Jackie's Reviews > The Ecological Indian: Myth and History

The Ecological Indian by Shepard Krech III
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Jan 04, 09

Read in February, 2008

Krech, Shepard, III. 1999. The ecological Indian : myth and history. W. W. Norton & Company. New York. (Anacortes Public Library: 333.708997 Kre., 02/04/08) ISBN: 0-06-023461-8

This book dispels the myth that all Indians think alike ~ and also the thought that they are all great conservators of animal populations. Archealogical history shows that they did not always use all parts of the animal nor restrict their killing just to what they needed. Numerous cases of where this was not the fact are documented. Also discussed is the belief in animal reincarnation, which made conserving animal populations an unnecessary practice. Instead sacred practices with bones, etc. were believed to increase animal populations through incarnations.

An historical myth has been perpetuated about the Indian habits of conserving animal populations. Examples are given showing where this was not the case:
1.Clovis man (Paleoindians during Pleistocene – 11,000 years ago) running herds of mammoths and mastodons over cliffs, killing far more than was needed and eventually was not sustainable.

2.Hohokam disappeared by 1400's. Why? Earthquakes? Flooding? Higher water table? Environmental change due to oversalinization of canal irrigation system and cutting down of trees?

3.North American Indian deaths due to epidemics introduced by the white man put Indian populations at a low count by the 1600's, so animal populations were expanded.

4.Beaver trade facilitated Indians in gaining kettles, guns, cloth, alcohol, etc. To get these items Indians wiped out beaver populations.
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