The history of Indigenous contact should be taught differently in light of the absence of written documentation. It should be done with logic, reasoning, and science of course. The way American society has been taught the history of the world has been intentionally fractured since the start of the 1900’s. Creation is what America was originally taught of human beginnings prior to this. Here, I still highlight the "pagan" acts and traditions of cannibalism as something that needs to be brought to light--given the lack of awareness to the very real cultural divide.
“It begins when the Flood subsides. Noah plants a vineyard, makes wine, and falls into a stupor in his tent. Ham . . . sees his father's nakedness and tells his two brothers what has happened.... When Noah wakes up and learns what has happened, he lays a curse not upon Ham but upon Ham's son: 'Accursed be Canaan. He shall be his brothers' meanest slave.' . . . Whizzing forward to the medieval versions we learn more about the nature of Ham's misdeeds. He mocked Noah's nakedness, and invited his brothers to do the same (which they refused). What is more, this is not the first of Ham's transgressions. When they had all been on the Ark together, Noah had insisted that everyone be sexually continent, but Ham, by the aid of a magic demon, slept with his wife…” And the Curse of Ham was in effect.
The Tower of Babel in Mesopotamia was the next “Fall of Man.” I wrote an article awhile back where I clarify the results of Babel and its destruction on humanity. The world was a wicked place in the days of Noah. Compared to most European lifestyles they were observed as disgraceful, disgusting, violent, immoral, and unethical societies and in those days, it was something horrific. Dr. David Leston wrote that “archaeologists have unearthed bodies of people who lived in Mesopotamia, they have found evidence that cannibalism was practiced. In short, this was a very brutal era, in which humanity showed little to no regard for one another.”
He goes on to mention that in “January 1996 National Geographic did a comparison between rodeo riders and their injuries, and skeletons uncovered from the time of Noah. They found striking similarities between the injuries of the two groups, suggesting that this was a very violent society. When people reject God and the boundaries and purposes that He has created for them, they become a law unto themselves, and society becomes weaker and more dangerous.” The net results are the same as always--extreme anarchy and a violent world. So, God flooded the world and spared the only honest and Godly man alive at the time. It was Noah who God gave the task of rebuilding civilization.
It was right after the Flood that people would repopulate the Fertile Crescent (the middle east). This was a very fertile and agriculturally productive area which was quick to develop and fought over heavily. One of humankind’s early technological developments was the ability to design, manipulate materials and make structures such as buildings. It was mankind’s obligation from God to subdue the earth. He ultimately gave mankind all the faculties necessary to create great constructions. However, in man’s rebellion against God, this gift was used in ways to honor men and not Him—such as The Tower of Babel. This attempt at building a ziggurat mega-structure was humankind's next attempt at playing God. Just a note here—it will blow your mind to look at the similarities in the Mesopotamian ziggurat of biblical days and a typical ziggurat from South America.
In Genesis 11, the tower planners said “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” The planners of course were referring to making a name for mankind above God’s name. God saw this ability of men to centralize power effectively for the purposes of glorifying themselves. He then—in an instant—created world languages to confuse the masses and dispersed them globally. This is where Dispersion across the globe took effect. This effectively explains human migration in the ice age, world language and similarities in technology worldwide.
The evidence offered by National Geographic parallels ancient cannibalism to what we see in Native North America (and globally). It makes sense that at dispersion why humankind had kept their basic tribal customs alive--without the cultural sustainability nor political liberty to sustain themselves after European contact. Cannibalism was a custom and ritual that was carried on and practiced by indigenous peoples since the beginnings… hence, the “Curse of Ham.” Marshall Sahlins, an Anthropologist, viewed cannibalism as a variety of symbolism, cosmology, rituals, and traditions. Sigmund Freud looked at cannibalism within the indigenous cultures as an underlying mental issue—psychoses. Even serial killers have been known all throughout time have committed acts of cannibalism. I'm not saying this was the case, but it certainly represents something to take into consideration as a cultural practice.
The idea of the Portuguese in North Africa in the early 15th century having cannibalistic tendencies makes sense. Consider the technological example of human civilization and human capital, in whole, there was no advancement of “civilization” until after the printing press was invented by Gutenberg. Europe was still shut into Medieval living. It was still the Dark Ages, with pagan tendencies. I use the word “pagan” to describe non-Christian ritualistic practices.
It was mentioned that the “remnants of cannibalistic rituals could also be said to be found in explicit references, such as the [Catholic] Eucharist (in which worshipers consume ritual substitutes of the body and blood of Christ). Ironically, the early [Catholics] were called cannibals by the Romans because of the Eucharist.”
This explains the blending of Roman Catholic customs and traditions (which do not traditionally exist within Protestant Christian sects), as well as the mixing of tribal spirituality and customs in the Dark Ages. Thus, the Old-World Portuguese carried their blended Catholic and old ritualistic tribal customs into North Africa—engaging in their old pagan practices of feasting on human beings.
So, it happened also that the Taino conquest of the Siboney tribe (just before Columbus first landed) was executed in utter completion. Columbus wrote that he had met one Siboney survivor who communicated that the Taino were relentless, violent, taboo, and cannibalistic. An invasion by the Taino, statistically, would have been the complete genocide of one culture. This annihilation of a people group matches or even exceeds the largest estimates of destruction by European diseases and exposure.
It’s a fair say that in the pre-Columbian world, wars, slavery, and complete annihilation may not have been uncommon after all. I mean, “one could legitimately argue that for many Amerindian people the expansion of the Huari, Aztec, and Inka empires was equally cataclysmic.” Especially in comparison to what followed after European contact. In this, the idea that Christopher and his European counterparts brought the idea of war and violence to a civilization (or world) that was previously untouched and unblemished is historically bankrupt.
There has been scientific evidence, as suggested earlier, that makes cannibalism very widespread and indeed an ancient tribal global human practice. This would make sense considering the religious and sociopolitical foundations at that time. It was part of the animistic tribal lifestyle that was inherited by the first generation of those original peoples dispersed at the Tower of Babel.
Daniel L. Smith
1. Braude, Benjamin. "The Sons of Noah and the Construction of Ethnic and Geographical Identities in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods." The William and Mary Quarterly 54, no. 1 (1997), 103. doi:10.2307/2953314.
2. Dr. Leston, Stephen, and Christopher D. Hudson. "From Creation to the Tower of Babel | The Age of Noah." In The Bible in World History: How History and Scripture Intersect, 31. Uhrichsville: Barbour Pub, 2011.
3. Ibid. p. 32.
4. "DNA and Native Americans." Book of Mormon Evidence. Last modified October 16, 2019. https://bookofmormonevidence.org/dna-and-native-americans/.
5. Harris, Marvin. "‘Cannibals and Kings’: An Exchange." The New York Review of Books. Last modified November 21, 2015. https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1979/06/28/cannibals-and-kings-an-exchange/.
6. Freud, Sigmund. "Totem and Taboo; Resemblances Between the Psychic Lives of Savages and Neurotics." Internet Archive. Accessed December 14, 2020. https://archive.org/stream/totemtabooresemb00freu.
7. Allina, Eric. "The Zimba, the Portuguese, and Other Cannibals in Late Sixteenth-century Southeast Africa." Journal of Southern African Studies 37, no. 2 (2011), 211-227. doi:10.1080/03057070.2011.579433.
8. Morison, Samuel E. Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus, 464. Morison Press, 2008.
9. Taylor, Alan. American Colonies, 38. London: Penguin, 2002. (Statistical Breakdown)
10. Santos-Granero, Fernando. Vital Enemies: Slavery, Predation, and the Amerindian Political Economy of Life, 6-7. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010.
11. Helmenstine, Ph.D, Anne M. "What You Need to Know About Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy." ThoughtCo. Accessed December 14, 2020. https://www.thoughtco.com/mad-cow-disease-overview-602185.
12. Genesis 6:5 & 6:6, The Holy Bible.