bones as tools, hide as tipi
>covers, etc. meat to eat. They even drank the blood (for example). Nothing
>was wasted.
>Gee, I did a report on this in 6th grade. I wonder if that's still
>around. :)
>At any rate, they were much less damaging to the
>planet than the civilization which overran them.

There are some important exceptions to this statement, important enough to lead
us to pause before we consider them mere exceptions to a rule.

For example, as the market for beaver fur really soared during the 18th century,
it was Indians who did most of the trapping. They were the ones who actually
wiped out the bulk of the north-eastern beaver population. True, they did it in
order to trade for European goods, but at the least this should be a warning
lest we think that the Indians were broadly "above" wreaking irreversible
changes on the environment. When the incentive came to trap beaver to
eradication, they did so. Until that time, they did not.

My guess is that the context of incentives has far more significance than
"attitudes toward nature" or the like.