Sunday, June 25, 2017

There were about 300,000 Indians in eastern North America when the English arrived. Those 300,000 ranged over an approximately equal number of square miles. So, about one Indian per square mile. Ranged is the correct word. They were hunters and warriors. They did not cultivate the land. They did not settle. They knew not ownership. They had been there for 10,000-15,000 years.

Their moral code was reciprocity. Animal life was as important as human life. Immanent life was most important. There was a proper way to kill and there were improper ways to kill. Killing had to be done a proper way to satisfy the gods; otherwise moral reciprocity required satisfaction. They killed a lot. Reciprocity meant revenge.

On the shores of this Indian world landed the English. To settle. To cultivate. This was not going to work out.