Simi Valley Sophist

The Simi Valley Sophist ruminates on all manner of topics from the micro to the macro. SVS travels whatever path strikes his fancy. Encyclopedia Britannica: Sophist "Any of certain Greek lecturers, writers, and teachers in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, most of whom travelled about the Greek-speaking world giving instruction in a wide range of subjects in return ..."

Location: California, United States

Retired: 30years law enforcement-last 20 years Criminal Intelligence Detective.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

American Indians Did It in the Nude

Did what you ask? Well, they did just about everything either nude or partially nude, depending upon the weather. It is generally acknowledged that the English and Spanish Christians were horrified at the general nakedness of the New World aboriginal inhabitants.

A quick search of the Internet reveals plenty of evidence that the word “naked” was used as a common pejorative by early Caucasians toward aboriginals, right along with barbarian, savage, filthy and godless.

More technologically advanced cultures often use their technological superiority to supplant or enslave lesser technological cultures. The Shoshone, from the Great Plains, introduced a greater technology in the form of the bow and arrow by sticking arrows into to the spear throwing Western coastal Chumash. Likewise, the Europeans introduced superior technology to the New World. Along with the gifts of technology and disease, the Europeans introduced Christian concepts of sin and evil inextricably intertwined with sex and nudity. Needless to say, that was in direct conflict with the indigenous cultural and religious systems.

Accompanying the enslavement of the natives, it seems that the Spanish priests were into saving heathen souls and instilling the prerequisite European Christian body phobias and sexual prohibitions. Naturally, nudity was equated to sexual activity and so it had to be banned as well. The God-fearing folks from the Eastern portion of N. America were more interested in the conquest of land than the enslavement and baptizing of Indians. Nevertheless, they brought with them the same culture destroying European Christian gifts.

“In Dr. Horacio Rojas Alba’s examination of the indigenous health practices utilizing the sweat lodge, he notes:”

The Spaniards were appalled and outraged by this, to them, barbaric practice. Not only was it inextricably interwoven with pagan beliefs and ritual, as is all ancient traditional medicine, but, most shocking of all, the bathers entered into these small, dark chambers, all sexes and size together, naked as the day on which they were born. The Spaniards were convinced that some sort of unspeakable orgiastic rites were taking place, and so they set themselves to forbidding the practice and destroying the baths wherever they found them. In the Penal Code and Order for Governing of the Indians, proclaimed by Charles the Fifth, the emperor of Spain, it was declared "that Indians who are not sick shall not bathe in hot baths under penalty of one hundred lashes to be followed by two hours bound in the marketplace..." Later, the proscription was extended to the sick as well.
There they are, right there in Alba’s description: barbaric; pagan; naked; and the additional characteristic of orgiastic. Sex too? How can it get any worse?

The intellectual, scientific and cultural world once flourished under Islam and subsequently shifted to the Judeo-Christian world. For all the good that was and is being done, there is a price to be paid.

In an effort to separate and make man appear superior over all of the other animals on the planet, the Abraham religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam linked sin to the human body and made parts of the body and certain bodily functions off limits for public display. Advocates of the inherent sinfulness of the body used their technological advantage to destroy cultures manifesting body innocence.

So, here we are several hundred years later. There are not many N. American indigenous peoples left and virtually none living as their ancestors once did. Certainly their body innocence was destroyed, and there is not much nudity in their modern lifestyle. And, we as the human race are lesser for it.