Looking back at older civilizations we see many of the same patterns re-occurring. However technology is something that is unique to every nation and always changing due to our ever growing knowledge. North American technology was no different and varied greatly from tribe to tribe among the Native Americans. In the end they all had rather similar tools despite difference in materials. Tools were mainly made up of stone since it could be found widely, but many animal parts as well as wood was used. Many tools were hunting weapons such as axes, arrows, spears, knives, clubs, and tomahawks. When the Europeans came, they introduced iron and new weapons like guns. Still other tools were also very important to the Native Americans such as tools to aid farming, fishing, the making of clothes, and the making of transportation such as canoes and travois. The Europeans and the Native Americans were very different when it came to tools and the same can be said for architecture. First Nations had varied houses but they had very open and communal floor plans as well as a natural style whereas the Europeans that settled in North America had closed off housing meant for single families most times and were made in a European style. Yet the Native Americans and Europeans did not differ much when it came to agriculture. Of course the European agriculture was more industrialized whereas the First Nation’s agriculture was more community based. Both civilizations knew how to irrigate, terrac, and rotate crops as well as plant wind breaks. They also both raised domestic animals for food purposes. What they grew was different but their methods for actually growing them was quite similar. The technologies of the First Nations and the Europeans had differences and similarities but many of them still both live on today.
You may have noticed that I mainly focused on the Native American technologies; this is because at the time North America was a very young nation and didn’t have many of its own technologies yet, it mainly borrowed from the European technologies which I would not consider their own.
To learn more about North America between the 1400’s and the 1600’s you can visit Alicia’s blog, Alec’s blog, or Alan’s blog.
What has a bigger influence on human culture, behaviour, and personality, our nature (commonly defined in this argument as genetics) or our nurture (commonly defined as our environment and experience)? People have looked at this questions from cultural, scientific and philosophical points of view, yet this debate is still wide open and discussed a lot in our modern era. Since I explored this topic in the Columbus paragraph, I decided to get more in depth with this idea. There are some compelling arguments made on both sides of the debate. People who come down on the side of nature have many studies done with twins that support their arguments. Twins who were separated at birth and had grown with completely different experiences and environments found each other in their adult lives and turned out to have many of the same mannerisms, interests, strengths, weaknesses, and mental health struggles. Scientist observed that these twins had incredibly similar personalities and behaviours despite being raised by different people in another environment. The scientists who favour nurture also have done extensive research to prove their point, this was their take away: some genes are only activated by certain settings and situations; therefore, nurture is more important. But what does all of this mean and how does it apply to you? Well what it fundamentally means is that there is only so much that we can change. We like to think that we are very in control of what we do and how we act. However, in reality, we are greatly affected by things that we can`t always change like our genetics and often times our environment and experiences. Yet we can still make our own choices and that is very important. What I personally believe is that it is split down the middle, that we are equally affected by our nature and our nurture. Both are important to the existence of the other and you can’t have one without the other; you might want to think of a yin and yang symbol to embody this idea. What I hope you as the reader take away from this is a heightened awareness of your life and how it is affected by your nature, nurture, but most importantly your choices.
This is a short video that just re-caps a lot of what Columbus did.
As we read the exert, the Spaniards consistent greed and cruelty surprised me to a great extent. How could they be so violent and spiteful when treated with nothing but respect by the Arawak? Where they born that way? Or did their hierarchical society turn them in to desire crazed people obsessed with external objectives? Understanding why the Europeans took over the land of the First Nations in such a needlessly forceful manner is crucial because much of our modern western society was based on their culture and ideals. By recognizing the mistakes our early society made, we can fix the foundations and make sure that our civilization never treats another in the way that the Europeans treated the Arawak when they first met. This is obviously important to do this because genocide is one of the worst things that can happen to a nation and we should always do our best to prevent it because all human lives matter equally—something the Europeans didn`t understand at the time. However, there is a lot of scientific evidence that supports the idea that humans are not naturally aggressive. “…aggression is not our primary “go to” behavior …(PB1)” says Agustin Fuentes Ph.D. an Anthropologist who works at Notre Dame University. In fact, it is suggested by many researchers that humans are naturally altruistic in the same way the Arawak were throughout all of the events which took place. Though in the past people have shown aggression by nature, it was always in times of hardship, which the Europeans were clearly not under. The fact that their expedition was in search of non-essentials is evidence of that. It is much more likely that the overflowing aggression of the Europeans was due to living in a society that was a “survival of the richest” if you will. Their society had a strong hierarchy set in place that intensely promoted the idea that having a high social status and great wealth would make them happier, and overall a better person. This made many people desire money and fame, as Columbus had. I think that his desire for the idea of success made him blind to what he was destroying in the name of progress (a whole culture and a nation of people). He wasn`t the first and won`t be the last to do immoral things in the name of progression, especially since there are so many similarities between modern western society (PB2) and the Spanish society in the 1400s. Hopefully, by identifying the problems in our society, we will be able to stop more things like this from happening.