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Podcast Episode 9

Leadership and the Humanities Podcast
Episode 9: Before Columbus

If history books talk about the indigenous peoples of the Americas, they tend—like Zinn—to focus on the interactions between those peoples and European settlers. What happened…

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The following works were used in this podcast:

“Late Woodland A.D. 900–1600.” Accessed September 11, 2020. https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/first-people-the-early-indians-of-virginia/late-woodland-a-d-900-1600/.

“Modern Indians A.D. 1800–Present.” Accessed September 11, 2020. https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/first-people-the-early-indians-of-virginia/modern-indians-a-d-1800-present/.

Wagner, Daniel P., and Joseph M. McAvoy. “Pedoarchaeology of Cactus Hill, a Sandy Paleoindian Site in Southeastern Virginia, U.S.A.” Geoarchaeology 19, no. 4 (April 2004): 297–322. https://doi.org/10.1002/gea.10120.

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22 Comments

  1. Kayla O'Connell Kayla O'Connell

    In episode 9 of the podcast, Dr. Bezio discussed the complex history of Indigenous people in the U.S. She also discussed the comparisons between the Europeans and the Indigenous in respect to their culture. In fact, these two cultures were similar on many different levels. In many history books we often portray Indigenous people of the past as simple-minded and basic, despite the fact that they have an extremely complex culture. Why is there such a difference in the portrayal of Indigenous people’s cultures and Europeans? When will other cultures be portrayed as “equal” to white culture?

  2. Olivia Cosco Olivia Cosco

    This podcast episode brought me back to the first couple weeks discussion of how to know what the truth of history actually is. As answered at the end, Dr. Bezio says that we must understand and accept that we will never understand the full truth – it is not possible for one person to be an expert. While this is true, what then, is the right way to go about teaching history? Should other experts opinions, as mentioned (such as other historians, scientist and psychologists) be included in lessons in order to get a better idea of the truth?

  3. Julia Borger Julia Borger

    This podcast touched on the history of the indigenous people of Virginia as well as the hardships indigenous people face today. I thought it was very interesting when Dr. Bezio highlighted that pop culture homogenizes indigenous people by not distinguishing between different tribes, as well as romanticizing their history because it is violent and complex. My question relating to this is, how will the current events of our world today be sugar coated and altered for future kids learning about what we experienced?

  4. William Coben William Coben

    This podcast brought with it much harsh truth’s about the teachings of history, and the flaws within that system as well as the “American” way of life. It was made clear that the natives had an incredibly complex culture, similarly to the Europeans. However, in today’s world, the natives are thought of as simple people due to the inherent bias that we privileged Americans exhibit towards them. On top of that, Dr. Bezio made the claim that we will never know the true history of our past because no one person is the expert. My question is: Will there ever be history that is taught, with no bias, in a way that details the truth? From what we have encountered in class thus far, it is starting to seem less and less likely that true history will ever be displayed… So I am curious if that will ever happen?

  5. Margot Roussel Margot Roussel

    In this podcast Dr. Bezio talked about the history of Native Americans and how it has been over simplified and their culture has been reduced to be only certain things. This isn’t accurate and does not fully represent the many many different native American societies. However, towards the end of the podcast she began talking about stereotypes and how they are never 100% accurate to any group. I am wondering are all stereotypes bad? Is there any time that making a stereotype is good or useful?

  6. Zachary Andrews Zachary Andrews

    In Podcast 9, Dr. Bezio talked about Native American life and compared it to what was going on within Europe during the same time period. The assumption that the Native Americans were not as complex as Europeans is actually completely false even though we tend to see this in textbooks and in other forms of information. Dr. Bezio told us that the Native culture had sophisticated craftsmen who created pottery, stone workings, tools and more. We also learned that homes surrounded a central plaza that had a main house in the center. In addition to that, these towns were enclosed by walls. The walls used to protect these Native villages was actually the same style of wall used to protect European villages during the same time period. Something that Dr. Bezio said taht resonated within me was, “… what we learn will never be the whole truth…” My question is, do we as white people have a worse bias against African American people or against Native American people? In addition to that, did we pay any reparations to the Native American population for killing and displacing them?

  7. Charley Blount Charley Blount

    Are there relationships between “nations” that operate in a similar fashion as the US and tribal nations? I was thinking along the lines of South Africa with Lesotho or Swaziland and Guam or Puerto Rico with the US.

  8. Zariah Chiverton Zariah Chiverton

    Would it be wrong to say that we created our own limitations to our learning? I say this because there would be so much more we would know if our history hadn’t been so inaccurate and biased in the first place. If it came from an honest place, maybe we could spend more time studying history than being taught to question it.

  9. Tess Keating Tess Keating

    This podcast highlights much about indigenous people, which I feel like are often looked over in history. Dr. Bezio mentioned that pop culture tends to “homogenize” tribes and their differences, and romanticize what was in reality violence. I am grateful to be learning about this now, however it makes me wonder: What else am I or have I been taught incorrectly?

  10. Olivia Cranshaw Olivia Cranshaw

    I found this podcast to be particularly interesting as I have never heard an almost full breakdown of the history of Native American tribes in the United States until tonight. Something I have always wondered about that was discussed in Podcast 9 is the relationship reservations have with the state and the federal government. Since the land that many Indigenous people live on reservations (and not all Indigenous people live on reservations) are considered domestic sovereign nations, do they have the ability to vote in federal elections? Although most have their own forms of government inside of their land, federal regulations still have some effect on their lives so would people want a voice in the US federal government? I think I read that reservations do not have internal zip-codes since it is not a part of the United States, so how would that process work, if it does work? Are they allowed to use the United States judicial system?

  11. Christina Glynn Christina Glynn

    Podcast #9 talked about how indigenous people are often viewed in a simplistic way. This made me wonder: Is the indigenous people’s population growing, shrinking, or staying the same? What does the future look like for indigenous people? Why isn’t their more of a focus on the history of indigenous people if they were truly the first ones to settle in America?

  12. Delaney Demaret Delaney Demaret

    This podcast discusses the homogenization of our learning about Indigenous people in the Americas. My question is, how much is our consciousness of Native American history homogenized on the temporal level? As in, is our chronological perception of Native American history placed onto a time construct that fits a politicized Western idea of time? For example, we seem to think of our democracy in terms of longevity, even though on the scale of human history it is extremely young. If we try to organize Indigenous history on a similar scaled construct of time, I would imagine we’d run into problems trying to appropriately tell their stories.

    I’d also like to know more about treaties between Native American nations before foreign relations were dominated by colonial and American politics. I’m assuming the Trail of Tears and beginning of the reservation system caused a massive paradigm shift, but how did international relations work between Indigenous people before that?

  13. Jeffrey Sprung Jeffrey Sprung

    Podcast Episode 9 focused on the history of Indigeneous people within the United States. In the podcast, Dr. Bezio discussed the culture of several Indigeneous tribes within the United States, and emphasized the fact that the complexities of Indigeneous people’s culture is often oversimplified in our history textbooks in relation to European’s culture. My question is why does history focus more on Indigeneous cultures with respect to Europeans? Furthermore, why are the cultures of indigeneous people depicted as utopian?

  14. Alexander Barnett Alexander Barnett

    As I listened to Dr. Bezio talks about how the United States’ pop culture has “homogenized” Native American culture. I was wondering since every tribe has its own unique culture and practices, why do we feel the need to bundle it all up into one stereotype?

  15. Alexandra Oloughlin Alexandra Oloughlin

    Once again, I feel like I have missed a part of history. I did not realize that the civil rights movement was important for Native Americans as well as African Americans. If the reservations are considered seperate nations with there own laws and rights, how was the protests received. Were Native Americans fighting for their rights when they chose to integrate in society or just their treatment in general?

  16. Carly Cohen Carly Cohen

    After listening to this podcast, I have so many more questions. How can people justify their actions of discrimination? Native Americans and African Americans did not deserve to be treated with no respect just because of the color of their skin. I was unaware that there was so much hatred and violence against the Native Americans. When will this vicious cycle come to an end? Why must people feel the need to abuse their power and gain unnecessary control?

  17. Annie Waters Annie Waters

    Clearly, the way most modern US citizens have learned about Indigenous histories and cultures is pretty problematic. Even considering the lack of written historical documents from Indigenous nations, are there any books, academic resources, or even classes that you think effectively seek to rectify this?

  18. Julia Leonardi Julia Leonardi

    I feel so awful that I had never thought about the segregation in schools in regards to indigenous kids. Whenever I learned about civil rights, I was never taught about how indigenous people fit into that movement. How can we as the new generation demand more representation for indigenous people?

  19. Christopher Wilson Christopher Wilson

    I am not surprised by the fact that many indigenous people of colonial America did not keep written records of their histories nor their ways of life. For one, most of their time was spent relocating further west to avoid persecution from white colonists. In other words, these indigenous nations in early America- the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Seminoles, and so on- were more focused on staying alive than on writing down how to properly offer an animal up for sacrifice. And, yet another opportunity presented itself for the victors in history- white Americans from Europe- to narrate the story of indigenous people- the victims of this history- without their consent. As these narratives were integrated into the various spheres of our culture, such as the entertainment industry, some of us may have been taught one version of indigenous people’s history that reinforces this ideology that if a set of characteristics are present in one group, then similar groups will respond and react in the exact same way. Hence, this is why generalizations and stereotypes can be paralyzing for individuals who may share the same identity, such as race, yet have completely different cultural upbringings that have affected who they are, what they think, and what they do. In essence, the opportunity I see from this silence in history is the need for more Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive (DEI) practices, especially in academia. Specifically, we need more representation of indigenous peoples who are willing to share their valid experiences with the world on safe platforms in safe environments. How could this be accomplished, though, in a world where indigenous people have every right not to trust white Americans to actively listen to their experiences without reacting passive-aggressively?

  20. Samuel Hussey Samuel Hussey

    Over the past 500 years, the Human Race has encountered virtually all of the separate nations and ethnic groups on earth. In the next 500 years, there is a chance we will meet a new nation of people who are not originally from earth. Will the human race be able to learn from our mistakes in our past periods of exploration and withhold the urge to create implicit biases and stereotypes on these people? Or will we revert back to our ignorant, selfish ways of conquering and exploring as we did in the past?

  21. Sophia Peltzer Sophia Peltzer

    Podcast episode 9 discusses the complex history of Indigenous people in America and specifically in Virginia, and about the history of rocky relationships between the Indigenous people and the Europeans. Based on how we learn about the Indigenous communities and how it was portrayed in the podcast, Europeans clearly didn’t think very highly of the Indeginous culture, and immediately saw them as naive and primitive, in need of being saved. Did the Europeans actually experience their culture enough to come to this conclusion based on (clearly misguided) evidence, or did they just automatically assume this conclusion based on a white savior complex?

  22. William Clifton William Clifton

    I think it is fascinating the way the colonists interacted with the indigenous. I still wonder how it was exactly that they were able to learn to communicate considering the indigenous didn’t know other cultures existed, and certainly didn’t know anything about English. Can you draw any connections to the oppression the colonists used against the indigenous to the ways in which government systems in America and specifically low income areas take advantage of citizens lack of knowledge or understanding of the systems that are in place that continue to oppress them? In other words, have we learned at all from our history and the ways in which we treat minorities? Sometimes it seems like we haven’t.

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