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Indigenous Permaculture- What, where, how, who and why?

 
                          
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Mt.goat wrote:
Somehow I saw that link coming Ludi,thanx again.It is now believed that virtually all peoples managed their landscapes.Beavers and deer do it .Why would humans be not bright enough to encourage what they liked and discourged what they didnt.It really is as simple as where you place your foot and which plant you choose to crush.The roving hunter gatherer is somewhat a figment of our imaginations(IMO).The idea that agriculture is a natural progression from `hunter gather`is another myth.Many tribes ,no doubt,had access to agricultural genetics and practice but chose not to.Many `converted` to agriculture unwillingly either having their cultures destroyed by `power over`agriculturists or european conquerers and their private property models.


10,000 years ago, and for the preceding million years, all humans were pure hunter gatherers.
agriculture appeared spontaneously about 10,000 years ago in several different locations, primarily in the fertile crescent in southwest Asia, east Asia, and Mexico/Central America.
 
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Not sure what a "pure hunter-gatherer" is when virtually everyone practiced some kind of directing or encouragement of specific plants or plant communities.

 
                          
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jmy wrote:
Native Americans and Vegetarianism  By Rita Laws, Ph.D.

http://www.ivu.org/history/native_americans.html

Most Permaculturists I have spoken with view Corn as a lowly food and are not really into food production, but promoting some kind of land design

another good book is   1491 ..  what was going on before the europeans got here.




That article seems to cherry pick a few isolated situations and then tries to apply them across the board.  It reeks of bias.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Yes, I have some problems with that article also. 
 
                          
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Ludi Ludi wrote:
Not sure what a "pure hunter-gatherer" is when virtually everyone practiced some kind of directing or encouragement of specific plants or plant communities.




Are you talking about recent (last 2000 years) or pre agriculture(before 10,000 years ago)?  I have seen no  pre agricultural evidence of this.  Bear in mind that for most of the pre ag period that human populations were very low.  Some estimates as low as 250,000 world wide.
 
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Tinknal wrote:
Are you talking about recent (last 2000 years) or pre agriculture(before 10,000 years ago)?  I have seen no  pre agricultural evidence of this.  Bear in mind that for most of the pre ag period that human populations were very low.  Some estimates as low as 250,000 world wide.



Not talking about agriculture, talking about horticulture.

There's evidence humans helped create the north american prairie ecosystem by burning the forest edge.  This was some kind of management of plants for the specific purpose of encouraging game animals.

 
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christhamrin wrote:
ok, so i understand where you are coming from a little now.  here is a book on this subject i've been meaning to read for a while:  The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia



Not sure what that has to do with agriculture, permaculture, horticulture, or hunting and gathering.....

 
                          
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Ludi Ludi wrote:
Not talking about agriculture, talking about horticulture.

There's evidence humans helped create the north american prairie ecosystem by burning the forest edge.  This was some kind of management of plants for the specific purpose of encouraging game animals.


Yes, there was some of that, but for the most part the  buffalo did a pretty good job of maintaining the prairie all by themselves.  Besides that, naturally occurring prairie fire was also common.  One reason that they lit fire was to destroy their rivals hunting grounds, forcing the game onto their hunting grounds.
 
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I had never read that anywhere, about the burning the neighboring tribes'  hunting ground.    Because it wouldn't really destroy it, you know. 

Well, we'll probably get into dueling claims, to no particular purpose.  I don't feel like looking up citations and you probably don't either, so I guess I'll just leave it here. 

 
                          
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Ludi Ludi wrote:
I had never read that anywhere, about the burning the neighboring tribes'  hunting ground.     Because it wouldn't really destroy it, you know. 

Well, we'll probably get into dueling claims, to no particular purpose.  I don't feel like looking up citations and you probably don't either, so I guess I'll just leave it here. 



I should have said destroying it for the season.  There was a painting on the subject, either by Russel or Remington.  While not historians per se, there is a lot of practical history in these guys paintings.  Russel lived with the Blood Indians for quite some time.  If you ever get a chance to read his book, "Trails Plowed Under" it is a great read.
 
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Not sure what is meant by a `pure`hunter gatherer myself.A couple of good books about west coast horticultural tribes are Keeping it Living by Nancy Turner and Tending the Wild by Cat Anderson.Also check out Forgoten Fires.The `some of that`(refering to NA management practices)is what I would call Native American permaculture.Those tribes that perhaps practiced `pure`Hunter gather and those that practiced agriculture are Other(IMO)
 
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It's all very well growing the same plants as some local tribe used to but the main objective should be growing the foods that you personally thrive on. Just because some tribe grew the 3 sisters and may have been mostly vegetarian doesn't mean it will be healthy for everyone. If it suits you then all well and good. If not then try something else. I doubt most people on here are from any American tribe anyway. Your ethnic background may make you more predisposed to a different diet.
 
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Just another tool in the box.
Why limit yourself to indigenous crops when there are so many other things that could be added to the mix?
Indigenous people had the luxury of moving about that is not afforded to us now.
 
                                    
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Warren David wrote:
It's all very well growing the same plants as some local tribe used to but the main objective should be growing the foods that you personally thrive on.



sounds like sage advice.

Warren David wrote:Just because some tribe grew the 3 sisters and may have been mostly vegetarian doesn't mean it will be healthy for everyone. If it suits you then all well and good. If not then try something else. I doubt most people on here are from any American tribe anyway. Your ethnic background may make you more predisposed to a different diet.



it probably does to some extent, but from what i've read the blood type diet has been totally refuted.  if europe all ate the same thing, then maybe i should eat what they ate if not i'm not sure where i would look.

i'm not interested in copying native american permaculture plant for plant - it just sounds interesting.  and if it was done in my climate all the more interesting!
 
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I've read many accounts that fire was used extensively across the majority of North America, including the forests of the east.  All that was taking place well beyond the 10,000 yr mark.  They increased the bison's range considerably, and created a habitat that was very suitable to deer, elk, and bear (their prey species). In addition, native populations were planting and managing the tree and shrub composition of most forests, selecting for nuts and fruits.

We may not see this as agriculture, but it was a conscious attempt to increase the food supply around them.  It was extremely successful.  It was very similar to permaculture and the food forest models.

In South America, it is even more dramatic, and large parts of the Amazon forests were directly managed by humans.  Today's plant compositions of those forests are related to the management techniques of the natives 400-20,000 years ago.

The ultimate point of all of this is that there was not a wilderness in which the natives were living.  The natives were creating the environment around them, and the so called "wilderness" that the Europeans found was actually a well managed ecosystem.
 
                                    
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Ludi Ludi wrote:
Not sure what that has to do with agriculture, permaculture, horticulture, or hunting and gathering.....




i was deleting my posts, but then i figured i'd explain myself since i am procrastinating anyway.  its still going to be pretty sloppy, but here you go...

ok so the book is about stateless societies in southeast asia.  they seem to be practicing something closer to horticulture as you'd like it to be used rather than the agriculture practiced by the states surrounding them.  they live on marginal hilly land that is hard to reach and conquer, but scott argues they aren't pure hunter gatherers from 10k years back, but people who escaped persecution in the agricultural societies.  moreover there is some migration back and forth.  he agree their society is structured in fascinating ways to avoid state forming.  there is also the chicken or the egg question of what came first the state or the agriculture...scott argues for the latter.  from a review of his book:

Scott draws on the insights of Pierre Clastres, whose 1974 book Society Against the State undermined the narrative of the progressive transition from archaic society to state-governed civilizations by showing how a variety of Native American tribes developed systems to keep the state at bay. Such groups did not merely “fail to develop a state”; they succeeded in keeping one from developing.



Now we are talking indigenous!  in my mind agriculture and state-making are so intertwined i can forget i need to explain myself.  a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

so while in a sense i agree w/tinknal that agriculture was a kind of emergent virus that completely dominated other systems...i think that if we look in at the micro level the world is a lot more complicated than simple either/or dichotomies like agriculture vs hunting and gathering.
 
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I agree things are complicated!   

 
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Actually, there a have been a few states that were not necessarily based on agriculture (see Mississippian cultures, Brazilian Cultures, Pre-Inkan cultures).  But I agree, the vast majority of states sprang forth after agriculture, initially to manage surpluses, accounting, planting/harvesting schedules, tool creation, dispute resolution, land access, etc.  Basically, agriculture begins the specialization of humans in societies to a great degree, and once you have that sort of specialization, you need management to make things work.

Going back to the 3 sisters for second -
I've been doing a lot of reading on that to get a better idea of why we think that was a staple.  When we say is was a staple for Americans, we need to include where, from when, and for how long.  The diets of the Americas were anything but static, and even when corn (3 sisters) was in its height in southern Mexico, North America had barely adopted it (any many areas had rejected it), mainly because climate-specific cultivars and receptive societies hadn't yet been developed.  Eventually, it did make it to the eastern US, but very recently (within the last 1500 yrs).  Before that, other staples were in place, mostly nuts.

In South America, the picture was quite different.  In the east, Cassava was the staple.  In the west, potatoes.  Corn came to somewhat replace potatoes once the western societies began modifying their climate to suit the corn.  Terracing and irrigation projects on a massive scale made it possible to grow corn on the higher elevations (9,000 ft+) of these societies.

There are more than 5,000 cultivars of corn alone, so climate and locale specific varieties were the norm.  I doubt that many of us could even find our local versions today, so the 3 sisters of today will probably be very different than the 3 sisters of 5,000 years ago.

Anyway, one can safely make the following statement:
The 3 sisters (and additional local plant varieties), at one time or another, was a staple of many peoples of the Americas, but not all during the same time period.

 
                                    
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velacreations wrote:
The diets of the Americas were anything but static



yeah that makes sense and probably goes for a lot of the topics discussed on this thread.
 
                          
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velacreations wrote:
I've read many accounts that fire was used extensively across the majority of North America, including the forests of the east.  All that was taking place well beyond the 10,000 yr mark.  They increased the bison's range considerably, and created a habitat that was very suitable to deer, elk, and bear (their prey species). In addition, native populations were planting and managing the tree and shrub composition of most forests, selecting for nuts and fruits.

  Today's plant compositions of those forests are related to the management techniques of the natives 400-20,000 years ago.




I'm just not buying this.  For one thing, there is no evidence of human habitation 20,000 years ago.  For another, the last ice age ended only 10,000 years ago and this was the predominant factor in creating ecosystems. 

Fire does not turn a forest ecosystem into prairie, it turns it into a different type of forest.  Go to a forest some time 2 or 3 years after a fire.  You will not see prairie, you will see a young and dynamic forest.
 
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"Henry T. Lewis, who has authored more books and articles on this subject than anyone else, concluded that there were at least 70 different reasons for the Indians firing the vegetation (Lewis 1973). Other writers have listed fewer number of reasons, using different categories (Kay 1994; Russell 1983). In summary, there are eleven major reasons for American Indian ecosystem burning, which are derived from well over 300 studies:

    * Hunting - The burning of large areas was useful to divert big game (deer, elk, bison) into small unburned areas for easier hunting and provide open prairies/meadows (rather than brush and tall trees) where animals (including ducks and geese) like to dine on fresh, new grass sprouts. Fire was also used to drive game into impoundments, narrow chutes, into rivers or lakes, or over cliffs where the animals could be killed easily. Some tribes used a surround fire to drive rabbits into small areas. The Seminoles even practiced hunting alligators with fire. Torches were used to spot deer and attract or see fish at night. Smoke used to drive/dislodge raccoons and bears from hiding.
    * Crop management - Burning was used to harvest crops, especially tarweed, yucca, greens, and grass seed collection. In addition, fire was used to prevent abandoned fields from growing over and to clear areas for planting corn and tobacco. One report of fire being used to bring rain (overcome drought). Clearing ground of grass and brush to facilitate the gathering of acorns. Fire used to roast mescal and obtain salt from grasses.
    * Improve growth and yields - Fire was often used to improve grass for big game grazing (deer, elk, antelope, bison), horse pasturage, camas reproduction, seed plants, berry plants (especially raspberries, strawberries, and huckleberries), and tobacco.
    * Fireproof areas - Some indications that fire was used to protect certain medicine plants by clearing an area around the plants, as well as to fireproof areas, especially around settlements, from destructive wildfires. Fire was also used to keep prairies open from encroaching shrubs and trees.
    * Insect collection - Some tribes used a "fire surround" to collect & roast crickets, grasshoppers, pandora moths in pine forests, and collect honey from bees.
    * Pest management - Burning was sometimes used to reduce insects (black flies & mosquitos) and rodents, as well as kill mistletoe that invaded mesquite and oak trees and kill the tree moss favored by deer (thus forcing them to the valleys where hunting was easier). Some tribes also used fire to kill poisonous snakes.
    * Warfare & signaling - Use of fire to deprive the enemy of hiding places in tall grasses and underbrush in the woods for defense, as well as using fire for offensive reasons or to escape from their enemies. Smoke signals used to alert tribes about possible enemies or in gathering forces to combat enemies. Large fires also set to signal a gathering of tribes. During the Lewis & Clark expedition, a tree was set on fire by Indians in order to "bring fair weather" for their journey.
    * Economic extortion - Some tribes also used fire for a "scorched-earth" policy to deprive settlers and fur traders from easy access to big game and thus benefitting from being "middlemen" in supplying pemmican and jerky.
    * Clearing areas for travel - Fires were sometimes started to clear trails for travel through areas that were overgrown with grass or brush. Burned areas helped with providing better visibility through forests and brush lands for hunting and warfare purposes.
    * Felling trees - Fire was reportedly used to fell trees by boring two intersecting holes into the trunk, then drop burning charcoal in one hole, allowing the smoke to exit from the other. This method was also used by early settlers. Another way to kill trees was to surround the base with fire, allowing the bark and/or the trunk to burn causing the tree to die (much like girdling) and eventually topple over. Fire also used to kill trees so that the wood could later be used for dry kindling (willows) and firewood (aspen).
    * Clearing riparian areas - Fire was commonly used to clear brush from riparian areas and marshes for new grasses and tree sprouts (to benefit beaver, muskrats, moose, and waterfowl)."


http://www.wildlandfire.com/docs/biblio_indianfire.htm
 
Tyler Ludens
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I was in error about the time it took for the prairies to form, they are 8000-10,000 years old.  Humans have been in North America for more than 13,000 years.  Possibly as far back as 50,000 years. 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041118104010.htm
 
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What I have read indicates that North American Agriculture can be traced to the Illinois River Valley app. 3800 years ago. So in reality a relatively short period of time.
  Squash, gourds and sunflowers, but corn was conspicuously absent.
I'm not saying indegenous people didn't have an effect on the landscape just that the relative small numbers can't have the same effect as the numbers that could be brought into play with modern permaculturists. By all means use indigenous ideas but be open to others.
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2007/10/yucatan-jungles/
 
                          
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Ludi, these sound like a collection of anecdotal incidents, nothing more.  None of them indicate a concerted effort to change the overall environment.  If the entire horticultural history of prehistorical American horticulture can be summed up with the word "fire" then it doesn't amount to much.
 
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Tinknal wrote:
If the entire horticultural history of prehistorical American horticulture can be summed up with the word "fire" then it doesn't amount to much.



I'm not going to make any attempt to find references about the "entire horticultural history of prehistorical American horticulture" for you.  If you're interested you'll look into it more, if you aren't, you won't. 

 
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Ludi Ludi wrote:
I'm not going to make any attempt to find references about the "entire horticultural history of prehistorical American horticulture" for you.  If you're interested you'll look into it more, if you aren't, you won't. 




Ludi, I think that part of our problem is that we are dealing with many thousands of years here and many cultural periods.  We could both make entirely contradictory statements and both be right.  The progression from Monkeys to computer dum dums    is a spectrum, with no period being identical to any others.

The evidence is fairly clear that the Western Hemispheres first human inhabitants were nomadic hunter gatherers and what has occurred since their arrival has many varied paths.  To make any general statements that would apply to all the different cultural groups here is quite impossible.
 
                    
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maybe relevant...

the prairies of the puget sound trough were created by glaciers receding, and leaving dense till. following this a few thousand  years of active fire management  prevented the forests from encroaching. these prairies were a maintained landscape, rich in many foods and fibers. one of the largest extents of these prairies, over ten thousand acres, is on a military base, Ft. Lewis. 20 year ago there prairies wer being flooded by the forests. The forestry team there recognized that endangered species-due to lack of paved roads and suburban infrastructures, etc- actually do quite well on the fort, so long as the prairie is maintained.  Little squirrel was loosing prairie habitat and the DOE and F&W stepped in and said "conservation plan". The forts land use mission is preserve the forest and prairie habitats as training grounds according to the 'natural' vegetative patterns, so it said "restore the prairies" is our plan.

the prefered method they identified which creates the best training environment turns out to be a man made fire disturbance regime that perpetuates prairies on a glacial til which would otherwise succumb to the schooners of fir and alder that embark into the high grass... so they set fires. A good start,  tho not best practice by any means...no camas harvests, or deer hunts.  but many endangered species are graced therewith, plants and animals alike- with the bombs going off just over the horizon.

Incidentally, The Ft. no longer clear cuts its 100ksqm of forests, but does only FSC selective logging based on light thrufall mimicking a 60-100year averaged cycle. That means trees are identified individually as takes and leaves, and the average light hitting the ground is never more than an analogous forest of even aged management of 60-100 years.  The stands include 5 conifers- including washington's only native stand of western slope ponderosa pine- and dozens of deciduous trees.

its not indigenous permaculture. It speaks remarkable things that the indigenous fire maintenance of western washington puget prairies is recognized by the state and the department of defence as being the best practice for meeting management directives of military training and habitat conservation. And illustrates just how bad suburbia often is...



 
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I'm just not buying this.  For one thing, there is no evidence of human habitation 20,000 years ago.  For another, the last ice age ended only 10,000 years ago and this was the predominant factor in creating ecosystems.


Yes, there is evidence of human habitation 20K+ years ago.  There is no doubt that humans were the keystone species in the Americas for at least 15,000 years.  After the last ice age, they were the predominant factor in creating, and maintaining ecosystems.

Fire does not turn a forest ecosystem into prairie, it turns it into a different type of forest.  Go to a forest some time 2 or 3 years after a fire.  You will not see prairie, you will see a young and dynamic forest.


The eastern US was completely modified by fire, the forest were open, with little underbrush.  The first new England settlers often remarked at how they could drive wagons through the forests.  These forests were completely modified by humans, from species selection to fire introduction. 

What I have read indicates that North American Agriculture can be traced to the Illinois River Valley app. 3800 years ago. So in reality a relatively short period of time.


Interesting, because there were large civilizations in Mexico before that time.  Corn did migrate to North America, but slowly, mainly to do with climate. North American agriculture did not spring up out of nowhere, as these inhabitants had items from all over the continent.  They invariably learned agriculture from southern cultures, and it slowly migrated north.

I'm not saying indegenous people didn't have an effect on the landscape just that the relative small numbers can't have the same effect as the numbers that could be brought into play with modern permaculturists.


We're not talking about small numbers.  The Americas had millions of inhabitants before Columbus.  Mexico alone had over 20 million.  Many areas were had more people than Europe of the same time period.

They had a HUGE effect on their landscapes, from creating the forests of the Eastern US, to literally creating the composition of the majority of the Amazon forests.

The Americas as a whole were maintained landscapes, not wilderness.  We, as permaculturists, can learn a lot about managing these same ecosystems from people who did so for millennium.

 
                          
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Vela, once again, a snapshot in time doesn't tell the whole story.  I have to question many of these population estimates, they just don't make sense, given that a few thousand Spaniards were able to bring these people under subjugation.  Once again, humans didn't invent fire.  It is a naturally occurring phenomenon.  Brush chocked understory is not really a naturally occurring thing, we are just accustomed to it since we have been unnaturally suppressing fire for the last few hundred years. 

I lived in Montana during an extremely dry summer.  Nearly every night we would get a dry thunderstorm.  Lots of thunder and lightning, little rain.  The lightning would start some old dead tree to smoldering.  The next day it would dry out and the wind would start blowing, and before you knew it a prairie fire would be raging.  Of course these lands were someones pastures so the fires would be promptly put out.  This just exacerbates the problem because flammable products tend to accumulate over the years. The Yellowstone fires of a few years back is a good example of this.  They were much worse than they would have been but for generations of unnatural suppression.
 
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I have to question many of these population estimates, they just don't make sense, given that a few thousand Spaniards were able to bring these people under subjugation.


Disease killed off the majority (imported from Columbus),and the Spaniards conquered the weak survivors.  There is overwhelming evidence that supports these populations estimates.

Once again, humans didn't invent fire.

No, but they used it regularly.  Humans were using fire on a seasonal basis, which is not the rate of occurrence of fire naturally.  These burnings were by no means limited to the plains, they were used in the forests as well.

 
                          
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velacreations wrote:
Disease killed off the majority (imported from Columbus),and the Spaniards conquered the weak survivors.  There is overwhelming evidence that supports these populations estimates.
No, but they used it regularly.  Humans were using fire on a seasonal basis, which is not the rate of occurrence of fire naturally.  These burnings were by no means limited to the plains, they were used in the forests as well.




I think we will have to agree to disagree here.  There are much more productive things we could discuss .
 
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I think we will have to agree to disagree here.  There are much more productive things we could discuss .


You're not really disagreeing with me, you are disagreeing with tons of archeological evidence that supports these estimations and theories, not to mention, first hand accounts.

But you are right, we could probably find something more productive to discuss...
 
                          
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velacreations wrote:
You're not really disagreeing with me, you are disagreeing with tons of archeological evidence that supports these estimations and theories, not to mention, first hand accounts.

But you are right, we could probably find something more productive to discuss...



As I said previously, we are both right (and wrong).  There is such a huge spectrum of cultures involved that no one description can apply.  Have you ever read "The Yanomomo" By Napoleon Chagnon?
 
Warren David
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Tinknal wrote:
As I said previously, we are both right (and wrong). 

Yes and you know what? It doesn't make any difference who is right. Grow and eat what makes you healthy because what some other guy was growing on your piece of land 5000 years ago might not be what is best for you.
 
Warren David
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christhamrin wrote:


sounds like sage advice.

it probably does to some extent, but from what i've read the blood type diet has been totally refuted.  if europe all ate the same thing, then maybe i should eat what they ate if not i'm not sure where i would look.

I have read the book. I didn't think much of it and threw it away. 
The  fact is though that some ethnic backgrounds tend to cope better or worse with certain foods. I'm not saying there is an exact diet for each of those ethnic backgrounds though. There are members of my own family that get on better with certain foods than I do and vice versa and obviously we are from the same background but sometimes a persons ethnic  background can give clues to how they should eat. It's always worth experimenting with all foods though no matter where they are from or what your background is.
Like I keep saying here, we should just find what works for us personally. Even if that means not eating many of the native foods and even if it is contrary to current health department advice.
 
Matt Ferrall
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In 1997 a pilot flying over SE alaska noticed some unique paterns in bays.A recently released book called Clam Gardens looks at the advanced underwater terraces built by natives over a long time to encourage certain species of clams.These are no small tasks.In Keeping it Living they discuss(Nacy and native informants)management including pruning berry bushes ,removing alpine trees by hand(for berries) and all maner of other complex management techniques.Burning was just one tool in their management tool box.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Tinknal wrote: To make any general statements that would apply to all the different cultural groups here is quite impossible.



I agree, and I have not been making general statements that would apply to "all the different cultural groups."  As I pointed out earlier, to my knowledge there's no evidence the people in my region did any kind of farming. 

I hope you read the link I posted, which supports what vela has been saying.

 
Matt Ferrall
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Warren,I agree but also disagree on some counts.I`m all for bringing in new plants and technique but also for looking closely at the cultures that came before and how they survived and I have found native plants to be quite reliable in my area so ...more tools in the tool box.Now where I have more problems is with the `cultural needs`crowd.`needs` are often subjective and many native cultures have been wiped out by european culture(being often incompatible)in the name of `needs`.Now if I asked someone if they needed dairy so much,would they be willing to kill someone?They would probably say no but in a convoluted way thats what happened.Settlers thought they needed dairy so than they needed domestic animals which they needed to protect.The natives who had no concept of private ownership would poach the animals and would than be needed to be killed.Thats what happened in CA with sheep hearders.
 
Abe Connally
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As I said previously, we are both right (and wrong).


There were large populations in America at the time of Columbus, or there weren't. America was either inhabited 20K+ years ago, or it wasn't. We can't both be right on those points. 

The evidence supports that there were large populations (50-100+million) of humans in the Americas at the time of Columbus, and that the Americas were inhabited for more than 20K years.

There is such a huge spectrum of cultures involved that no one description can apply.


There are some generalizations that ring true of the majority of cultures.  Things like that they used fire (high frequency) and species selection to modify their environments.  Almost every single culture in the Americas did those things.

Another generalization: Humans were the keystone species in the Americas for at least 10,000 yrs.  Once their numbers declined, their managed ecosystems went wild (numbers of prey animals increased significantly, underbrush took over the forests, plagues went rampant).  This was true for the majority of regions in both Americas.
 
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