A Quizzical Glimpse of Native American History

Most people are familiar with the saying “To the victor go the spoils,” which includes writing (or rewriting) history books to justify defeating the enemy.

With that in mind, see how many of the following questions you can answer correctly.


1. True/False King Ferdinand was given permission to kill indigenous people or make them their slaves by the pope.


2. How many tribal nations have a formal nation-to-nation relationship with the U.S. Government?

a. 14

b. 567

c. 173


3. How many federal and state-recognized American Indian reservations are there?

a. 492

b. 39

c. 334


4. How many states have a recognized American Indian reservation?

a. 35

b. 9

c. 17


5. True/False The Founding Fathers were sympathetic toward Native Americans and recognized their rights under the Declaration of Independence.


6. True/False The Declaration of Independence’s statement that “all men are created equal” included Native Americans.


7. What was the reason for the majority of U.S. Government – Indian wars?

a. White settlers occupying Indian land in violation of treaties

b. U.S. Government ignoring existing treaties due to westward expansion.

c. Loss of livelihood and hunting grounds to encroachment by white settlers.

d. All of the above


8. Indian people are categorized by culture and geography. Which of the following are NOT considered culture areas?

a. Arctic, subarctic, Northwest Coast, Plateau

b. Great Basin, California, Southwest, Mesoamerica

c. Great Plains, Northeast, Southeast, Caribbean

d. None of the above


9. In the early 19th Century, Sequoyah, a Cherokee polymath from the Little Tennessee Valley created:

a. A list of treaty violations to present to the U.S. Congress

b. The allotment system to assign land to individuals

c. A syllabary of 86 ornate characters


10. Which of the following places are based on Native American names?

a. Allegheny, Alaska, Adirondack

b. Biloxi, Caddo, Chattanooga

c. Hatteras, Erie, Huron

d. Wyoming, Winnebago, Wichita

e. All of the above


ANSWERS

1. True. The first papal bull issued for King Ferdinand in Spain after Columbus returned from the Caribbean stated: “All people of North America are no better than feral animals and may be slaughtered at will.” 

And that bull was followed by another that accompanied the North American land grants: “All land grants will be governed by the same rules as the land grants in Spain, to which you have been accustomed. Thus, as usual, any people populating your land defined by the land grant here issued are your slaves.”

2. b. 567 tribal nations

3. c. 334 reservations

4. a. 35 states with reservations

5. False. George Washington was known as Town Destroyer in the Seneca language based on the decimated cornfields and razed villages he promoted. Thomas Jefferson as Governor of Virginia, ordered a war of extermination against the Shawnee.

6. Following that “created equal” statement it states “except the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.

Yes, it really says that. The Natives were accused of being savages for defending their homeland while as one example, at Sand Creek the U.S. Army slaughtered innocent Native Americans who were literally flying the U.S. Flag with a white banner of surrender.

Custer did, indeed, have it coming.

I find it ironic that following WWII the U.S. was more than generous helping to rebuild war zones of former enemies in Germany and Japan, yet few promises made to this country’s original residents have been kept.

7. d. All of the above are reasons for the U.S. – Indian Wars.

The “Manifest Destiny” attitude of America’s early European explorers and subsequent settlers toward the country’s native population was overtly hostile. Land that was virtually stolen, deceptive treaties of which the Indigenous signers were not advised of their true content, and treaties to which both signatories agreed but Congress never ratified are but a part of the sordid tale.

Too many members of the Native population live in substandard conditions with many reservations comparable to a Third World Country and comprise some of the poorest counties in the United States. Yet now the government proposes giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to illegal aliens for being “inconvenienced.”

What’s wrong with this picture?

8. d. None of the above. All represent designated cultural areas.

9. c. A syllabary of 86 characters based on the sound of syllables in the Cherokee language

10. e. All of the above. Hundreds, more likely thousands, of places in the U.S. and Canada retain their Native American names.


SCORES BASED ON NUMBER CORRECT

9 – 10 Cheated or has a college degree in Native American History.

7 – 8 Assumed this was an open-book quiz.

5 – 6 Fan of Longmire series on Netflix.

3 – 4 A few lucky guesses.

0 – 2 Don’t waste your money on lotto tickets.


Swallow your pride and leave your scores below.

Italy without tomatoes? Ireland without potatoes? What do YOU know about the Columbia Exchange?

1. What is/was the “Columbian exchange?”

A. The currency exchange rate between the U.S. and Columbia.

B. Trading Columbian coffee for other commodities.

C. The transference of plants, animals, and diseases among the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa unleashed by Christopher Columbus’s geographical miscalculation.

D. The expressway bridge across the Columbia River that connects Portland, Oregon with Vancouver, Washington.


2. Europeans brought which of the following the New World?

A. White rice, wheat, barley, oats, and rye.

B. Turnips, onions, cabbage, and lettuce.

C. Cutting for fruit trees such as peaches, pears, and apples.

D. All of the above.


3. Indigenous peoples introduced which of the following to European immigrants?

A. Corn, pineapples, and sweet potatoes.

B. Peanuts, tomatoes, cocoa, and papaya.

C. Squash, pumpkins, white potatoes, and avocados.

D. All of the above.


4. Which of the following animals were brought to the Americas by Europeans?

A. Donkeys, goats, and sheep.

B. Chickens and horses.

C. Pigs & cattle.

D. A & C

E. All of the above.


5. Some of the animals brought to American had a negative effect. (TRUE/FALSE)


6. The Europeans also brought birds such as starlings, insects, black rats, and honeybees. (TRUE/FALSE)


7. Which of the following diseases were introduced to the Americas by European explorers?

A. Small pox and measles.

B. Malaria, cholera, and yellow fever.

C. Cholera, thyphus, and  bubonic plague.

D. All of the above.


8. Exportation of which of the following plants indigenous to America made colonization viable and profitable due to its popularity in Europe?

A. Potatoes

B. Tobacco

C. Corn

D. Cocoa


ANSWERS

1. What is/was the “Columbian exchange?”

ANSWER C: The transference of plants, animals, and diseases among the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa unleashed by Christopher Columbus’s geographical miscalculation.


2. Europeans brought which of the following the New World?

ANSWER D: All of the above

These items are included in American diets without thought to the fact they were no indigenous to this continent–early settlers brought them here. They brought that with which they were familiar to cultivate and maintain their previous food culture.


3. Indigenous peoples introduced which of the following to European immigrants?

ANSWER D: All of the above

Can you even imagine Italian food without tomatoes? The Swiss without cocoa? The Irish without potatoes? Halloween without pumpkins? Baseball without peanuts? These staples in European and modern American culture all originated on North American soil with Indigenous people.

Potatoes are the 5th most important crop worldwide, surpassed in harvest volume only by its fellow American veggie, corn or maize, then sugarcane, wheat, and rice.


4. Which of the following animals were brought to the Americas by Europeans?

ANSWER E: All of the above

Can you even imagine the Navajo (Din√©) without sheep? The Native Americans of the Great Plains–the Lakota (Sioux), Comanche, Cheyenne, and Apache–without horses? The equestrian cultures of the Plains were, in fact, the direct result of the Columbian exchange.


5. Some animals brought to American had a negative effect. (TRUE/FALSE)

ANSWER TRUE: Hernando de Soto brought 13 pigs with him in 1539. Three years later, that number had grown to about 700, which was destabilizing and often destructive to native crops. Not only did they eat some of them, but trampled the rest.


6. The Europeans also brought birds such as starlings, insects, black rats, and honeybees. (TRUE/FALSE)

ANSWER TRUE

Bees may have been intentional, but it’s possible those others were stowaways of some sort on European ships. They certainly could have kept their starlings and black rats to say nothing of non-honey producing insects.


7. Which of the following diseases were introduced to the Americas by European explorers?

ANSWER D: All of the above.

Each of these diseases triggered what is known as a virgin soil epidemic where diseases were unleashed that had never been seen before and to which the Native peoples had no immunity. When smallpox was introduced to the mainland in 1519 it spread through the Mexica (the Mesoamerican people commonly referred to as Aztecs) quickly with devastating consequences.


8. Exportation of which of the following plants indigenous to America made colonization viable and profitable due to its popularity in Europe?

ANSWER B: Tobacco


SOURCE: “Native Peoples of North America”, The Great Courses, presented by Professor Daniel M. Cobb, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Image by Sabrina Ripke, Pixabay