December 09, 2006

The discovery myth

'Discovery myth' credits England, but what about the Indians?Stephen Adkins, chief of the Chickahominy Indian tribe and a history buff, was enjoying a Times-Dispatch article about the town of Smithfield last month.

He was, he said, until he got to this phrase: "The area, discovered by Captain John Smith and other early settlers..."

Adkins smiled yesterday but only slightly, recalling his reaction. "I said, 'man, not again.'"

But it is always thus.

America's Indians, who discovered this land and much of America long before any Europeans arrived, never seem to get credit, either in the history books or in modern accounts.

How do others discover a land if you're already there?

Adkins calls the version we all learn in school "the discovery myth."

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