Here at the tail end of Indigenous People's day, it seems like a good moment to talk about what happened.
European colonists, arriving in a set of continents that had been inhabited for tens of thousands of years, by a set of cultures who used technology in a very different way from them, assumed that the land was not being used efficiently.
The new arrivals had ships that could cross oceans, they had horses, they had firearms, all of this alone would have amounted to the greatest Outside Context Problem in human history. But they were also carrying diseases that the indigenous people had no immunity to.
It could've gone the other way, Europeans could've been devastated by American bugs, but the draw fell in a different direction.
There's decent evidence that indigenous North American cultures had already encountered resource scarcity crisis, and that the survivors of that emergency had adjusted their relationship to the land accordingly.
So we see foreigners, showing up in a garden, that's been cultivated and sustained for millennia, newly emptied by plague, and they assume it's prepared for them by god.
What could possibly go wrong?
Well, these settlers would spend the next several centuries spreading out across this "New World," maximizing the exploitation of every resource in the immediate term, with no plan for the future, and marginalizing anyone with knowledge about how this world actually worked.
And here we find ourselves, hot, angry, scared. We (white North Americans) battling a disease we should understand but refuse to engage with, looking at ecologies and supply chains breaking down.
Welcome to Turtle Island. Happy Indigenous Peoples Day.

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