History of Vegetarianism Native Americans and Vegetarianism

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by jmygann, Nov 21, 2009.

  1. jmygann

    jmygann Junior Member

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    By Rita Laws, Ph.D.

    "How well we know the stereotype of the rugged Plains Indian: killer of buffalo, dressed in quill-decorated buckskin, elaborately feathered eaddress, and leather moccasins, living in an animal skin teepee, master of the dog and horse, and stranger to vegetables. But this lifestyle, once limited almost exclusively to the Apaches, flourished no more than a couple hundred years. It is not representative of most Native Americans of today or yesterday. Indeed, the "buffalo-as-lifestyle" phenomenon is a direct result of European influence, as we shall see.

    Among my own people, the Choctaw Indians of Mississippi and Oklahoma, vegetables are the traditional diet mainstay. A French manuscript of the eighteenth century describes the Choctaws' vegetarian leanings in shelter and food. The homes were constructed not of skins, but of wood, mud, bark and cane. The principal food, eaten daily from earthen pots, was a vegetarian stew containing corn, pumpkin and beans. The bread was made from corn and acorns. Other common favorites were roasted corn and corn porridge. (Meat in the form of small game was an infrequent repast.) The ancient Choctaws were, first and foremost, farmers. ............................




    ................Now we, their descendants, must recapture the spirit of the ancient traditions for the benefit of all people. We must move away from the European influences that did away with a healthier style of living. We must again embrace our brothers and sisters, the animals, and "return to the corn" once and for all. "


    https://www.ivu.org/history/native_americans.html
     
  2. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    Re: History of Vegetarianism Native Americans and Vegetarianism

    G'day jmygann

    Interesting paper by Hina Hanta (Rita Laws). Reminds me a lot of the 'farmers' that were in residence here, in Australia, prior to European invasion and subsequent attempts to commit genocide upon those very same said farmers. Where I now live, just north of my birth country, the area is known as Dja Dja Wurrung country - 'Wurrung' meaning 'tongue'. When the White Fellas first come to this land, the people of the individual clan estates that make up Dja Dja Wurrung country, together with other neighbouring clan estates where the people that lived there had Wurrung in their name too (neighbours of the same 'tongue'), relied heavily upon indigenous plant species such as the Murnong (Microseris lanceolata) to provide the main staple of their diet, together with riparian plants such as Cumbungi (Typha spp.) adding to the store. The other major food source of the Wurrung peoples, was the Eastern Grey kangaroos, of which they themselves were dependant upon the indigenous species of grass, Themada australis (Kangaroo Grass). Of course, and only within about two-years of European 'colonisation' (a nice word that really means shooting, raping and poisoning of Aboriginal people), all of the remnant indigenous plant species were eaten out/trampled by the hard-hoofed animals that the 'colonialists' (remember, those with the guns and poison) bought with them - mainly in the form of sheep. The water holes were trashed, sacred ceremonial sites destroyed, ancient ways of knowing brushed aside... Aboriginal people in these parts could no longer rely on the once fertile plains that had sustained them for millennia - they were now literally slaves to the White Fella, and were solely dependant on (mostly) his 'flour and jumbuck (sheep meat)'... often at times having to beg for it, or starve to death.

    Anyway, thanks for the link.

    For those that might be interested in learning more about the above, the following is a set of texts that I have been reading from of late:

    Alan Irwin, Sociology and the Environment
    Tim Newton, Nature and Sociology
    Terry Clark, Community and Ecology
    J. M. Arthur, The Default Country
    Eric Hirsch, The Anthropology of Landscape
    Simon Ryan, The Cartographic Eye
    Tim Bonyhady, The Colonial Earth
    C. Tilley, A Phenomenology of Landscape
    James Duncan, Place / Culture / Representation
    Ken Inglis, Sacred Places
    Lesley Head, Second Nature
    William Lines, Taming the Great South Land
    Veronica Strang, Uncommon Ground
    Tim Bonyhady, Words for Country
    Richard Muir, Approaches to Landscape
    Martin Mulligan, Ecological Pioneers
    Paul Carter, The Road to Botany Bay
    Deborah Bird Rose, Nourishing Terrains

    Cheerio, Markus.
     
  3. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    Re: History of Vegetarianism Native Americans and Vegetarianism

    The U.S. Native American existed over 3.5 MILLION square miles (9 million square km). They lived on what they could find or grow, and that meant vegetables, fruits, nuts, roots and whatever game and fish existed in the area.

    The American bison (aka buffalo) was mostly found in the center of the country. They roamed north and south with the seasons, so they weren't always available.

    Anyone who thinks that they were everywhere in the country is woefully ignorant.

    Sue
     
  4. Brown grnthumb

    Brown grnthumb Junior Member

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    Re: History of Vegetarianism Native Americans and Vegetarianism

    You are right until the Spanish either trade or released their horses the various Plains tribes were mostly farmers living off vegetables they could grow, wild rice (depending on where they were at and trade) and various forms of wild foods with the occasional buffalo or deer. But they had many forms of preservation and a buffalo could last quite some time adding small bits to what ever they were cooking.


    Also as a decendant of Choctaw and someone who has studied them quite extensively (as well as reading much about the slave's diet based on the Choctaw and Creek diet and being in the region for abit this summer) I will say that for the most part all meals had some sort of animal protein in it. Crawfish, fish, wild pigs (and there bones) were added to vegetable dishes, in the areas over in Mississippi and Louisiana it'sa land of wild game and bayous filled with fish and crustaceans. Yes they're main diet was the three sisters but before the influence of the Southwestern tribes the average diet was quite high in meat (As were most places before cultivation)

    Animal protein in more structured societies was a rarity among the common people who where quite smaller and died sooner than the meat eating nobility.

    Now the Californian groups were the most omnivorious group out there with 4/5 of their food coming from plants; read Tending the Wild, its quite interesting to say the least of the traditional horticulture practices of Aboriginal California they are like those of various Khoisan and Aboriginal Australians.
     
  5. jmygann

    jmygann Junior Member

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    Re: History of Vegetarianism Native Americans and Vegetarianism

    But overall it was Corn that was the main calorie provider/staple as the author points out
     

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