Who really got to North America “first”?

When Columbus got here, there were already people here. That didn’t fare well for them. But, who was here first? The Clovis people were here before what we regard as “Native Americans.” And now, we find that the Manis were here before the Clovis. So it seems that if you really trace who was here “first,” what we think of as “Native” Americans got here at least third.

So what difference does it make?

A lot.

Okay, for me, it doesn’t make a hell of a lot of difference, aside from my annual rant against the crying about Columbus Day. But, “we were here first,” as a concept has led to untold strife. From Basque separatists to German nationalists to the Palestinian – Israeli conflict, to American hostility to immigrants, the simple concept of “we was here first” is foul at its core, and its rot leads to division and strife.

I’m not saying that the Native Americans didn’t get a shitty deal. But, the Celts, Gauls, Etruscans, Visigoths, and Hittites got one too. Much of the Bronx used to be Italian. Much of the North End used to be Jewish. Neighborhoods change. Who was there first doesn’t seem to make much of a difference, and is logic that belongs in a sand box outside a kindergarten class.

And besides, most people who think they were there “first” were just the second most recent arrivals.

6 Responses to Who really got to North America “first”?

  1. And the point is? I forget – because every time someone on this blog opines on something outside of law they come off as a clueless asshole. This entry is no exception.

  2. IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society says:

    My own personal take is that, if something was taken from you, and given to someone else, then, for the most part the law should not provide recompensatory standing after about a generation or two against anyone still under control who was not a party of the initial theft.

    When it comes to land, it’s kind of along the lines of, you have one generation which had nothing to do with the theft, and you have another generation who nominally lost it, but in fact has lived their whole lives without it, then that generation does not get to sue their effective equal.

    The net effect of that is, after about 100 years, when all the original beneficiaries have died off, all the ownership/rights to the land or whatever have pretty much ceded to the current owners. It’s not fair to take things from the current owners to attempt to redress past transgressions by people who have shuffled off this mortal coil which were committed against people who ALSO have shuffled off this mortal coil.

    I can sue YOUR grandparents, your kids can sue MY grandparents, but you and I should not be able to sue each other. Once the grandparents are gone, fuhgeddaboutit!

    In other words, “Give it the eph up, it’s water under the bridge!”


    P.S. Gingerjet, how is this topic not part of Law? It regards sovereign ownership of property, and how one may lose the right to it, or gain the right to it.

  3. John Burgess says:

    I thought the point was entirely clear: political and moral arguments based on who got where first are all bullshit.

    Keep looking back and you’ll find somebody was there earlier, at least until you get as far back as Neanderthal. There are actually very few spots on Earth for which we can absolutely identify the first human presence. And they’re remote islands like Reunion and Mauritius.

  4. Bungameng says:

    Germans didn’t think they were first anywhere, they believe that they were better, Übermensch. And after just spending a year there, I must say, they still very much believe that. Only that they’ve learned not to say it out loud (unless the receiving party is from Greece, of course).

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