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"The unwritten laws"

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posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 03:56 AM
About the Pawnee:

"They were a well-disciplined people, maintaining public order under many trying circumstances. And yet they had none of the power mechanisms that we consider essential to a well-ordered life. No orders were ever issued...Time after time I tried to find a case of orders given and there were none. Gradually I began to realize that democracy is a very personal thing which like charity, begins at home. Basically it means not being coerced and having no need to coerce anyone else. The Pawnee learned this way of living in the earliest beginning of his life. In the detailed events of every day as a child, he began his development as a disciplined and free man or as a women who felt her dignity and her independence to be inviolate"


"The Creeks are just honest, liberal and hospitable to strangers; considerate, loving and affectionate to their wives and relations; fond of their children; industrious, frugal, temperate and persevering; charitable and forbearing. I have been weeks and months among them and in their towns, and never observed the least sign of contention or wrangling: never saw an instance of and Indian beating his wife, or even reproving her in anger. In this case they stand as examples of reproof to the most civilized nations . . . for indeed their wives merit their esteem and the most gentle treatment, they being industrious, frugal, loving and affectionate . . .Their internal police and family economy. . .incontrovertibly place those people in an illustrious point of view: their liberality, intimacy and friendly intercourse with one another, without any restraint of ceremonious formality; as if they were even insensible of the use of necessity of associating the passions of affections of avarice, ambition or covetousness. . . How are we to account for their excellent policy in civil government; it cannot derive its influence from coercive laws, for they have no such artificial system."


From Columbus and Other Cannibals

These quotes should provide a good explanation for this : Prisoner Exchange

Think - it was not imposed. It evolved. It was alive. It evolved everywhere on this planet. It still appears today as a living organization, everywhere there are some free people. Where the machine is not looking for a moment. It appears for any family or group of friends. But the machine is always in the background. It's like a plant trying to grow trough asphalt. It maintains itself, no force needed. Those people did not even know they were "organized". They just "were". Do we wonder why our body functions so well ? No - it's what he does. It's alive. Of course it functions. Else it would be dead.

Our organization is a machine. It's dead. We are trying to form and fit into a machine. Trying to imitate it's components. And we destroy ourselves. And the planet - the machine goes too fast now, it's on his own. ( We are caught in it, most identify with it. )

Gift economy

Where it all starts : "School"

[edit on 15-10-2009 by pai mei]

posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 04:26 AM
Of course, since the Indian culture has been basically wiped out, we have to rely on the reports of a few observers who might have missed something. But let's assume they're right, that the Indians had an exemplary culture in which they were dignified, honest, caring, supportive of one another, and so on.

That culture didn't survive. The culture that used violence survived. I'm not saying that the violent culture was better. It was not. It was just better suited to survive and perpetuate itself. That's what happened, and is still happening.

Natural selection is still happening, though perhaps we ought to call it "unnatural" selection. Survival of the fittest - but "fittest" for what? Fittest for survival. That's all. Not the best; not the noblest; not the most worthy. Just the ones who manage to outlast the rest.

I think this world is something like a filter, that only lets a certain range of people survive and thrive. Those who are very debased - the criminals, the thugs, those who cannot fit in with society - those tend not to thrive. They are sent to prison, executed, murdered, or simply shunned. The very fine people - the very sensitive, noble, honest, peaceful ones - also don't do well. They don't have the willingness to elbow in for their share of resources.

Only the middle group, those who can cooperate for the most part, but who also have enough self-interest to shove their way forward to make sure they get their share - those are the ones who make it, and who carry on from generation to generation.

I think some people are just too good for this world.

posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 04:39 AM
reply to post by chiron613

I did not say they were not fighting other tribes. But they had stuff like the coup stick. And ritual wars. Not "let's kill them all". Also lots of tribes - had no intention to make war - and preserved peace the best they could.
Real "violence" - we brought it to them. Machine killing. Rewards for how many Indian scalps you brought - no matter what age the Indian had, of course they fought back.

Survival of the fittest ? From ancient history - people did not live alone. They formed groups. Inside such a group - the one who is greedy, who lies, who is violent - soon he will be exiled. That was their punishment. Natural punishment - how do you deal with a friend who's gone crazy and keeps trying to beat you ? You exclude him from your group, for a time at least.
So you see - these traits were not formed trough "evolution". Even today - many say : "I am good, but the world is bad"...

People are caught in the system, and the system - always in the background allows very few natural relations between groups of people. The last remnant of the tribe - family. Sometimes friends. But not real tribes. Just scattered plants growing trough the asphalt.

"Observing a prisoner exchange between the Iroquois and the French in upper New York in 1699, Cadwallader Colden is blunt: “ notwithstanding the French Commissioners took all the Pains possible to carry Home the French, that were Prisoners with the Five Nations, and they had full Liberty from the Indians, few of them could be persuaded to return. “Nor, he has to admit, is this merely a reflection on the quality of French colonial life, “for the English had as much Difficulty” in persuading their redeemed to come home, despite what Colden would claim were the obvious superiority of English ways:

No Arguments, no Intreaties, nor Tears of their Friends and Relations, could persuade many of them to leave their new Indian Friends and Acquaintance; several of them that were by the Caressings of their Relations persuaded to come Home, in a little Time grew tired of our Manner of living, and run away again to the Indians, and ended their Days with them. On the other Hand, Indian Children have been carefully educated among the English, cloathed and taught, yet, I think, there is not one Instance, that any of these, after they had Liberty to go among their own People, and were come to Age, would remain with the English, but returned to their own Nations, and became as fond of the Indian Manner of Life as those that knew nothing of a civilized Manner of Living. And, he concludes, what he says of this particular prisoner exchange “has been found true on many other Occasions.”

Benjamin Franklin was even more pointed: When an Indian child is raised in white civilization, he remarks, the civilizing somehow does not stick, and at the first opportunity he will go back to his red relations, from whence there is no hope whatever of redeeming him. But when white persons of either sex have been taken prisoners young by the Indians, and have lived a while among them, tho’ ransomed by their Friends, and treated with all imaginable tenderness toprevail with them to stay among the English, yet in a Short time they become disgusted with our manner of life, and the care and pains that are necessary to support it, and take the firstgood Opportunity of escaping again into the Woods, from whence there is no reclaiming them.

There was always the great woods, and the life to be lived within it was, Crevecoeur admits, “singularly captivating,” perhaps even superior to that so boasted of by the transplanted Europeans. For, as many knew to their rueful amazement, “thousands of Europeans are Indians, and we have no examples of even one of those aborigines having from choice become Europeans!”

[edit on 15-10-2009 by pai mei]

posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 05:31 AM
I could not get my thought straight on this topic.

I have noticed something that I find extremely disturbing.
That is the "indoctrination" of young children by various sources of cartoonish media.
Children seem to revolve around the idea that they are not only entitled to but expected to have (FUN) 24/7.
FUN is the order of the day, and rightfully so, but family and responsibilities still exist.
That gets lost somewhere when the family isn't in the equation as much as they should be.
So often have people commented on the fact that TV has become the Nanny of children.
Able to do what parents could not, keep their kids quiet and in one place.
That is rather sad when the parents become just as disconnected from their children as their children become disconnected from them.

A fact that has been maliciously abused by advertisers.
How many parents out there have seen their kids frolicking around and as soon as the commercials come on, they stop dead in their tracks, all attention on the advertisement.
The first words out of the children's mouths is as predictable as it is disturbing. (I WANT THAT!!) whatever that is...

Not only are our children subjected to the rampant commercialism and selfishness therein, but the content of the actual programming is more or less one huge commercial.
It's no coincidence that children behave the way they do, when being exposed to this type of willing harassment.

It's not that we don't realize what's happening, we are just conditioned to not care anymore.

Combined with the mass media information machine that influences our daily lives, is it any wonder why we behave like we do.
I know it's easy to blame behavior on those media agents, but it's not so much the behavior that is being encouraged as it is our sense of entitlement.


[edit on 10/15/2009 by reticledc]

posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 05:41 AM
reply to post by reticledc

About children :

Yes they have the right to have fun. Forever. Growing up - does not mean to work and hate your life. Growing up means - simple getting bigger and enjoying other things in life. Also - being responsible and participating in your community. (This does not mean to work - for another). But for the rest - life is just play.
That's how people used to live.


Almost universally, anthropologists remark on how ridiculously happy hunter gatherers seem to be. Laughter is far more common in their societies.

Of the !Kung: "Bursts of laughter accompany the conversations. Sometimes the !Kung laugh mildly with what we would call a sense of humor about people and events; often they shriek and howl as though laughter were an outlet for tension. They laugh at mishaps that happen to other people, like the lions eating up someone else's meat, and shriek over particularly telling and insulting sexual sallies...(15)".

Laurens van der Post expressed wonder at the exuberant San laugh, which rises "sheer from the stomach, a laugh you never hear among civilized people. (17)."

There's little wonder why. With no stressful work and plenty of time to socialize with friends and family, or engage in other pursuits they enjoy, what's not to be happy about?

The happiness conspiracy

Our ignorance of happiness is revealed by the question on everyone's lips: 'Does money make us happy?' The head of a US aid agency in Kenya commented recently that volunteers are predictably dumbstruck and confused by the zest and jubilance of the Africans. It's become a cliche for them to say: 'The people are so poor, they have nothing--and yet they have so much joy and seem so happy.'

I never knew how measly my own happiness was until one day in 1978 when I found myself stranded in a remote western Tanzanian village. I saw real happiness for the first time--since then I have learned that it has vastly more to do with cultural factors than genetics or the trendy notion of personal 'choice'.

So it didn't surprise me that an African nation, Nigeria, was found recently to be the world's happiest country. The study of 'happy societies' is awakening us to the importance of social connectedness, spirituality, simplicity, modesty of expectations, gratitude, patience, touch, music, movement, play and 'down time'.

The small Himalayan nation of Ladakh is one of the best-documented examples of a 'happy society'. As Helena Norberg-Hodge writes in Ancient Futures, Ladakhis were a remarkably joyous and vibrant people who lived in harmony with their harsh environment. Their culture generated mutual respect, community-mindedness, an eagerness to share, reverence for nature, thankfulness and love of life. Their value system bred tenderness, empathy, politeness, spiritual awareness and environmental conservation. Violence, discrimination, avarice and abuse of power were non-existent while depressed, burned-out people were nowhere to be found.

But in 1980 consumer capitalism came knocking with its usual bounty of raised hopes and social diseases. The following year, Ladakh's freshly appointed Development Commissioner announced: 'If Ladakh is ever going to be developed, we have to figure out how to make these people more greedy.' The developers triumphed and a greed economy took root. The issues nowadays are declining mental health, family breakdown, crime, land degradation, unemployment, a widening gap between rich and poor, pollution and sprawl.

[edit on 15-10-2009 by pai mei]

posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 05:48 AM
reply to post by pai mei

My apologies. I really didn't mean it that way.
My point is that media and this idea of cartoony fun should not be a substitute for family, and the kind of fun family interaction brings.
I am going to edit my above post to reflect that.
Thank you for pointing that out.
Who could deny that people are indeed affected by what streams into their consciousness by various forms of media, and that same media is contaminated with nonsense and commercialism?

To me, Family is above all.

[edit on 10/15/2009 by reticledc]

posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 09:06 AM
Very interesting. It makes one think of why and who came up with the rules of what an evolved civilization are. People have forgotten where we came from and have no idea where we are going. Its all about having power over a large group now. I have no interest in being in control of another person. Live and let live is the best for me. So much of ancestral knowledge has been lost. Not just lost but ripped away to never been seen again. I do find it confusing that when a child is small we tell them not to fight with anyone to get along, but when they turn 18 it is ok for them to kill people like in a war.

posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 09:40 AM
Thanks Pei. We need a reminder now and then of how things aught to be. It's truly a wonder that anyone can grow up sane in the modern world. I suppose that in itself is a testament to the strength of our true natures, to not be overcome by the materialism and power games.
Some people say you cannot go back and live as aboriginals have before but I disagree. We can. Losing one piece of technology at a time and finding the original, natural solution to the problem that the machine adressed. When you learn primitive living skills you automatically become one with your aboriginal predecessors, you have connected to the same source as they did - nature. If we don't follow that path back to nature we have sealed our fate. A fate that I, for one, do not relish.

posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 10:06 AM

Originally posted by Asktheanimals
Thanks Pei. We need a reminder now and then of how things aught to be.

Some people say you cannot go back and live as aboriginals have before but I disagree. We can.

As much as I respect the First Nations, and the hardships that they have endured as a result of European colonisation, I do not subscribe to the notion of the "Noble Savage"...that is a white concept and it removes the humanity from the Aboriginal people and replaces it with 19th century romanticism.

Natives could be cruel, they'd slaughter their enemies and steal their women, put others into slavery, and cannibalism was not at all unknown. Not because they were any better or worse than the whites, but simply because they are human. They lost a war of economy and technology because of an unfair playing field.

There are a whole lot of socio-economic reasons why Indians (and yes, and many tell me to call them just that) got a raw deal. But moulding them into something that they were not does not help them to redeem their place in modern society. They are human...just like the rest of us, with all the foibles and all the innate grace that we all share.

And I have also heard life in the garden referred to by Hobbes as "nasty, brutish and short." careful what you ask for.

posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 12:11 PM
Not all Native Tribes were similar or held the same values. There is a big difference between how the Iroquois lived from the Cherokee, or the Anasazi from the Pawnee, the Crow from the Cheyenne, as the Sioux from the Apaches.

You can't compare Apples to Oranges and say that since some Native Americans were violent the idea that the Pawnee culture as civilized is a "romanticized" as such is fundamentally incorrect.

Just as the various Celtic Tribes throughout Europe varied dramatically from one to the next, so were the Native American Tribes.

The OP was pointing out the Culture of two particular Native American Tribe, rather than making a generalization about all Native Americans.

However, there are many aspects to Native American Tribal Cultures that have been inspiring, and changed the course of our own Culture. These Native American Tribal Cultures greatly influenced who we became as a Nation, even though we committed atrocities against them in the name of Manifest Destiny.

Many Tribes helped fight the War against the British for American Independence. The Shawnee gave us the concept of Individualism. The Iroquois gave us our Articles of Confederation and federated representative democracy. The Sioux reintroduced the idea of Transgender (having no culturally restricted Gender Roles) to Western culture, after having been forgotten by the Christianized West since Celtic times, which paved the way for Women's Liberation.

Each Tribe was very unique, and each has many numerous contributions to our society, and lessons from which we can learn.

I think the OPs insight into the things we can learn from the Pawnee and Creek is a valid one.

Although the Pawnee had a violent past, being almost decimated from a long standing war against the Sioux and the Cheyenne, they are perhaps the most staunchly Matriarchal of the Native Tribes, which could account for why their culture is so markedly different from other Native Tribes.

The Creek or Muscogee were of the same family as the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee. From the beginning of the Westerners appearance in the Americas they have adapted their ways to coexist, and were considered one of the Five "Civilized Tribes" those early settlers encountered. They changed the way Settlers from the West viewed Native Americans in stark comparison to the Spanish idea of them being Savages. Although the Creek sided with the British against the American Colonists in the War for Independence, Washington gave the Creek amnesty and they became the first Native American Tribe to be "Civilized" and benefited greatly. During the Civil War they attempted to remain Neutral and Impartial to both sides, although they provided sanctuary to runaway slaves in the South.

I do agree that the concept of Primativism, or choosing to become a Noble Savage is an idealistic and romanticized notion, at least on a large cultural scale. The unique character that many Native American Tribes had stemmed from the fact that they were Tribal based, which is something that does not translate into a larger Civio-centric based society. If it was, then Westerners would have remained Celtic. Tribal based cultures work well on a small scale, but not on a large scale, just like Communism, for instance. Communism actually is a viable model for small, intentional communities, however, as history has shown, it does not work so well on a large scale. Tribal based cultures are the exact same way. However, on an individual basis, one need only look to the American Transcendentalists of the 19th century to see a similar movement, returning to a simpler way of life, or Primativism, embracing similar ideals held by many Native American Tribal Cultures.

American Culture has, on the surface, the appearance of no Culture, as it is a homogenized assimilation of many Cultures into a codified whole. The aspects of that Culture were rarely intentional, and thus the "machine" seems artificially imposed. It therefore leaves us feeling empty and void of any culture or identity, causing us to yearn for something more definitive and substantial by which to define ourselves.

It is for that reason that intentional individualistic movements such as American Transcendentalists of two centuries ago, to adopt intentional aspects of other Cultures, is a valid and poignant one. You see such happening across America all the time. The return to smaller and intentional or planned communities, and looking to simpler times for guidance or as models, is a grassroots that is happening everywhere. There are certainly many Native American Tribal Cultures that could suffice for such a basis.

However, it is unrealistic to expect some aspects of any Tribal based Culture becoming adopted by the mainstream American Culture, as we are, and will become ever more so, Civio-centric as we move towards a Global Culture. Even though Bacon's The New Atlantis, played a big part in molding the New World, there are aspects to his Utopia that will never be realized for the same reason. Time changes, and so must we if we wish to survive. The Creek knew this well, which is why they survived when other Tribes died off. They adopted Western principles and Western culture, as we adopted aspects of their own. You can't always turn the hands of Time back and have to remain dynamic, even in one's search for Cultural Identity, or Time will move on without you.

posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 12:36 PM
reply to post by fraterormus

Just off the top of my head, I'd say that 'the 5 civilized tribes' were dubbed that as seen through the lens of the colonists. Civilized is a very subjective word.

And if I recall, the Creeks had the beginnings of a fairly complex society. Their leadership referred to the citizenry as "stinkards".

Certainly I am speaking in a general sense. If it is the point of the OP to bring understanding of First Nations equality, I have no bones about that. That covers both the good and the bad. I'm just saying that needs to be remembered.

posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 03:53 PM
reply to post by JohnnyCanuck

Of course they were "human" and very different from each other, and they were fighting other tribes and were cruel and everything else. Not among them. That is the same for all the tribes - among themselves they have the best society people can form. See the two quotes from the start. I an sure they apply to all the tribes. No matter their customs, wars, and everything else. The day when a chief that can give orders under threat appears - that is no longer a tribe. It's civilization with all it's madness, and destruction of the soul.
They don't need to be at war. There were plenty of tribes that were not warrior tribes.

They are tempted - only by our stuff, not by our organization. They may want a gun but not a job. Show them everything from the start. How we behave - among ourselves , in our great cities there are people that live in the sewers. Food locked inside - and people go hungry, even if there is enough. In a tribe - this would never happen. What about the destruction of the Earth ? The life of the machine, that is what we really offer.
Some - know what they have and see everything that what we bring.

"Those who haven't been exposed to the hypocrisies of a "civilized" education react to things naturally, as they happen. It is in the here and now that they are either happy or unhappy, joyful or sad, interested or indifferent. The superiority of pure Indians like these Guajiros was striking. They could outdo us in everything: when they adopted someone, everything they had belonged to him; and when anyone showed them the least attention, they were profoundly moved"

[edit on 15-10-2009 by pai mei]

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