November 16, 2018
Concepts of Nature in Post vs Pre Colonized America
Throughout human history the values which we share on the concepts of nature have var-
ied depending on the time period and the culture. Modern American and Pre-Colonized America
are both societies that have shared their own thoughts on these notions. While both Modern
America and Pre-Colonized America have different beliefs on the concepts of nature some com-
parisons can be drawn between the two drastically different cultures.
Before being colonized Native Americans saw nature and the Earth around them as sa-
cred. Everything in their lives revolved around nature and because of their belief system Native
Americans believed that nature was a conscious entity that could punish them if they abused it.
They held a deep respect for all creatures and the land around them. One example of this was
animals, animals were seen as equal to humans, and only hunted after gaining permission from
the animals spirit. As a result of nature's importance in their survival a majority of their literature
was centered around nature and the universe around them. In the poem “Remember” by Joy Har-
jo you can see this appreciation through a line from that reads, “remember you are this universe
and this universe is you.”(Harjo, line 21) This line resonates deep within the Native culture. My
interpretation of this is that the universe is a living entity, and because of all the hospitality and
luxury it has provided humanity it should be treated as well as one would treat themself.
Unlike Pre-Colonized Native Culture, Modern Americans do not share the same sacred
principles as their earlier counterparts. In modern times nature is seen as a means to progress
human advancement, our seemingly unending appetite to progress has seen us lose our spiritual
connection with nature. According to the USDA “Since 1600, 90% of the virgin forests that once
covered much of the lower 48 states have been cleared away.” The deforestation of these virgin
forests, a forest that has attained great age without significant disturbance, is alarming and the
American public has become desensitized to the destruction of natural undisturbed land, deeming...