Displacing Indigenous Peoples
Question 1: Comment on any points of difference between the native peoples of South and North America.
Answer: The native people of South America practiced extensive agriculture but those of the North America did not produce a surplus. As a result, kingdoms and empires developed in South America which was not the case with North America.
Question 2: Other than the use of English, what other features of English economic and social life do you notice in nineteenth-century USA?
Answer: Following features of English economic and social life can be noticed in the nineteenth century USA:
- Extensive farming
- Growth of cities
Question 3: What did the ‘frontier’ mean to the Americans?
Answer: When the Americans began to settle in North America, the frontier was fluid for them. They kept on clearing land and moving further west in order to make way for more economic activities. This trend continued till the 1890s. Once the continental expansion was complete, the frontier became a fixed one.
Question 4: Why was the history of the Australian native peoples left out of history books?
Answer: The history of Australia was written from the European perspective. For the Europeans, it began from the time of Captain Cook’s discovery. The government considered the land in Australia belonged to nobody and hence was free for takeover by the Europeans. The settlers from Europe considered it ‘free for all’ to grab the land. The mere existence of natives was ignored. Hence, native peoples were left out of history books in Australia.
Question 5: How satisfactory is a museum gallery display in explaining the culture of a people? Give examples from your own experience of a museum.
Answer: A display in a museum can be highly helpful in understanding the culture of a people. Let us take the example of the National Museum in New Delhi, to understand this. In this Museum, there is a section on the Harrapan Civilization. Many artefacts are on display; along with some skeletal remains. The terracotta toys help us understand their way of life. The seals tell us about the well developed trade system in the ancient civilization. The bust of man tells about the artistic capabilities of people of Harrappa.
Question 6: Imagine an encounter in California in about 1880 between four people: a former African slave, a Chinese labourer, a German who had come out in the Gold Rush, and a native of the Hopi tribe, and narrate their conversation.
Answer: Former African Slave: Thanks god that times have changed for better. Working in plantations was really tough. I was always put in chains, even while working.
Chinese Laborer: See the great job we have accomplished. This country got the great rail network because of our toil yet we do not get the respect we deserve.
German: I thought of dying when I had to flee my native country. But this land gave me a new life, a life full of prosperity and happiness.
Hopi: My father says that his grandfather lived a blissful life. There were lush green forests all around with colorful birds and butterflies fluttering all over. Nature gave us everything we wanted. But everything has changed now. The ugly farmland has replaced the beautiful forests.