Life as a Native in the 16th Century
Native Americans also referred to as Aboriginal Americans or the Amerindians are the original inhabitants of America who lived within the province that is currently enclosed by the continental US in areas such as the present Hawaii State and Alaska. They include a huge number of clans of people and ethnic groups in isolated states in the US, some of which continue to endure as political communities. Between the fifteenth and the nineteenth century, Native Americans experienced much dislocations and sicknesses that were brought about by European civilization (Beebe, 5-7).
Nevertheless, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, groups of Native Americans continued to have an enduring impact on the economy of America and on the lives of the native people. These communities have continued to shape American governments in the management of services such as biological conservation, firefighting and in the implementation of legal affairs. Currently, many Native American clans have created court structures which adjudicate on issues that are associated with native rules. Today, groups of Native Americans in the US continue to triumph in legal efforts to guarantee the recognition of rights and privileges for their independence and access to America’s natural resources.
Even though the situation in the fifteenth century Iberia were responsible for Christopher Columbus’s mission in America, other problems such as religious intolerance, warfare and financial strain that were very rampant across Europe also played a huge role for his expedition. These problems persisted in the sixteenth century, which was marked with very unprecedented levels of inflation. The emergence of Protestantism during this period brought about religious disparities and the development of military conflicts which impacted negatively on free trade. This situation led to a heavily depleted population, but later on, the population recuperated generating excess labor and disheartening wages. In addition, a collective expulsion of Protestants and Jews greatly hindered the enhancement of local and regional economies.
When Europeans began to arrive in America in the sixteenth century, they met with the friendly Native Americans who were marveled to see the white-complexioned people. However, after a short time, conflicts started to emerge since the Europeans started being oblivious to the spirit of nature and rhythms of their new world. The Europeans did not only develop a desire to conquer the new world so as to acquire its material resources, but they also came along with illnesses and diseases that hit the Native Americans. The Europeans cultural superciliousness and their materialistic nature made the Native Americans to become repellent. Conflicts emerged between the Native Americans and the Europeans which later on led to Indian Wars in which the Indian tribes were disadvantaged due to their low numbers, their nomadic way of life, lack of more sophisticated weapons and their inadequate will to cooperate against the Europeans (Beebe, 24-57).
In the sixteenth century, before the arrival of the Europeans in America, life as a Native American in the old West was very enjoyable, and the Native Americans had a marvelous kind of strength and power that was simply unbelievable. One of the very first sixteenth-century European explorers to set foot on what is now known as the Southwest and Texas was Cabeza de Vaca, who lived with the Native Americans for approximately eight years. One of the things that amazed him was seeing a Native American running after a buffalo and killing it using a knife. He observed that these Indians were very difficult people to kill and that they were very resilient.
The life of a Native American man in the sixteenth century was characterized by happiness and generosity prior to the arrival of the Europeans. They also had an incredible physical dexterity. The Native Americans in the sixteenth century used to go naked during the sunny days. Surprisingly, they would go out very early in the morning to take a bath even during the winter periods. In fact, they used to break the ice with their own bodies.
Indeed, it might sound as if these people were superhuman, but in reality, they developed a lot of strength and power by being in perfect balance with their natural environment. These people derived their native fitness from eating high protein and fat diets. The Native Americans were hunters and gatherers who based their daily diet on topographical and climatic conditions. Nevertheless, this diet was primarily simple: vegetables and animals which they reaped and caught.
Contrary to the modern emphasis on low fat and fat -free diets, the diet of the sixteenth century Native Americans was exceptionally high in fat, and these fats were mostly the presently much criticized saturated fats. They particularly liked killing old fat animals which had huge layers of fat on their backs. During that time, saturated fat was very valuable because it could be preserved and stored for future consumption with smoked or dried lean meat. When big animals became scarce such that the only source of fresh meat remained to be small-bodied animals with very little body fat like rabbits and squirrels, these Native Americans developed a condition referred to as fat-hunger or rabbit starvation. Some of the symptoms of this condition included imprecise discomfort, weariness and headaches and they could not be satisfied no matter how much they ate (Beebe, 96-120).
In addition to eating meat, Native Americans also ate grains, fruits and wild berries. They used to grind up small bones which they added to their fat and meat. They never trimmed excess fats as is the case today. The result of this unique diet is that the Native Americans were very powerful and healthy people. Even today, Native Americans who live like their forefathers possess similar characteristics. For instance, there is almost an absolute absence of malignant diseases and tooth decay amongst the present-day primitive Indians and Eskimos.
In spite of all the benefits that the sixteenth century Native Americans enjoyed because of their diet, a problem started emerging when they started submitting to modern trends and the contemporary American diet. For instance, they started facing severe medical problems such as obesity, sedentary and diabetes. They also suffered from many other new ailments such that a person could successfully resist one disease and die from another one. Some people could also suffer from multiple simultaneous infections such as typhus and smallpox. Others could suffer from several diseases in close succession. Therefore, a scenario emerged whereby there were very high mortality rates due to the integration of known and unknown diseases such as smallpox and syphilis (Beebe, 176-178).
In conclusion, it is quite clear that the Native Americans lived a healthier life than the contemporary people. Even though we cannot go out to hunt and gather like the ancient Native Americans, we need to explore the available alternatives in our local butchers, grocery stores and markets. Based on the history of the ancient Native Americans and other healthy native cultures all over the world, people should learn to use raw and unprocessed milk from cattle that are fed with grass, they should learn to eat free-range meat, consume more fats like butter, lard or tallow, eat lots of fresh fruits and wild seafood, eat organic foods as opposed to inorganic ones, eat organ meat like liver like once a week and cut out on the consumption of processed foods such as sugar, cereals and white flour. Apart from this, people should try to participate in outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, swimming and climbing so as to remain healthy.