Edited by Léo-Paul Dana and Robert B. Anderson
Chapter 24: Introduction to the Americas
Robert B. Anderson This part on the Americas contains chapters covering the region from the far north to South America, including Mexico, Panama, Peru and Bolivia. Aboriginal and European views about the land and resources diﬀered prior to the emergence of the capitalist economy. However, these diﬀerences were not a source of conﬂict during the fur trade era; the views could and did coexist. With the simultaneous decline of the fur trade and the rise of capitalism, this peaceful coexistence came to an end. Under capitalism, land and its resources became inputs of production: inputs that had to be owned by individuals before they could be used. This view was (and still is) in stark contrast to the traditional view of land as a place to live and the source of life. This history, and the contrasting worldviews that are central to it, cannot be ignored when one looks to Indigenous enterprise now and in the future in North America and beyond. The ﬁrst of the following chapters is ‘People of the river: the subsistence economy of the Han, Athabaskan people of the Upper Yukon River’, by William E. Simeone. The author describes the experience of the Han in Alaska during the inﬂux of gold seekers during the Klondike gold rush of 1898 and how the Han survived and adapted in spite of the devastation wrought on them by the sudden boom and just as sudden bust of the gold rush. Simeone pays particular attention to...
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