By Russell Thornton

This demographic evaluate of North American Indian historical past describes intimately the holocaust that, even at the present time, white americans are likely to brush off as an unlucky concomitant of occur future. they need to disregard that, as Euro-Americans invaded North the United States and prospered within the "New World," the numbers of local peoples declined sharply; complete tribes, usually within the house of some years, have been "wiped from the face of the earth."


The fires of the holocaust that fed on American Indians blazed within the fevers of newly encountered ailments, the flash of settlers’ and infantrymen’ weapons, the ravages of "firewater," and the scorched-earth rules of the white invaders. Russell Thornton describes how the holocaust had as its motives ailment, conflict and genocide, elimination and relocation, and destruction of aboriginal methods of life.


Until lately such a lot students appeared reluctant to invest approximately North American Indian populations in 1492. during this ebook Thornton discusses intimately what number Indians there have been, the place that they had come from, and the way glossy scholarship in lots of disciplines may possibly permit us to make extra actual estimates of aboriginal populations.

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Extra info for American Indian Holocaust and Survival: A Population History Since 1492 (Civilization of the American Indian)

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The main problem with such sources is accuracy. Also the proportion of the total population that they represent is often open to debate. Archaeological data include information from the excavations of sites or mounds (Spinden, 1928; Snow, 1980; also Glassow, 1967) and middens (Ascher, 1959; Thompson, 1966; also Glassow, 1967). Also significant is evidence of settlement patterns (Heizer and Baumhoff, 1956) and extensive agriculture, for example, irrigation canals, relic fields, terraces, and other land modifications (Boserup, 1966; Denevan, 1970).

Denevan (1976 : 12) noted, this is an imprecise index, however, since both the environment and the technology are readily subject to change. Also, just because a population could have been supported by the environment and the technology, it does not mean that the actual population was that large (Thornton, 1984c). Some demographic data have been used to estimate American Indian populations. Mortality rates, particularly in epidemics, have been a source of evidence (Cook, 1981; Dobyns, 1983). These have been derived from documents and from the application of known mortality rates of such diseases as smallpox, given knowledge that the disease was present in a population.

Occasionally, scholars are not concerned with a large area or large number of tribes and will provide population estimates for only specific subareas, such as California (Powers, 1877; Merriam, 1905; Ascher, 1959; Glassow, 1967; Cook, 1978), or specific tribes or groups (Mooney, 1889, 1907; Mook, 1944; Thompson, 1966; Turner, 1973; Feest, 1973, 1975; Miller, 1976; Snow, 1980). Population Data Scholars have been creative in utilizing diverse sources of data to estimate American Indian populations.

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