Unit Three

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TOPICS – Module 3: The Political Exclusion of Indigenous Knowledge Systems

On The Politics of Discovery, Terra Nullius and Native Cultural Landscaping… Three significant terms framed much of American thinking of empire in relationship to Native peoples: the doctrine of discovery, terra nullius, and manifest destiny. All of these were predicated on a non-existence of Indigenous nations, and, by association, Native agriculture. As Gartner would say, “In 1095, at the beginning of the Crusades, Pope Urban II issued an edict -- the Papal Bull Terra Nullius (meaning empty land). It gave the kings and princes of Europe the right to ‘discover’, or claim land in non-Christian areas. This policy was extended in 1452 when Pope Nicholas V issued the bull Romanus Pontifex, declaring war against all non-Christians throughout the world and authorizing the conquest of their nations and territories.”i These edicts treated non-Christians as uncivilized and subhuman, and therefore without rights to any land or nation. Christian leaders claimed a God-given right to take control of all lands and used this idea to justify war, colonization, and even slavery. By the time Christopher Columbus set sail in 1492, this Doctrine of Discovery was a well-established idea in the Christian world. When he reached the Americas, Columbus performed a ceremony to "take possession" of all lands "discovered," meaning all territory not occupied by Christians. Upon his return to Europe in 1493, Pope Alexander VI issued the bull Inter Cetera, granting Spain the right to conquer the lands that Columbus had already "discovered" and all lands that it might come upon in the future. This decree also expressed the Pope's wish to convert the natives of these lands to Catholicism in order to strengthen the "Christian Empire."ii In 1573 Pope Paul II issued the papal bill Sublimis Deus, which denounced the idea that Native Americans "should be treated like irrational animals and used exclusively for our profit and our service,"iii and Pope Urban VIII (1623-1644) formally excommunicated anyone still holding Indian slaves. By this time, however, the Doctrine of Discovery was deeply rooted and led nonetheless to the conquest of non-Christian lands and people in every corner of the world. Although the U.S. was founded on freedom from such tyranny, the idea that white people and Christians had certain divine rights was nevertheless ingrained in the young nation's policies. The slave trade, for example, and centuries of violence against black people depended upon the idea that non-Whites were less than human. The theft of Native American lands required a similar justification. In 1823, the Doctrine of Discovery was written into U.S. law as a way to deny land rights to Native Americans in the Supreme Court case, Johnson v. McIntosh. It is ironic that the case did not directly involve any Native Americans since the decision stripped them of all rights to their independence. In 1775, Thomas Johnson and a group of British investors bought a tract of land from the Plankeshaw Indians. During the Revolutionary War, this land was taken from the British and became part of the U.S. in the "County of Illinois." In 1818, the U.S. government sold part of the land to William McIntosh, a citizen of Illinois. This prompted Joshua Johnson, the heir to one of the original buyers, to claim the land through a lawsuit (which he later lost)iv. In a unanimous decision, Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that the Christian European nations had assumed complete control over the lands of America during the "Age of Discovery." Upon winning independence in

1776, he noted, the U.S. inherited authority over these lands from Great Britain, "notwithstanding the occupancy of the natives, who were heathens…"v According to the ruling, American Indians did not have any rights as independent nations, but only as tenants or residents of U.S. land. For Joshua Johnson, this meant that the original sale of land by the Piankeshaws was invalid because they were not the lawful owners. For Native Americans, this decision foreshadowed the Trail of Tears, and a hundred years of forced removal and violence. Despite recent efforts to have the case repealed as a symbol of good will, Johnson v. McIntosh has never been overruled and remains good law. In 1845, a democratic leader and prominent editor named John L. O'Sullivan gave the Doctrine of Discovery a uniquely American flavor when he coined the term Manifest Destiny to defend U.S. expansion and claims to new territory: ".... the right of our manifest destiny to over spread and to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty… is right such as that of the tree to the space of air and the earth suitable for the full expansion of its principle and destiny of growth."vi ''Terra nullius'' is a Latin expression deriving from Roman law meaning "land belonging to no one" (or "no man's land”), which is used in public international law to describe territory which has never been subject to the sovereignty of any state, or over which any prior sovereign has expressly or implicitly relinquished sovereignty.vii Sovereignty over territory which is ''terra nullius'' may be acquired through occupation. This notion, grounded in previous notions that the lands held by non–Christian peoples were subject to claiming by Christian nation states, had some essential elements of denial. These would include, the idea that the Indigenous peoples who lived in these lands were agents of change on these lands, not a “vast wilderness,” and that Indigenous nations had significant moral authority, infrastructure and a way of life which would mean, that theft of lands would be viewed as immoral. Added to this political philosophy was experiential knowledge. This is to say, that most immigrants, and colonizers came from a pastoral economy, and a set of hedges, fences and boundaries imposed by monarchy and empire. They had no experience with an Indigenous worldview, nor an Indigenous way of relating to the land. Hugh Brody discusses this widely in his book, “The People’s Land: Eskimos and Whites in the Easter Arctic”viii. And a more simplistic analysis and summary is contained in Jack Weatherford’s Native Roots, where he notes, “… The Pilgrims of Plymouth survived the winter of l620-21 in American thanks to the generous help of the Wampanoag, Massachuset, and the neighboring Indians who supplied most of the food for the first Thanksgiving feast as well as for the subsequent ones.”ix One Wampanoag, who has become known to us as Squanto, taught the English so effectively because he spoke fluent English and had already traveled to several European countries after escaping from an English slaver. The Pilgrims arrived not knowing how to speak any of the Indian languages or how to grow European crops, much less American ones. Because the Pilgrims emigrated to America from cities and towns in Europe and not from the countryside, they knew nothing of living in the forest or of farming. Squanto and the other Indians patiently taught them to plant and cultivate Indian corn, pumpkins, beans and squash.x After helping the Pilgrims start their farms, Squanto died in l622, as did thousands of his fellow Indians who fell victim to the many fevers and epidemic diseases introduced by the Europeans. When the Indians died form disease or warfare, the pilgrims took over their neatly prepared fields and storehouses. “Even the settlement that we know as Plymouth began as the Wampanoag village of Patuxet before the Pilgrims appropriated it for themselves taking over Wampanoag houses, cleaned field, corn bins and even tools”xi (112). All of this was, frankly, conveniently forgotten in the making of Empire. Terra Nullis and the Exclusion of Indigenous Knowledges…

Let us say that the notion of terra nullius largely framed much of the early reporting on Indigenous agriculture. While the significance of Indigenous food stocks to world cuisine and food wealth is well documented, the counter-intuitive suggestion that the land was unused by Native Americans had strong resonance in the practice of colonialism and empire building. In 1956 Henry Wallace, former US Secretary of Agriculture and also Vice President during Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration, estimated that Native peoples cultivated 50,000 acres across all of Americaxii. In contrast, the Gardner’s dissertation documents field mosaics belonging to individual tribes or confederacies that were as large as Wallace’s estimate for all of North America, “Indeed DeLerys l730 map of the principle village of the Renards is taken at face value, the Sac and Fox had a single field that covered 43.5 square kilometers of ground.”xiii Gartner also cited a quote by Cronon from 1983: “’The comparatively late founding of Wisconsin meant that the discourses of settlement were also different than most other areas east of the Mississippi River. Nineteenth century settlers in Wisconsin could acquired legal land title directly from the US government instead of claiming supposedly ‘unimproved lands’ has been the practice elsewhere during much of the Colonial period’. There are some political and economic incentives for depreciating native landscapes were no longer operational during the Euro-America settlement of Wisconsin.xiv” Henry Wallace’s assumptions were not only based on faulty data, but they served an imperial and colonial mindset, which justified the appropriation of lands. Wallace’s estimate of 50,000 acres is an interesting assertion, particularly when an estimated one-third of major food crops in the world originated in the Americas, with corn at the center of this food wealth. So it is, that those who write history have diminished the significance of Indigenous knowledge systems in relationship to agriculture.  According the 1866 Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, the Menominee "raised but a small crop this year, but made about 75,000 pounds of maple sugar, for which a ready sale was found."xv As a side note, the Oneida that year produced 33,000 bushels of grain (not sure corn, wheat, or what), 13,500 bushels of potatoes, and owned over 1,500 head of horses and other stock. According to Ebeanzer Childs, an early Green Bay settler, the French families whom had all taken on much of the native customs, had the following food/subsistence customs:

"Their principal food was wild game, fish and hulled corn. They caught large quantities of
sturgeon and trout, and they made immense quantities of maple sugar. At the proper season in the spring, the entire settlement would remove to their sugar-camps, often remain two months, each family making eight or ten hundred pounds of the finest sugar I ever saw.”xvi

Leo G. Waisberg & Tim E. Holzkamm, DRAFT (WORK IN PROGRESS) - WITHOUT PREJUDICE, American Society for Ethnohistory - 13 November 1998 Special Session - Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Reserva on, Ojibwe (Anishinaabeg) Natural Resource Use in the Face of Government Regula on: Historical and Cultural Perspec ves “Peaceful Pursuit of the Indian Happiness”: Anishinaabeg Resources in the Boundary Waters A er Treaty #3, Treaty & Aboriginal Rights Research, Grand Council Treaty #3, Kenora, Ontario

Discussion Questions: How does the marginalization of Indigenous knowledge serve colonialism?

Readings
Session 2: The Political Exclusion of Indigenous Knowledge Systems Module Topics Readings Introduction From the text: – 1 Jack Weatherford Native Roots, How the Indians Enriched America. New Omaa York, NY: Ballantine Books, l99l. Akiing – In

the Beginning and Spiritual Foundations

Charles Mann l49l Also see: United Nations The Doctrine of Discovery and Colonialism The Doctrine of Discovery, The International Law of Colonialism Conference Room Paper11th Session of the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues7-18 May 2012 Professor Robert Miller Brody, Hugh. The People’s Land: Eskimos and Whites in the Easter Arctic. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1977. Newcomb, Steven. Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing, 2008. Gartner, Gustav William. Raised Field Landscapes of Native North America Thesis (Ph. D.). Madison: The University of Wisconsin, 2003. O'Sullivan, John L. (July–August 1845). "Annexation". United States Magazine and Democratic Review 17 (1): 5–10. Retrieved 2008-05-20. United States. Office of Indian Affairs Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1866 G.P.O., [1866] v. : fold. maps ; 23 cm. Childs, Colonel Ebenezer. "Recollections of Wisconsin Since 1820." 1859. MS. State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin. 508 p. ; 23 cm.

Research Articles:

Assignments
TOPICS – Module 3: Ricing and Harvest Mid-September
Septemberish: Wabaabagaa Giizis Changing Leaves Moon (Wa-bah-ba-gah) Variants: Waatebagaa-giizis, Mandaamini-giizis, Moozo-giizis Translations: Leaves Changing Color Moon, Corn Moon, Moose Moon

DAY 1: 1 2 3 4 DAY 2: Anishinaabe knowledge and the powers of agriculture Equity – intergenerational, interspecies, etc. Nutrition and Native Agriculture (including seasonal eating) Opening traditional dinner Journaling Ricing Day

5 6 7 8 9 DAY 3: 10 11 12 13 14

Anishinaabeg Economics Wild rice and the Anishinaabeg people Ricing Preparing a traditional Anishinaabeg fall meal Journaling Harvesting and preserving foods – traditional preservation and storage methods Re-envisioning tribal food economics Economic Paradigms of Sustainability Restoration and Remediation Journaling

Gartner, Gustav William. Raised Field Landscapes of Native North America Thesis (Ph. D.). Madison: The University of Wisconsin, 2003. ii Newcomb, Steven. Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing, 2008. iii Gartner, Gustav William. Raised Field Landscapes of Native North America Thesis (Ph. D.). Madison: The University of Wisconsin, 2003. iv Gartner, Gustav William. Raised Field Landscapes of Native North America Thesis (Ph. D.). Madison: The University of Wisconsin, 2003. v Gartner, Gustav William. Raised Field Landscapes of Native North America Thesis (Ph. D.). Madison: The University of Wisconsin, 2003. vi O'Sullivan, John L. (July–August 1845). "Annexation". United States Magazine and Democratic Review 17 (1): 5–10. Retrieved 2008-05-20. vii ''Terra Nullius.” English Dictionary. www.allwords.com/wordterra+nullius.html|publisher=Allwords.com: 15 June 2010. viii Brody, Hugh. The People’s Land: Eskimos and Whites in the Easter Arctic. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1977. ix Jack Weatherford Native Roots, How the Indians Enriched America. New York, NY: Ballantine Books, l99l. x Jack Weatherford Native Roots, How the Indians Enriched America. New York, NY: Ballantine Books, l99l. xi Brody, Hugh. The People’s Land: Eskimos and Whites in the Easter Arctic. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1977. xii Gartner, Gustav William. Raised Field Landscapes of Native North America Thesis (Ph. D.). Madison: The University of Wisconsin, 2003. xiii Gartner, Gustav William. Raised Field Landscapes of Native North America Thesis (Ph. D.). Madison: The University of Wisconsin, 2003. xiv Gartner, Gustav William. Raised Field Landscapes of Native North America Thesis (Ph. D.). Madison: The University of Wisconsin, 2003. xv United States. Office of Indian Affairs Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1866 G.P.O., [1866] v. : fold. maps ; 23 cm. xvi Childs, Colonel Ebenezer. "Recollections of Wisconsin Since 1820." 1859. MS. State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin. 508 p. ; 23 cm.
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