Savage Indeed

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Pueblo Streets
Irene Klar
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Considering that this same church forbid people to bathe confirms their ignorance. Small wonder that the Indians, for centuries proponents of the daily bath, were offended by the body odour of these people who were invading their land.

In an effort, once and for all to erase the term 'savage' from any reference to the Indians, the new American Indian Museum in Washington DC has done a magnificent job in spelling out for the uninformed just how advanced the Indians were, long before the white man got here.

The following are just a few things you can learn from their exhibits.

Starting with bathing. Indians of the southwest roasted the roots of the Yucca plant and used it for both bathing and washing clothes.

As far back as 1000BC Indians knew about anesthesia using plants like cocoa and peyote. They even used hollow bird bones and small animal bladders to make syringes.

Rx? The Anishanabi made pictograph prescriptions on pieces of bark.

Scull finds indicate some Indians operated on patient's brains. Others are known to have used hot water for sterilizing and the importance of isolation and quarantine.

The Aztecs are known to have used obsidian scalpels to remove cataracts from the eyes.

The 'principals' of geometry had to be known for the Indians of South America to create those marvellous pyramids, long before the Egyptians got the idea.

'No child left behind?' The Aztecs had compulsory education.

Speaking of children, Indian children chewed gum from the liquorice and sweet gum plants.

What about food? Think the pineapple is only Hawaiian? South American Indians enjoyed them. Another delicacy was the cashew nut while the wood of the cashew tree was used in home construction because it was insect proof.

Zucchini says 'Italian' but it was widely eaten on this side of the Atlantic, especially in Mexico, where they also had vanilla flavouring.Our north-eastern Indians gave us blueberries, and who doesn't love sunflower seeds?

his is just a taste of what that wonderful museum has to offer. See it for yourself. It's well worth the trip, and while on your way eat a few potato chips. Believe it or not, they are a modern Indian story that will surprise you.

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Native American Artifacts
Geoffrey Clements
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At a restaurant in Saratoga Springs, NY a very wealthy man named Cornelius Vanderbilt sent his fried potatoes back to the kitchen complaining that they were cut too thick.

In retaliation, the cook re-fried them 'paper thin' and the potato chip was born. That cook was George Crum; a Mohawk Indian.

Happy munching
Grandmother Two Bears.

This story and many mores stories are now available in the new book The Story Teller by Grandmother Two Bears. To order the Grandmother Two Bears book, use the following button.

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