"For as long as the world shall endure, the honor and the glory of Mexico-Tenochtitlan must never be forgotten."

~ Chimalpahin Quauhtlehuanitzin

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Legend of the Piasa Bird and a rant on pseudo-historical "theories"

Have you ever heard a pseudo-historical 'theory'? This can be like someone claiming the Olmecs were black just because those Olmec heads supposedly had African looking features. Yeah right xD I don't think so. Other hilarious pseudohistory includes claiming that various ancient civilizations were descended from aliens or saying that everything that happened in the Bible is fact.

All 17 of the colossal Olmec stone heads found have chubby cheeks and flat noses. Many Mexican people still have those features today.
Now, aside from being laughable because they aren't based on any evidence, most pseudo historical statements are actually really racist and people who promote them don't realize the damage they are doing. By saying that the Olmecs were black you're offending Mexicans and other indigenous people by taking away a part of their heritage. You're also making it seem as if Africans don't have plenty of other things they should be proud of. The same is true when you insult an ancient civilization by saying it had something to do with aliens. And people who think everything that happened in the Bible is fact? At least consider that the Bible has been modified and translated for hundreds of years. There's no way everything in it is even what was originally intended to be there.

Oh yeah and lets not get started about what race the ancient Egyptians were. Why does everyone have to say they were either all white or all black? Can't we just accept that Kemet was mixed?

So why did I start off my post with ranting about pseudohistory? Well because I've noticed that Native Americans never really get anything out of pseudohistory. There are plenty of eurocentrics and afrocentric theories, but no indigenous-centric theories. I hate ALL pseudohistory of course, but I suppose they are good for getting a good laugh out of and writing fanfiction and alternate history on. The danger only comes when people actually start believing in the interesting fantasies as truth. So if we're going to say that pseudohistory is valuable because it allows us to be creative, then I suppose we should add some indigenous-centric "theories" to the pile. Yay!

I've discussed this with a really good indigenous internet friend of mine, and she seemed to approve of the idea. So lets do this!

So lets say that the Mexica/Aztec god Quetzalcoatl was responsible for introducing civilization to the Old World. This is why some of the art and mythology of the Middle East totally resembles the Piasa bird:

I mean this obviously looks like a griffin or a sphynx or a dragon or something, right? Ugh the only reason why no one is believing this theory now is because I'm saying Native Americans were the original people who came up with this. If I reversed it, people would be more okay with it. 

All jokes aside, here is the legit myth behind the Piasa Bird... 

Just because the religion/spirituality of indigenous people was more scientific, doesn't mean they didn't have some cool mythology :D This one comes from the Illini people from the upper Mississipi River valley.

Alright so the Piasa bird was this huge scary creature with deer antlers, wings, fish scales and eagle talons that was said to have come from over the eastern sea (omg this actually helps support the pseudohistorical theory I came up with). Its name means "bird that devours men" in the Miami-Illinois language. It was said to have terrorized and sp00ked everyone in the early days of the Illini confederation until a brave archer named Terahionawaka and the village chief, Ouatoga, figured out how to defeat it. Ouatoga told Terahionawaka that the underside of the dragon-bird thingy's body was completely unprotected by its scales. So Terahionawaka fired arrows dipped in poison at the birb and then the birb died R.I.P. 

Our sources for this myth

Murals were painted of this creature on limestone cliffsides above the Mississipi river. These no longer survive today thanks to the Mississipi Lime Company from the 1870s (that really really sucks ugh because the old mural was really epic and was older than 900 CE and was created possibly by the Cahokian civilization). However, a replica mural has been painted in Alton, Illinois based on descriptions of the original murals which is open as a tourist attraction today. The first European to see the original mural was the French explorer Jacques Marquette in 1673, who came up with the pseudohistorical theory that Native Americans could never have been the ones who painted it because apparently the painting was soooo good that even French artists would find it difficult or something like that. In 1836, the professor John Russell was able to find out more about the Piasa bird, including the story behind it that local indigenous people told. What really sucks is that some folklorists believe John Russell made everything up. So who knows?

By the way, here is an AMAZING DeviantArt drawing by LittleFireDragon that shows how the dragon is the most universal mythological creature: http://fav.me/d47yd2r make sure you read the description.

It's so beautiful *_* 

Have a gr8 day!~ 

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