Someone left a comment on my last post, about how somehow Native American Oral traditions are “double reverse racism”.
Then there’s the double reverse racism of self-proclaimed experts who say “Archaeologists MUST listen to the Native American oral tradition”, the implication being that “the oral tradition” is perfect, accurate, and unchanging and further that “the oral tradition” of Native Americans currently living in Place X is relevant; to the archaeology being done. An easy counterexample it that the Cherokee oral tradition is not relevant to the Plains Indians. Other groups of Native Americans have moved around throughout history and the people who live in Place Y might have supplanted earlier inhabitants, who in turn supplanted even earlier inhabitants.
Second, The least archaeologists can do is listen to Native American oral traditions.
There is no “implication” that any oral tradition is perfect. Oral traditions are important not because of their perceived perfection, but because they are the history of a people.
As far as the second half of this, the relocation of the Cherokee is not a counterexample. The location of the various Cherokee tribes neither invalidates their oral traditions nor replaces the oral traditions of others. It actually makes these oral histories important because they are out of place.
I can tell from this example that the value of oral traditions in archaeology is not understood. Which really only compounds with the problems created when the Fringe uses Native American Myth to support their ideas and biases.
I want to send people to one of our older podcast episodes where Ken and I talk about these topics. The Importance of Myth and Oral Traditions – Episode 30.
Clearly, we need to revisit this topic again, and again, and again.
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