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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bering Strait Letter, 2008 by CFT

Dear Ms. Fox Tree,

My name is Clarissa (name changed), and I'm in 8th grade. This week I have a short essay due on three origin ideas of Native Americans. I just read your piece on the Ice Bridge theory. I would really love to use some of your perspectives in my essay, but I need to know how many Native Americans actually agree with you. While you piece really brought me some new perspectives I can't really discuss it unless its on a larger scale of agreement.

Thank you for your time,

Hi Clarissa,

Thanks for reading my blog. It's not really about how many Native Americans agree with me, not that I could tell you the answer to that questions anyway, it is about research and facts, whether folks believe it or not. Some people don't believe the Holocaust happened to Jews in Germany, but that doesn't make it not true.

Another lie to consider is the Native American population in the Americas. The Smithsonian Institute has stated that the Native American population in 1492 was not more than one million. Under repeated challenges, they have revised that figure upwards to two million. The original figure is based heavily on the interpretations of anthropologists like James Mooney, whose work was filled with racial bias. For example, he refers repeatedly to "half-negro mongrels" and people who have "fairly healthy blood." Using dubious field surveys, he came up with a figure of 1.1 million.

Anthropologist Henry Dobyns, estimated in 1983 that the aboriginal population of North America was 18 million and the present territory of the United States was about 10 million.

The population number now accepted by impartial demographers is that there were 120 million people in both North and South America. Consider that recent scholarship describes Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital city, as the third largest in the WORLD at the time of Columbus.

A society built by hiding the truth is invested in continuing to hide truths. When you write your essay, you don't have to agree with all the facts, you really just need to be able to bring up reasonable doubt and ask questions that make folks think about other perspectives. The book, Red Earth, White Lies by Vine Deloria cites more research and evidence than I put on my blog.

The other thing about Native American creation stories is that our stories are not really about the Bering Strait, they are about being born from spirits, caves, or clay, depending on the Nation.

Let me know what you decide,