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Rated: E · Essay · History · #2285903
There is simply no such thing as Native Americans.
         As I understand my history, a group of people indigenous to the extreme southwestern region of this continent once lived in what is now northern Mexico, Texas, and southern California. This group slowly migrated northeastward. They encountered other tribes of indigenous people in the northern areas of what is today the United States of America, areas like modern-day Michigan, Minnesota, northern Illinois, and northern Indiana. The northern tribes appear to have been more war-like than their southwestern counterparts, or at least less tolerant of new-comers. Skirmishes led to battles and battles to wars. Finally, the southwesterners moved on. They drifted southeastward, eventually settling in areas that would later become eastern Tennessee, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. Some indigenous groups also lived in the northeastern areas; areas that would later become New York, New Jersey, Massachusettes, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia. There they lived in peace for centuries.
         These groups first welcomed European settlers to this country, but were these tribes of indigenous peoples truly Native Americans? What of the northern tribes? Were they Native Americans? We must first ask ourselves whether these peoples came to America. It seems evident to me that they didn't come to America and therefore cannot rightly be called Native Americans.
         Rather than tribes migrating into America, America actually migrated on top of and displaced the indigenous peoples in this part of the world.
         Remember that the Americas take their name from a cartographer named Amerigo Vespucci, who was born in Florence, Italy in 1454. Cherokee (Tsalagi) and other indigenous peoples had occupied the southeastern region of this continent for centuries before their first contact with Europeans in 1540. So, to call the original occupants of this land "Native Americans" is a major misnomer. It would be more accurate to describe ourselves (i.e. European immigrants) as "Interlopers in the Cherokee Nation", or "Interlopers in the Choctaw Nation" or in whatever nation existed in any given area prior to our arrival.
         Therefore, "Native Americans" is a linguistic myth perpetrated by and perpetuated by Europeans and those of European descent.

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