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Monday, October 10, 2016

Noble Savagery: The Invented Indian (A Classic Jared Taylor Review!)

Re-posted by Nicholas Stix

I thank the old buddy who sent this in.

[Of related interest, at WEJB/NSU:

“Mark Twain: The Noble Red Man.”]
 

Noble Savagery
By Jared Taylor
December 1991
American Renaissance
 

James A. Clifton, The Invented Indian, Transaction Publishers, 1990, 388 pp., $29.95

In America virtually all non-whites can trade on their skin color and on tales of past victimization in order to extract benefits from guilt-ridden whites. Blacks are recognized experts at this game, but American Indians have been perhaps even more successful.

At the heart of their success has been the creation of a mythical past inhabited by Indians who never were. The Invented Indian, edited by veteran anthropologist James Clifton, is a brilliant dissection of the myths that have been so widely circulated by Indians and their white apologists. Each of the collection’s 16 authors demolishes an aspect of the myth or describes the cynical purposes it has served.

This book so brazenly flouts America’s unwritten rules on how to talk about minorities, that it is a wonder it was ever published. It would be impossible to bring out a similar book about blacks or Hispanics, and it is a joy to find serious scholars who are willing to write the truth as they see it, without regard to political consequences.

The Myth

The great myth is essentially borne out by whatever one is likely to hear about Indians from non-specialist sources. Professor Clifton devotes several pages to fleshing it out, but it can be quickly summarized: Indians were spiritual, egalitarian, innocent people living in perfect harmony with the earth. They welcomed the white man, taught him the secrets of the wilderness, and shared with him the wisdom of their social institutions. In return, the white man enslaved and slaughtered the Indian, afflicted him with hideous diseases, and tried to destroy his culture.

Nevertheless, runs the myth, the Native American has survived. Though he has been dispossessed and politically emasculated, his spirit remains pure. As the white man begins to acknowledge the horrors he has wrought upon the Indian, so has he begun to study and appreciate the age-old wisdom and natural virtue to which all Indians, everywhere, are heir.

Like all myths, this one leaves certain things out: in this case, cannibalism, infanticide, ritual torture, geronticide, slaughter of prisoners, slavery, and the like. Such practices, though well substantiated, are seldom written about by historians and ethnographers for fear of violating what Prof. Clifton calls the Eleventh Commandment of the Indian business: Never Say No To An Indian. One of the Commandment’s corollaries prohibits writing or saying anything that Indians might not wish to hear. Most Indians know very little about their ancestors of centuries ago, and would vigorously deny accusations of slavery or cannibalism.

In Canada, certain agreeable fictions have semi-legal status. Whenever work crews find human bones at ancient camp sites, for example, they must take special measures not to violate the sacred dead. Broken or burnt human bones — evidence of certain now-embarrassing practices — can be treated like animal bones.

Stressing the Positive

On the stress-the-positive side of the myth we find the wisdom that the white man is supposed to have learned from the Indian. Every school child has heard of Squanto, the Algonquin who taught the Pilgrims to fertilize their corn with fish. As Lynn Ceci points out in a fascinating essay, there is no evidence that any North American tribes used fertilizer of any kind. Squanto, who had a very interesting and well-documented career, probably learned about it in Newfoundland, where he lived for some time among English settlers who routinely fertilized with fish.

School children do not learn that Squanto had lived in both England and Spain, spoke fluent English, and was hardly the noble, simple savage the history books make him out to be. As Dr.Ceci points out, the image of generous Squanto tends to obscure the more accurate picture of Indians who often attacked and killed settlers.

Another part of the great Indian myth that has recently been picking up steam, is that early Americans learned about democracy and the advantages of unity by studying the Iroquois Confederation. One of the authors traces the origins of this myth, and explodes the idea that the Constitution could have been influenced, in any way, by the matrilineal and hereditary form of representation practiced by the Iroquois.

One reason such preposterous notions make any headway at all is that it has become nearly obligatory to describe Indian societies as idyllically egalitarian, even “non-sexist.” Of course, there were hundreds of different tribal societies with different customs, but all of them had well defined sex roles that would horrify Gloria Steinem. Often, women were treated scarcely better than beasts of burden.

As for egalitarianism, it is difficult for bare subsistence-level hunters and gatherers to practice anything else, but as soon as material surplus appeared, some people got more of it than others. Leland Donald writes about the Tutchone of the southern Yukon, who lived on land so harsh as to be nearly uninhabitable. Nevertheless, their society was divided into hereditary classes of rich, poor, and slaves. As Dr. Donald puts it, “even in conditions that seem ideal for the presence of the classic egalitarian Indian society, it is possible for marked inequalities to emerge.”

The potlatches and ruinous gift-giving that were required for status among the more prosperous Northwest Indians are well known, but somehow coexist with the myth that Indians all lived in innocent classlessness. Even well known expressions like “low man on the totem pole” fail to puncture the myth.

Another important part of the image is the perfect harmony with nature in which Indians are said to have lived. Once again, sparsely scattered, stone-age people have very little choice about the matter, but “Mother Earth” is central to the myth. All Indians, it is said, saw the earth as their beloved mother. Hills were her breasts, streams were mother’s milk, and vegetation was her lovely hair.

Astounding as it may seem, one of the authors explains that the entire Mother Earth story can be traced to a single statement made by a single Indian in 1885. There is virtually no other evidence that Indians thought of the earth as mother. Nevertheless, the Mother Earth belief is now so widely attributed not only to American Indians but to all primitive peoples that it is frightful heresy to point out how unsubstantiated it is.

Not surprisingly, there are plenty of entrepreneurs — Indian and non-Indian — who have parlayed the notion of the noble, nature-wise Indian into a means of parting gullible whites from their money. People with names like Rolling Thunder and Spotted Fawn do a brisk business promoting sweat lodges, sun dances, purification ceremonies, or whatever else aging hippies can be made to pay for. These ceremonies bear only a vague resemblance to anything the Indians of the past ever did, but there is a steady market for them.

According to another author, the same can be said for the pottery sold on the Pamunkey Indian reservation in Virginia. The Pamunkey stopped making pottery in the 1890s and started up again in the 1930s only because the state of Virginia paid to establish a pottery school on the reservation. Now tourists happily buy “Indian” pots, decorated with stick figure “writing” that is likewise a 20th century invention.

The High Counters

Minor frauds like these are relatively harmless. Deliberate attempts to manipulate thinking about Indians are more serious. David Henige of the University of Wisconsin reports that there is a small academic industry devoted to inflating the population estimates of Pre-Columbian America. If evidence can be found that tens of millions of healthy, happy Indians were living on the continent before the white man arrived, then the reduction of their numbers through warfare and disease can be made to seem all the more heinous.

The High Counters, as Mr. Henige calls them, pore over ancient accounts, pick the most exaggerated population estimates they can find, and solemnly pass them along as wholly credible. One scholar, for example, believes that a single energetic priest actually baptized, and counted, 14,000 Indians in a single day — one every six seconds, ‘round the clock. Others think that when Cortes said he faced an army of “more than 149,000” men, he can be relied on to have counted them accurately.

As Mr. Henige points out, numbers like these are just another way of saying “a lot,” but it is the scholars who are prepared to believe the worst of the colonizing white man who have the deepest faith in his ability to count people in crowds. Other High Counters would have it that European diseases swept through native tribes before the white man found them, killing up to half the population before Europeans could even start counting them.

If, by whatever means, the High Counters can gin up enough pre-Columbian Indians, they can then trot out the great, anti-white totem word, “genocide,” when they talk about the legacy of Columbus. The University of Oklahoma has even published a book called American Indian Holocaust and Survival.

Indian Givers

Present descendants of invented Indians have woven the strands of myth into a mighty whip with which to beat the white man. They have, for example, mobilized reservoirs of public sympathy for huge land claims. Allan van Gestel, who has defended current owners against such claims, estimates that since 1970, Indian law suits have clouded the title to 35 million acres in the Eastern United States alone. This is an area the size of Austria or Ireland.

Indians can always call on teams of eager whites who will work for them pro bono. Clever lawyers have based most land cases on an obscure Congressional proclamation of 1783 that forbade the states to buy land from Indian tribes without federal permission. This was six years before the Constitution even went into effect, and several state governments had bought land from Indians even before the proclamation. This has not stopped tribes from trying to get back land that was duly purchased — and that has been enormously improved in the last two hundred years.

Public sentiment, stoked by tales about the invented Indian, is such that Indians can virtually monopolize the services of scholars and historians; to testify “against” Indians can ruin a career. Some Indian claims have cost current land-owners hundreds of millions of dollars.

Today, the federal government has primary responsibility for dealing with Indians, but states and Canadian provinces also manage publicly funded Indian programs. According to Steven Feraca, a long-time worker at the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), all of these bureaucracies have long been given over to race-based hiring and promotion. Preferences at the Bureau are so blatant, and career prospects for non-Indians so bleak, that although Indians are only 1/2 percent of the US population, they hold 75 percent of the jobs at BIA.

In the last few decades, the “Indian desks” of virtually all branches of government have been turned over to Indians, so that decisions that are supposed to be made in the names of larger jurisdictions are in the hands of unabashed partisans. Tribal “leaders” are now often indistinguishable from Indian-affairs bureaucrats, with no way to sort out the resulting conflicts of interest. What is more, as another author points out, chronic lateness and absenteeism in these offices are routinely excused by the notion that Indians work according to mysterious earth rhythms rather than by the white man’s clock.

In sum, both in Canada and in the United States, Indians have succeeded in becoming a kind of Uber-citizen. Off the reservation, they have all the usual legal rights, in addition to the strenuous affirmative-action preferences that are now obligatory. On the reservation, they enjoy a kind of extraterritoriality, which exempts them from many taxes and laws, and entitles them to a complete array of Indians-only health and welfare benefits. They have suckled at the public teat for longer than any other group in North America, and bear the stigmata of listlessness and squalor to prove it.

Next year will mark the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of America. What, by all rights, should be a proud celebration of the spread of civilization to the New World, has already been hijacked by cultural relativists who see in the white man nothing but wickedness. The October issue of National Geographic begins a series of “quincentenary” articles, in which the editors flatter themselves on letting Indians write from “the most intimate — and perhaps truest — perspective of all.”

Such a series is likely to be filled with the exploits of invented Indians — more of what Prof. Clifton calls “perfectly enchanting fiction … that is both believed by its impresarios and presented as believable to others.” His book, impressively researched and stuffed with fascinating details, is the perfect antidote. 

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

jerry pdx
I have a grandfather who was mixed Native American and Scottish and my father was raised on a reservation in N. Dakota. Many members of my family migrated West decades ago while other stayed on at the "Res". It would be pretentious and phony of me to identify with being Native American because I'm mostly white (very low Native "blood quantum") and I didn't grow up on the Reservation. However, I've been back to visit relatives in the Reservation many times and have a fair amount of personal experience with modern Native American culture. That being said, I do agree with most of the "noble savage" nonsense.

A casino was recently built and oil found on my relatives reservation. It's part of the Bakken oilfield. You wouldn't believe the greed, the avarice, the infighting and selfishness. Trust me, if you think Native Americans are any less consumed by the need for wealth than anybody else just go to any reservation where oil has been found or a casino built.

However, there are still some misconceptions here. Native Americans did not practice cannibalism, if may have happened randomly but there is no evidence they did it anymore than Europeans or Asians. I challenge anyone to send any legit proof of that. Just because of the Donner party or Ed Gein or Jeffrey Dahmer doesn't mean that all whites are cannibals, though negroes might tell you so.

Slavery was not practiced by all Native Americans, it was practiced by Plains Indians (my ancestors - gulp!) primarily, Western, Eastern and Southern Indians did not, at least not on a mass scale. The Plains Indians were quite a bit harsher in dealing with invading whites and much less welcoming than most others Native groups. You have to be fair, Europeans practice(d) varying forms of slavery also: Indentured servitude, employment, etc...

I do agree that many of false mythologies that have been built up around Native Americans are absurd and need to be deflated. They are no more innately "in tune" with "mother earth" than anyone else. If you can find one that still lives a traditional life then maybe they have a greater affinity with the natural world than you or I, but I've yet to find one.

However, even if the Natives who inhabited N. America were not perfect humans, that did not give Europeans the right to simply move in. I understand it happened and can't be changed and I'm not going to get maudlin about it but trying to imply that Native Americans were cannibals or slavers and that justifies what Europeans did is self serving crap. Just own what happened and move on.

Anonymous said...

Just went to one of the many Indian casinos in Michigan today...donated $100 to their fund.Actually up for the year though,thanks to a jackpot I was lucky enough to hit.Reading this story gave me the idea....lol.
(By the way,Gateway has another story,that Hillary is a heavy drinker/alkie.Some impartial news organization should look into that--if we HAD an impartial news organization.
--GRA

Anonymous said...

Ed Gein never ate human flesh. He made suits and keepsakes out of human bodies, but he didn't eat them.

Anonymous said...

To: Anonymous
Jerry pdx
Yes, I know Gein wasn't really a cannibal, as far as we know, but then again Manson wasn't a serial killer but has honorary status as one. It's just that Gein was a white man so has been endlessly referenced as the most gruesome serial killer of all time, though he only killed two people and only barely makes the grade as a true one and also despite the fact that many even more vile and vastly more prolific black serial killers have emerged. Hollywood ignores them and keeps the Hannibal Lecter character (based on Gein) and it's various incarnations recycling over and over in film.

If I mention a name like Gein in that kind of context you have to understand I'm satirizing the willful ignorance of white liberals and racist blacks. In their minds serial and cannibal killers are all white and all the same. If you mention Gein they won't clearly know what he really did so they default to what they seen on TV or movies, which is that he "ate people" and made "coats out of their skins". Plus that all serial and cannibal killers are "lone white males". So, in their minds Gein "is" a cannibal because Lecter eats human livers with wine. This is all mixed up and muddled up in their minds because they have little in real facts to draw from. You and I may know that Gein (as far as we know - gotta add that) wasn't a cannibal but they don't.

Anonymous said...

"This book so brazenly flouts America’s unwritten rules on how to talk about minorities, that it is a wonder it was ever published."


In the future it will be that the wonder is that the author was not attacked and killed. Maybe even now?

Anonymous said...

"the image of generous Squanto tends to obscure the more accurate picture of Indians who often attacked and killed settlers."

The names of Squanto and Massasoit are often linked. The latter a chief who made a mutual defense treaty with the Pilgrims. NOT mentioned is that the tribe of Massasoit prior to the arrival of the Pilgrims had fought a war with a neighboring tribe, lost the war, and had their best lands taken from them. Massasoit saw the obvious superior firepower of the Pilgrims and hope to join forces with them, wage war against his American Indian enemy, and gain back his lost land. NONE of this was known to the Pilgrims. Massasoit as almost everyone else does was not being kind out of sheer altruism.

Anonymous said...

"the Tutchone of the southern Yukon, who lived on land so harsh as to be nearly uninhabitable. Nevertheless, their society was divided into hereditary classes of rich, poor, and slaves."

Captives, not slaves. Remember that, captives and not slaves.

Anonymous said...

"As the white man begins to acknowledge the horrors he has wrought upon the Indian, so has he begun to study and appreciate the age-old wisdom and natural virtue to which all Indians, everywhere, are heir."


The great wisdom of the American Indian is a popular theme of the various "Billy Jack" movies.

Anonymous said...

"the entire Mother Earth story can be traced to a single statement made by a single Indian in 1885."


I think this is "Black Elk Speaks". Mandatory reading in many colleges and high schools. At least an adaptation of what the whitey author THOUGHT Black Elk was speaking about. A mix of Black Elk's wisdom and what the whitey author wanted to hear. This has never been clarified.

Anonymous said...

"Now tourists happily buy 'Indian' pots, decorated with stick figure 'writing' that is likewise a 20th century invention."


"And all the beads we made by hand
Are nowadays made in Japan"

Paul Revere And The Raiders - Indian Reservation

Anonymous said...

"If evidence can be found that tens of millions of healthy, happy Indians were living on the continent before the white man arrived, then the reduction of their numbers through warfare and disease can be made to seem all the more heinous."


Those high counts are only true if you include all the American Indians living in what is now Mexico and Central America. Not those strictly living in what is now the forty-eight states.

Anonymous said...

"Some Indian claims have cost current land-owners hundreds of millions of dollars."


The idea is never to get the land back anyhow. Is for an out of court settlement for CASH! And lots of it.

Anonymous said...

"In sum, both in Canada and in the United States, Indians have succeeded in becoming a kind of Uber-citizen."

I cannot say what goes on in Canada but at least in the U.S. the American Indian is a super citizen. According to the Supreme Court the American Indian enjoys a legal status unique among all other people IN THE WORLD. Are at the same time citizens of their particular American Indian nation and also a citizen of the United States with right as guaranteed by both! They are citizens of the United States but YOU cannot become a citizen of the American Indian nation.

Anonymous said...

"Ed Gein never ate human flesh. He made suits and keepsakes out of human bodies, but he didn't eat them."


The priests of the Aztecs [?] would tear the heart out of victim [human sacrifice] and then dress themselves in the skin taken off the victim [human sacrifice] and do a dance! Ed might have been pleased and even participated. He could have been an American Indian too.

Anonymous said...

"Just went to one of the many Indian casinos in Michigan today...donated $100 to their fund"


Four things I notice as I travel around the country. Wineries, zip lines, adult book stores and casino. The latter on the reservation with an adjacent smoke shop and liquor shop all tax free. American Indians catering to the vice of the whitey.

Anonymous said...

"Slavery was not practiced by all Native Americans, it was practiced by Plains Indians (my ancestors - gulp!) primarily, Western, Eastern and Southern Indians did not, at least not on a mass scale."


The American Indians did not use the word slave. They said captive. Comanche and Navajo were not for their slave raids. The military campaigns of Kit Carson against the Navajo and Comanche were part of the American Civil War? Comanche in particular were noted for their raids into Mexico. Continued for a period the better part of two centuries. Done for the capture of live stock and also "captives" that could be traded.

Anonymous said...

"even if the Natives who inhabited N. America were not perfect humans, that did not give Europeans the right to simply move in."


Land as acquired by treaty or outright purchase is not just moving in. Or stolen. Treaties by modern standards unfair but eminently reasonable at the time?

1 million square miles of some of the most significant agricultural land on the planet laying fallow brought under cultivation. Who can complain?

Anonymous said...

"If I mention a name like Gein in that kind of context you have to understand I'm satirizing the willful ignorance of white liberals and racist blacks."



Ed is the stereotype of the Great White Defendant? The liberal likes to find and dwell on the whitey doing bad.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous
jerry pdx
Because land isn't in direct use means a foreign invader has a right to take it? Are you saying because we have national parks, much of it perfectly good land for farming or occupation, that foreigners have a right to move in and take them over? Just because the land isn't being "used"? So if a wave of Muslims marches into the Yellowstone saying they have a right to hunt and farm because Allah said so, and the land isn't in actual "use", then we should just let them? Saying lands were acquired "legally" from Natives is being disingenuous, many of those so called treaties were made with a few individuals within a tribe who really had no right to speak for an entire region, many tribes agreed to the treaties basically at the point of a gun, after all what human on earth would agree to give up prime land in exchange for useless land that doesn't grow anything or have any game? Yet you think those treaties were made voluntarily? Most of the so called treaties were eventually broken by the white man anyways so where do you get this holier than thou "we made honest" deals BS?

The agricultural land wasn't laying fallow, it was land the way land is supposed to be, being part of the natural cycle. Our modern agricultural system isn't sustainable anyways. If you don't believe that then check out this book: http://www.worldcat.org/title/vanishing-feast-how-dwindling-genetic-diversity-threatens-the-worlds-food-supply/oclc/29845557

The elites are quite aware of what is happening to our environment and ability to grow food. Bill Gates is preparing for it. As the biodiversity of our plant life vanishes he is storing seeds in order to monopolize food production in the future. He's insane because when his seeds run out we all starve, probably won't happen in our lifetime but he doesn't care, he just knows he'll control things in the near future, you'd think he'd use his wealth to help protect the biodiversity of the planet but he isn't concerned about that: http://www.globalresearch.ca/doomsday-seed-vault-in-the-arctic-2/23503