This weekend I attended a meeting of the recognized Native American tribes of Virginia (the Mattaponi, Rapphannock, Monacan, Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, and Pamunkey Nations) and saw a giant. This man was at least 7’ tall and had to weight at least 350 pounds. He was also in full paint and tribal costume and carrying a very nasty looking stone war implement. Which all got me to thinking…
I would have made a lousy pioneer. Think about if for a second - Here you are in England, minding your own business, wishing for a better life, when you hear that a ship is setting sail to the New World (“There’s GOLD in the streets! Wine flows from the ground! Come one, come all to the New World!”). “What the hell,” you think. “Count me in.” So you and several hundred of your closests friends get on a leaky boat with limited provisions and endure weeks and weeks and weeks at sea with spoiled food, everyone vomiting from seasickness, cramped quarters, and a generally hellacious situation.
“Land ho!” Great, we’re here in the New World. Let me off this boat! Your intrepid leader lands you in a swamp (the original Jamestown settlement is in the middle of the James River at present), malaria sets in pretty quickly, there is no gold in the streets (there are no streets - you have to cut down trees to make streets), there is no gold, period. There are mosquitoes and more mosquitoes, there is the heat and humidity of Tidewater, VA, and every time you venture out of this tumbledown fort that you’ve built there’s a giant in war paint waiting to bash your skull with a war club. Oh, yeah, and another thing. Pocahontas looks nothing like that svelte, sexy thing you’ve dreamed of. The native women, almost without exception, are all about 4 feet tall and as wide (still holds true today).
Put me back on the boat, I want to go home.
Had it been up to me, we’d still be Europeans.