"There is a common utopian picture that American Indians all lived in complete harmony with the land, never used their environment beyond its capacity, and always kept a balance between taking and giving back to Mother Earth. This is nonsense.
Large populations of people, regardless of whether they are American Indian or white or any other race, when living in a certain area, will have a large impact on their surrounding environment.
For example, a recent study by University of Utah archaeologist Jack Broughton discovered that California was not always the Eden of milk and honey people imagined.
By analyzing 5,736 bird bones from American Indian dumping grounds, as well as researching the history of fish and mammal populations, Broughton determined that California’s historical native tribes hunted the state’s wildlife to near extinction. It was only after European diseases killed thousands of natives in the 1500s that California’s wildlife, including geese, elk and deer, flourished again.
The Anasazi tribe, who encompassed populations of pueblo dwellers in the Four Corners region of the Southwest, was also guilty of environmental degradation. Poor farming techniques that depleted the soil of minerals, deforestation leading to erosion and lack of wood for fuel, over-hunting that caused widespread starvation and brutal wars over water rights all contributed to the collapse of the ancient civilization."
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Emma Schmautz: Native, earth relations not always harmonious
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