Indigenous myths and archaeology

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Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby Lincoln on July 21st, 2012, 9:34 am 

So I am reading the book DNA USA by Bryan Sykes. (An interesting book, but only tangentially related to the train of thought here, although it tells you of the origins of the thought.)

There are relatively recent laws regarding repatriation of skeletal remains to native populations (at least in America). This is after years of white archaeologists digging up native grave sites. I understand the reason for these laws, especially since the white population would presumably raise a stink over people digging up pioneer era graveyards.

However there seems to be another and related thing that is happening. It is clear that archaeology and genetic studies prove that Native Americans didn't originate in the Americas. The predominant source is from Asia, although it appears that native populations have enough European DNA to suggest a small migration from the east.

The problem appears to be that some Native American religions insist that the tribes always lived where they do now and the archaeologists have to somehow respect this (meaning not contradict this obviously-untrue belief) out of some kind of respect.

Given that we (i.e. the dominant European culture) have a population of people who trash our own creation myths, why the kid gloves on the native myths? I mean, it's clear that they are wrong...as much as biblical literalists are wrong.

I figure Forest knows more of this on the other side of the question. I don't claim to have much expertise on this...just some ideas from reading a popularization...but do archaeologists say "Well, you can believe what you believe, but what you believe is impossible?" (Or something like that?)
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby ronjanec on July 21st, 2012, 10:37 am 

Lincoln,

I cannot remember where I read this, but like you just mentioned, I have recently read that people from Europe may have arrived, and then lived here for thousands of years before any Native Americans arrived here from Asia. I am pretty sure that Forest is aware of all of this.
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby Lincoln on July 21st, 2012, 10:48 am 

Well, I don't much care about the European/Asian origins thing. I expect you're talking about something related to Kenniwick Man, as that's the most common buzz in the press. Genetics strongly suggests that a small fraction of Native American DNA came from Europe (and before 1492 or even 1000). This doesn't bother me much.

I'm more interested in the delicacy that seems to be applied of late to NA myths. We don't apply that level of delicacy to the dominant myths held by people of European extraction. I am quite comfortable making the claim that biblical literalists are wrong. Now, I respect their right to be wrong. I have zero respect for their decision to be wrong. And I have zero compunction against making the statement. (Yeah, I know what camp you're in and that wasn't aimed at you...it really was central to the thread.)

But why the delicacy for Native American myths? Right is right and wrong is wrong after all.....
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby ronjanec on July 21st, 2012, 10:53 am 

Lincoln wrote:Well, I don't much care about the European/Asian origins thing. I expect you're talking about something related to Kenniwick Man, as that's the most common buzz in the press. Genetics strongly suggests that a small fraction of Native American DNA came from Europe (and before 1492 or even 1000). This doesn't bother me much.

I'm more interested in the delicacy that seems to be applied of late to NA myths. We don't apply that level of delicacy to the dominant myths held by people of European extraction. I am quite comfortable making the claim that biblical literalists are wrong. Now, I respect their right to be wrong. I have zero respect for their decision to be wrong. And I have zero compunction against making the statement. (Yeah, I know what camp you're in and that wasn't aimed at you...it really was central to the thread.)

But why the delicacy for Native American myths? Right is right and wrong is wrong after all.....


Yeah, I guess I did kind of 'dance' around that issue too Lincoln.
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby ronjanec on July 21st, 2012, 11:08 am 

What we are probably talking about here is in essence political "correctness" by our liberal news media Lincoln(and others of course).
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby moranity on July 21st, 2012, 11:14 am 

i think this boils down to the difference between: 1. holding your own beliefs which you are not forcing on anyone else and just want to be respected, if that causes no major inconvienience; and 2. wanting to force your beliefs on others wether they are inconvienienced majorly or not.
we are not defensive when asked to remove shoes when entering someone's house, but we may be offended by a law which inforces this in all homes
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby Lincoln on July 21st, 2012, 11:22 am 

Well, they're not obliged to believe...any more than the biblical literalists are obliged to believe. But this sensitivity to some NA religious beliefs can stop a research project in its tracks. There was one case in which blood was taken from an Indian tribe (with their approval and consent) to study diabetes "and other medical studies that might come up." Apparently the head researcher was also interested in some mental health studies as well. Later, these same samples were used in what one might call a genealogical study, whereby the regional origins of the tribe were revealed. This genetic study also was able to describe the degree of inbreeding withing the tribe. Because (a) the Indians believed that if incest was revealed that a family member would die and (b) they believed that their people inhabited that land forever, the study was pulled, the chapter was removed from a Ph.D. thesis, and the whole thing squelched.

Given that the samples were taken with consent and further consent was given to a broad range of studies for which the samples could be used, my inclination would have been to tell the tribe "too bad."

I mean the truth is that there was a degree of inbreeding and the tribe didn't live there since the Earth was formed. Now, the tribe is not obliged to accept the findings...that's fine. But findings they were.
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby ronjanec on July 21st, 2012, 11:32 am 

'Truth' is not important to the liberal news media Lincoln, political "correctness" is what is important here.
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby Lincoln on July 21st, 2012, 11:35 am 

This isn't a media thing ronjanec. And sometimes it's good to let a discusson stay on topic.
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby moranity on July 21st, 2012, 11:42 am 

the example you give has caused a small amount of trouble to the progress of science and may have affected a few people's livelihoods, but this is not comparable to the effect that a greater resurgence of right wing christianity could have. It's possible to see the effect being a new dark age where all the truths we've found will be lost. And, things such as making abortions illegal, actually threatens the lives of some. So this illicits a defensive response from some.
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby ronjanec on July 21st, 2012, 11:44 am 

"why the kid gloves on the native myths"? With all due respect Lincoln, my comments are on topic, and this is a media issue imo.
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby Lincoln on July 21st, 2012, 11:50 am 

The kid gloves are on within the academic community and not played out in the media. The media is far more circumspect about the more popular myths held within American culture. Imagine the reaction to a media outlet saying "Most of that Jesus thing is hogwash" or, Allah forbid, saying anything about Mohammed.
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby ronjanec on July 21st, 2012, 12:07 pm 

Lincoln wrote:The kid gloves are on within the academic community and not played out in the media. The media is far more circumspect about the more popular myths held within American culture. Imagine the reaction to a media outlet saying "Most of that Jesus thing is hogwash" or, Allah forbid, saying anything about Mohammed.


Many people in the academic community are very concerned about saying anything politically incorrect publicly even among themselves, because if this does leak out to someone in the media, they may publicly crucify them, and cause them to lose their jobs(right speak, right think, or else)
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby Lincoln on July 21st, 2012, 12:18 pm 

I believe I qualify as an academic. All religion in factually unproven and likely to be untrue, except as a social construct that has both beneficial and detrimental social consequences. How's that for a non-PC statement? Yet, it is a statement that many academics would make.

I'll grant you that there are various communities in the social science communities that espouse idiotic, liberal, PC, gobbledygook. On the other other hand, gobbledygook isn't a monopoly of the left. Right wing gobbledygook is at least as ridiculous.

I think you are quite blind to the tremendous pressure that exists in society to avoid statements like "God is bunk." Radical conservative pressure far outweighs radical liberal pressure.

But this is quite beside the question of why causing discomfort to Natives would suppress good science.
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby ronjanec on July 21st, 2012, 12:36 pm 

Cute Don, but you know the liberal media basically does not really care about what you academic types say about us religious people.

Why not say something publicly(or even privately) like that guy at Harvard who basically said that "women were not as good in the sciences as men" and you and I will both be looking for a good job in this terrible economy, and working on our 'short' game.
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby Lincoln on July 21st, 2012, 1:17 pm 

You seem more paranoid than usual. Imagine a national-level politician stating publicly that they are an atheist. They'd be embraced as much one as who declared themselves to be a pedophile.

America is essentially a center-right country. The academic community is a tiny fraction of the population. And there are both liberal and conservative lapdog media (Faux "News" anyone?), as well as paranoid web sites (Drudge report, perhaps?)

I'm still waiting for Forest for a substantive discussion on the subject, but let me get this straight....you would claim that the liberal media is OK with trashing one of the Israel-originated myths, but wouldn't consider touching....oh, I dunno...an Objiwa one? Your position seems to me to be tinged with a McCarthy-like flavor of paranoia..."the liberal media...I mean Commies...are everywhere."
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby weakmagneto on July 21st, 2012, 2:07 pm 

Lincoln wrote:There was one case in which blood was taken from an Indian tribe (with their approval and consent) to study diabetes "and other medical studies that might come up." Apparently the head researcher was also interested in some mental health studies as well. Later, these same samples were used in what one might call a genealogical study, whereby the regional origins of the tribe were revealed. This genetic study also was able to describe the degree of inbreeding withing the tribe. Because (a) the Indians believed that if incest was revealed that a family member would die and (b) they believed that their people inhabited that land forever, the study was pulled, the chapter was removed from a Ph.D. thesis, and the whole thing squelched.

Given that the samples were taken with consent and further consent was given to a broad range of studies for which the samples could be used, my inclination would have been to tell the tribe "too bad."

I mean the truth is that there was a degree of inbreeding and the tribe didn't live there since the Earth was formed. Now, the tribe is not obliged to accept the findings...that's fine. But findings they were.


IMO this sounds oversimplified. The Havasupai people believed that their DNA was going to be used to study diabetes, that was THEIR understanding. The researchers used their DNA for additional studies which were NOT discussed with or agreed to by them (consent). IMO this was an issue of disrespect and miscommunication. The Havasupai people must have felt so disrespected by the researchers because they did not discuss their interest in further testing their DNA for other purposes than what they had thought they had agreed to. I can imagine how this issue has eroded trust between First Nations and the scientific community.

Some First Nation people continue to live in a society where they still cannot trust those in authority based on a lot of historical and present atrocities, injustices, mistreatment, and the list could go on. Sadly, this case only confirms that mistrust. However, there is a lesson to be learned here by both the scientific community and First Nations.

Here is a link to an article by the American Journal of Medical Genetics about the Havasupai litigation:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... .33592/pdf
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby moranity on July 21st, 2012, 2:12 pm 

and i thought the subject of the thread was "why do we bash some myths and respect others?" my answer being maybe we feel threatened by some and so are defensive to those and attack them, while others have little effect on our lives, so we do not fuss over them.
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby Lincoln on July 21st, 2012, 3:08 pm 

weakmagneto,

The original release was a broad consent and said "to study the causes of behavioral/medical disorders."

Further, the original researchers didn't mislead the Havasupai. They did what they claimed they would do, which was to study diabetes. They also studied schizophrenia and alcoholism (as allowed by the release form). But, like good scientists, they kept the original genetic material. Later, a student saw the samples and used them for genetic studies.

The offense was that the genetic data studied inbreeding. The problem the tribe had was not that there was inbreeding, but that it was discovered. As if non-discovery would have resulted in non-inbreeding. Further, the tribe claimed that their people occupied that land forever. This is obviously untrue. It is also true that inbreeding can cause medical disorders and is thus covered by the original release.

It is a shame that the tribe wishes to believe untrue things, but that is their prerogative. Further, the data was subsequently suppressed, the chapter removed from the thesis, and the conclusion buried.

But that is at the essence of the question.

It is true that people of European heritage seem to have an interest in genetic/genealogical/etc. matters more, apparently, than Native Americans. (Although I'm only repeating information from tertiary sources...it's not like I have any expertise or real opinion on that.)

But why suppress data (which is real and tells the truth) over religion (which, I am sorry to have to say, is frequently disproven)? And why make a special case? European-origined scientists wouldn't think twice publishing archaeological studies that show factual errors in (say) the Old Testament.
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby ronjanec on July 21st, 2012, 4:06 pm 

Lincoln wrote:You seem more paranoid than usual. Imagine a national-level politician stating publicly that they are an atheist. They'd be embraced as much one as who declared themselves to be a pedophile.

America is essentially a center-right country. The academic community is a tiny fraction of the population. And there are both liberal and conservative lapdog media (Faux "News" anyone?), as well as paranoid web sites (Drudge report, perhaps?)

I'm still waiting for Forest for a substantive discussion on the subject, but let me get this straight....you would claim that the liberal media is OK with trashing one of the Israel-originated myths, but wouldn't consider touching....oh, I dunno...an Objiwa one? Your position seems to me to be tinged with a McCarthy-like flavor of paranoia..."the liberal media...I mean Commies...are everywhere."


A relatively unknown academic saying something politically incorrect in regards to possibly insulting the Native American population and the media's pc ideology, and a very well known politician saying something that would upset over 90% of the American population who believe in the existence of God(including the media of course) are two different issues Lincoln.

Yeah, go ahead and make fun of me, but I am not being "paronoid" in regards to the media Lincoln: Have you read any of Bernard Goldberg's books or any of Ann Coulter's books? Even people in the media themselves when being candid have admitted that there is "some" liberal bias in the mainstream media.

And if reading the Drudge Report makes people "paranoid", then I at least have a lot of company, because there are millions of other "paranoid" people who read this on a daily basis just like me.
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby Lincoln on July 21st, 2012, 4:31 pm 

I'm not making fun of you. And there are millions of paranoid people out there. (Given that there are over 300 million people in the US, it would be surprising if there weren't a few million paranoid people out there.)

OK...we have one vote for "the liberal media" as the cause for suppressing these studies. This seems improbable to me, but it is a clear position.

weakmagneto seems to be of the "but they were lied too" camp. This seems closer to the truth, although from my inexpert reading of tertiary sources, there appears to be no intentional deception. Consents were signed, the samples were voluntarily taken, the later tests were done in good faith (actually the later tests were so innocuous that the experimenters never considered that there might be a problem), and when a test subject objected, the results were pulled. The current status is that we know what the study concluded, but it is no longer to look at the results in a way so as to properly criticize them. For all we know, the results could have had a technical flaw. In any event, once the sensitivities were unveiled, the publication was pulled and the data suppressed.

It's just a curiosity to me that these results were pulled. (Partially because the results substantiated the essentially unquestioned origins of Asia as the genetic pool for most Native Americans. No matter what the tribe's religious beliefs, these particular ones are 100% wrong. The tribes have not been there since the beginning of time. This is as ridiculous as pulling a geology study because biblical literalists assert that the Deluge was real.)
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby ronjanec on July 21st, 2012, 4:55 pm 

Lincoln wrote:I'm not making fun of you. And there are millions of paranoid people out there. (Given that there are over 300 million people in the US, it would be surprising if there weren't a few million paranoid people out there.)

OK...we have one vote for "the liberal media" as the cause for suppressing these studies. This seems improbable to me, but it is a clear position.

weakmagneto seems to be of the "but they were lied too" camp. This seems closer to the truth, although from my inexpert reading of tertiary sources, there appears to be no intentional deception. Consents were signed, the samples were voluntarily taken, the later tests were done in good faith (actually the later tests were so innocuous that the experimenters never considered that there might be a problem), and when a test subject objected, the results were pulled. The current status is that we know what the study concluded, but it is no longer to look at the results in a way so as to properly criticize them. For all we know, the results could have had a technical flaw. In any event, once the sensitivities were unveiled, the publication was pulled and the data suppressed.

It's just a curiosity to me that these results were pulled. (Partially because the results substantiated the essentially unquestioned origins of Asia as the genetic pool for most Native Americans. No matter what the tribe's religious beliefs, these particular ones are 100% wrong. The tribes have not been there since the beginning of time. This is as ridiculous as pulling a geology study because biblical literalists assert that the Deluge was real.)


I am from Chicago so I should have two votes here Lincoln(that is of course how we usually do things here in the Windy City in regards to our elections)
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby weakmagneto on July 21st, 2012, 6:34 pm 

Sorry for the late response, I would start writing then would get interrupted. Here it goes...

Lincoln: However there seems to be another and related thing that is happening. It is clear that archaeology and genetic studies prove that Native Americans didn't originate in the Americas. The predominant source is from Asia, although it appears that native populations have enough European DNA to suggest a small migration from the east.

The problem appears to be that some Native American religions insist that the tribes always lived where they do now and the archaeologists have to somehow respect this (meaning not contradict this obviously-untrue belief) out of some kind of respect.


I wonder how the Mormons feel about these studies... :P lol IMO and as far as I know, the belief that First Nations (FN) people have been here since time immemorial has been challenged many times over by the scientific community especially when archaeological or DNA evidence comes out. Although, nothing in the past had been proven conclusively or to the satisfaction of those who believe.

It's just a curiosity to me that these results were pulled. (Partially because the results substantiated the essentially unquestioned origins of Asia as the genetic pool for most Native Americans. No matter what the tribe's religious beliefs, these particular ones are 100% wrong. The tribes have not been there since the beginning of time. This is as ridiculous as pulling a geology study because biblical literalists assert that the Deluge was real.


Some quick questions: What kind of margin of error exists with this study? How did it prove that most Native Americans genetic origins were Asian?

Where is it stated that the results were partially pulled because "the results substantiated the essentially unquestioned origins of Asia as the genetic pool for most Native Americans."?

Just an example of FN caution about believing in everything that is told to them: I heard stories from the Elders that, long ago, our ancestors were told by Europeans that the Earth was flat. The Elders stated that the ancestors knew different, they knew that the Earth was round, as they had always observed its shadow on the moon…

I heard another theory that Native Americans migrated from North America into Asia. There are many theories out there.

My question is: Is there 100% proof that ALL First Nations people are of Asian origin?

Lincoln wrote:weakmagneto seems to be of the "but they were lied too" camp. This seems closer to the truth, although from my inexpert reading of tertiary sources, there appears to be no intentional deception. Consents were signed, the samples were voluntarily taken, the later tests were done in good faith (actually the later tests were so innocuous that the experimenters never considered that there might be a problem), and when a test subject objected, the results were pulled. The current status is that we know what the study concluded, but it is no longer to look at the results in a way so as to properly criticize them. For all we know, the results could have had a technical flaw. In any event, once the sensitivities were unveiled, the publication was pulled and the data suppressed.)


I don’t think they were lied to per se, but were not consulted about the further genetic testing or aware of that potential. I think Forest will discuss the importance and significance of consultation when dealing with First Nations. Respect is one of the foundation values in First Nations culture.

I know I was fascinated by the latest DNA research:
Native Americans migrated to the New World in three waves, Harvard-led DNA analysis shows
http://www.boston.com/whitecoatnotes/20 ... story.html

I have heard the creation stories of the "original man" of "Turtle Island". I, too, have heard oral stories of great migrations and even about times of victories with "The Huns".

People who practice traditional Native spirituality do not impose their beliefs on anyone. They respect the beliefs of others and wish for the same in return.
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby CanadysPeak on July 21st, 2012, 7:40 pm 

From the evidence available to the general public, it appears Markov violated the Common Rule of CFR 46 with respect to informed consent. Further, it was likely not an oversight as she was allegedly told the tribe had not given informed consent (the blanket consent hasn't cut it for decades) for other research. In addition, there may have been a HIPAA violation (not for Markov, however) in the use of a health clinic (almost surely a covered entity) for processing of samples. Even the AMA (hardly a liberal group) soundly condemned the extension of the research. Good science or no, it can't trump the law.
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby weakmagneto on July 21st, 2012, 7:45 pm 

Thanks for the clarification, CanadysPeak. :)
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby Lincoln on July 22nd, 2012, 1:12 am 

weakmagneto....

There is very little margin for error in these genetic studies. The mitochondrial DNA in the bulk on Native American has analogous clusters in Siberia (three of them), with one cluster coming from Taiwan and southern China. It is literally incredible that these populations are not related. In previous times, there were similar conclusions on the basis of tooth and eye shape.

However, there is another mitochondrial DNA cluster in some of the tribes: the Ojibwa, Yakima, Navajo, etc. This cluster of DNA is only seen in Europe and not Asia. This new cluster is seen in much smaller proportions compared to the four Asian clusters.

It is possible that this European-oriented cluster was transmitted to America via diffusion across the Bering Straits and also entered Europe from Asia, before dying out in Asia, but the time scales make this unlikely. While definitive evidence is difficult in these things, it seems more probable that there is a small fraction of European ancestry in NA populations.

One thing appears to be completely unquestionable (well, in science, everything is questionable...just some things are eventually ruled out) and this is that America was unpopulated by hominids prior to 50,000 years ago. (Actually, less than that, but I picked a number that predates any archaeologically-supported date.) This does contradict the religious position of many Natives that their ancestors lived there forever. According to what I've read...and I admit this is tertiary sources and I have no first hand knowledge of this...the scientific conclusion that mankind originated outside of the Americas was considered disrespectful to the NA religions and this was part of the source of the furor and subsequent suppression of the data.
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby wolfhnd on July 22nd, 2012, 3:18 am 

All this in one day, you must really have your head wrapped around this one Lincoln :-)

The whole issue of sensitivity toward minorities is indeed interesting, I have been maligned for inflicting pain on minorities here at this very forum in fact. My reaction is that there are two kinds of sensitivity to consider, one reflects an interest in everyones right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and the other an empathy for the emotional reaction of other people. My reaction to the second is that everyone is responsible for their own emotional state. The expectation that anyone should be required to maintain an environment that fosters someone else's emotional "well being" should only apply to children and "partners". My argument would be that the kind of hatred that sensitivity "training" is suppose to address ignores the fact that the hatred arises out of a disproportionate allegiance and empathy for a particular sex, race, etc. If the issue was reduced to a mathematical equation sensitivity as promoted currently would be seen as something like this> hatred base on racial, sexual etc. identity + sensitivity based on race, sex, etc. = 0 What I'm saying is that the two cancel each other out and become a zero sum game with nothing gained. You cannot move forward to a true state of equality in an environment where one persons emotional state is considered worthy of dispassionate deference. As an example of how ineffectual sensitivity can be take the case of Posttraumatic stress disorder. The standard treatment for PTSD is

Exposure therapy a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that involves assisting trauma survivors to re-experience distressing trauma-related memories and reminders in order to facilitate habituation and successful emotional processing of the trauma memory. Most exposure therapy programs include both imaginal confrontation with the traumatic memories and real-life exposure to trauma reminders; this therapy modality is well supported by clinical evidence.


Sensitivity to the emotional reaction of the victim to previous traumatic experience is not going to solve anything. As another example I would offer is the case of woman seeking "sensitive" partners. The sensitivity that is requested is an unbiased, unreasoning commitment to the emotional state of another person, which is both impossible and mutual exclusive of a relationship based on equality. You could argue that unbiased and unreasonable commitment "sensitivity" is what "love" is all about but it ignores the biological basis for all emotional reactions.

Just in case someone wishes to misread my comments I will quote Paralith


I make no value judgments on my biology, nor do I devalue things like attraction and beauty and love just because I'm aware that my genetics play a significant role (but not the only role) in my experience of these things.


It's not about devaluing emotional reactions but keeping them in perspective and not allowing them to become manipulative.
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby weakmagneto on July 22nd, 2012, 5:58 am 

Lincoln wrote: According to what I've read...and I admit this is tertiary sources and I have no first hand knowledge of this...the scientific conclusion that mankind originated outside of the Americas was considered disrespectful to the NA religions and this was part of the source of the furor and subsequent suppression of the data.


Do you have primary or secondary data to support the conclusion that the results were suppressed because they did not want to be disrespectful to NA beliefs? Just for my clarification, are you referring to just the beliefs of the Havasupai people?

If you are indeed suggesting that data is being suppressed to be respectful of some Native American beliefs, then why wasn't this research below suppressed?

Native Americans migrated to the New World in three waves, Harvard-led DNA analysis shows
http://www.boston.com/whitecoatnotes/20 ... story.html

From my experience and knowledge, Native American indigeneity has been challenged for quite some time and continues to be.

Indigeneity in Canada: Spirituality, the Sacred and Survival by Dennis H. McPherson and J. Douglas Rabb
http://flash.lakeheadu.ca/~dmcphers/ind ... eneity.pdf

Lincoln wrote: This does contradict the religious position of many Natives that their ancestors lived there forever.


Narratives of Race and Indigeneity in the Genographic Project, Kim TallBear, Ph.D., M.C.P., Journal of
Law, Medicine & Ethics


"At stake in the Genographic Project and in this type of genetics research more broadly is a contest for meaning and authority. Who has the authority – the moral and intellectual authority (and for native people, also the “spiritual” authority) – to determine meanings and identities? In my North American context, it is not inherently problematic for indigenous peoples that science has alternative origin stories. Indigenous peoples’ insistence on the veracity of their origin stories and other crucial meanings should not be equated, for example, with Christian Creationist opposition to science.

Indigenous creation stories are not proselytizing; they have not historically lead to intolerance and various forms of oppression over differences in faith. Unlike evangelical Christians perhaps, Indigenous peoples could, under the right circumstances, accept that scientists have a different story about origins. What is crucial in the fight for meaning between indigenous peoples and scientists is the historically colonial nature of how science has arrived at its origin narratives. In their quest to understand human origins and migratory history in the “Americas,” the evidence gathered by scientists has come from indigenous peoples’ bodies and from the remains of ancestors that lie or should lie in their historic lands. Those are landscapes with which indigenous peoples have deep and spiritual relationships, and they believe that their ancestors continue to have spiritual relationships with those places.

Thus, U.S. indigenes find it difficult to tolerate the knowledge that their bodies can be named as stores for genetic miners. Many bristle when Spencer Wells asserts that “[o]ur DNA carries a story that is shared by everyone,” essentially that science has a right to the knowledge carried in indigenous DNA. Furthermore, not everyone claims that story. Spencer Wells’s message is proselytizing; it is totalizing. It leaves no room for real alternative meanings by which human beings want to and should be able to live (not unlike the message of those Christian Creationists that annoy so many scientists).

That is the important critique, not that scientific evidence itself is debatable. Scientists themselves arrive at that conclusion, at least in part, when they endlessly dispute whether there was one migration or three, how long ago, and whether ancient peoples have sailed here across the Pacific. One can say with a good deal of credible scientific evidence that Native Americans share genetic markers with human beings in the past and who live today and in those places we now call “Asia”’ and “Siberia.” But what does that mean?

A word to my indigenous audience: by getting caught up in scientific debates about the truthfulness of molecular origin stories, we cede intellectual and moral authority to scientists. We enter their territory and give them the opportunity to render our world views as untruths, to demean their power. Native origin stories and oral histories are key for understanding who our ancestors were and how we got to where we are today."

http://indigenousgenomicsgovernance.org ... eneity.pdf
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby moranity on July 22nd, 2012, 6:24 am 

really thats the point, we all can believe what we want, aslong as we do not force it upon others, that is respect for equality of human beings, that equality must extend to us making our own mistakes, none of us owns the truth and we are all always a mixture of right and wrong, no one theory accounts for all possible circumstances.
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Re: Indigenous myths and archaeology

Postby Ursa Minimus on July 22nd, 2012, 8:42 am 

Lincoln wrote:Given that we (i.e. the dominant European culture) have a population of people who trash our own creation myths, why the kid gloves on the native myths? I mean, it's clear that they are wrong...as much as biblical literalists are wrong.


Lincoln wrote:Given that the samples were taken with consent and further consent was given to a broad range of studies for which the samples could be used, my inclination would have been to tell the tribe "too bad."




The most pragmatic reason for "cultural sensitivity" is to preserve access for future research and researchers. Saying "too bad" would have ramifications across the continent, for years, imo.

Consider how the Tuskeegee experiment is still well known in the African American community, and how the seeds of distrust in "research" are still reverberating, given the difficulty of recruiting black Americans into medical research today. Many African Americans will bring Tuskeegee up when medical research comes up. They also often think the government infected people with syphilis, which they did not the researchers just didn't treat it, but that is the belief. Facts and beliefs are not always in line, and anyone who wants to investigate medical facts in the African American community better be ready to deal with... NOT deny or agree with but deal with... beliefs in that population.

Given the LONG history of natives being lied to, of treaties being broken, of "science" being used as a weapon against them... why should they not take this current example as one of being lied to and disrespected? How much easier or harder will it be for others to do research on genetics going forward in native populations? Or diabetes? I say a LOT harder. And I say so as someone who has had to overcome suspicious research populations myself.

So by pushing the science and creating at least the IMPRESSION of lying about the study, by not respecting the concerns of the human beings they research, these researchers have screwed things up for other researchers who wish to study such populations. Trust takes a long time to establish, and a few seconds to lose. And it's not just those researchers who lose trust over this, it is EVERY researcher who is now more likely to be seen as guilty until proven innocent.
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