We visited the Tusayan ruins today. The lie to the east of the main scenic portion of the Grand Canyon, and are said to have been inhabited by a group of Indians for 25-30 years back around 1065. The ruins consist of a couple of layers of the local rock, with some sort of mortar holding them together. It’s not clear whether these layers and/or the mortar are original, nor is it clear what happened to the rest of the rock (and mortar) that would have been needed for the walls. However, the visitors’ center shows a wonderful artist’s rendering of what the place looked like “back then.” Seeing as how the buildings are gone and so are the inhabitants, you have to wonder how they can be so certain.
At any rate, also in the visitors’ center was a mendacious billboard comparing the lives of these Indians with those of the average Anglo-Saxon in England at the time of the Norman Invasion of 1066. Talk about politically correct! The English had metal — at least, the upper class did — but they were individualistic, unlike the cooperative Indians. The English had boats, but the Indians hardly needed those (apparently, anthropologists have established that Indians would have invented and developed fine sailing craft if only they’d wanted to). In England, craftsmen made the nobility fine tapestries and cloths, but the Indians wove cloth for themselves so everyone had it. The billboard does acknowledge that the English had a written language, while the Sinagua did not.
Aside from the slanted presentation of the basic information, you have wonder about the mindset of someone who would wax so lyrically about a band of persons who ran its affairs so poorly that it did not survive to the present day, while denigrating the very civilization that enables them the luxury of pondering a little-known and perhaps unimportant tribe of Indians. What is it about that mindset that does not understand that there was something about the civilization in England at the time that enabled it to carry forward and improve upon the precepts introduced by the Greeks, and pass it along to those of us in the present day with all the splendid and almost magical technologies and conveniences that come with it.
You see this when you visit Hawaii, too, this bizarre reverence for stone age peoples and culture, alongside a distain for Western Civilization and culture. For that matter, you probably find this at most colleges and universities here in the United States, which is why I normally stay well clear of such institutions to the extent that it is possible to do so.