The Story of the American Indian

The Story of the American Indian

The Story of the American Indian

The Story of the American Indian

Excerpt

In the following pages I have attempted to describe the salient traits of the life of the American Indians, as well as their history, in simple language. It is avowedly an interpretation and not a mere narration of the facts. The assumption with which I begin is that aboriginal American history can only be understood in terms of the spread of the great civilizations that developed in Mexico, Central America and along the Pacific coast of South America from Ecuador to Peru. I do not believe that any scholar seriously questions this any longer. Such a view is not original. It has been promulgated by many anthropologists before me.

I have tried to present the facts as authentically as possible and to select for description, tribes representative of every type of culture found in the Americas.

Some critics of the first edition of this book contended that it was unfair to the less complex cultures of America, to attribute all their achievements to the influence, direct or indirect, of the great civilizations of Mexico, Central America and South America. But the investigations of the last seven years have confirmed my general point of view beyond my fondest expectations. Even in the case of the southwest of the United States, although it has become increasingly evident that this culture is much older than we had anticipated, still it is now more than ever apparent that all its initial development was due to influences from Mexico.

For our knowledge of the archaeology of the Valley of Mexico and adjacent regions, the last seven years have been revolutionary. We can now retrace the cultures there as far back as 1,000 B.C., and the civilization of the peoples we have called the Toltecs has proved to be but one of many . . .

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