I remember being taught in elementary school about inventors such as Thomas Edison, Sir Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, etc. You ever wonder why we were mostly taught about White European descendant inventors in elementary school? Surely there were inventors from other ethnicities that we could have learned about. In my later years of life, I realized there were actually lots of inventors from various ethnicities and even Native inventors.
I was at the Arizona Indian Gaming Association meeting a few years back hosted by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. A councilman from the tribe stood up and greeted the crowd in a room named after Wassaja, Carlos Montezuma, one of the first American Indians with a medical doctorate. He went on to share the story about how Carlos Montezuma developed a mixture of vaseline and menthol to treat chest coughs. It was later called Vicks vapor rub. I never knew that all those years as a kid, my Mom was rubbing medicine created by a Native on me. Natives have been inventing things for years and I began to think more about Native inventions.
Around the same time of the Gaming meeting, I was listening to a lecture from a Native scholar. They were talking about assimilation etc., but the lecturer was making a point about traditional Native marriages and went on to say that it was acceptable (in some tribes) for older Native women to marry young wild Native men. Because it was believed that the older woman would tame the young wild man. I looked at my friend, looked back at the professor, looked back at my friend, looked back at the professor, and looked back at my friend a final time and said, “Dang, Natives invented Cougars!”
So, for all the single older Native ladies that want to go back to traditional ways, it’s acceptable to marry a younger wild Native man. And for all the educators out there, it’s time to think about inventors from other ethnicities who contributed equally as much as White inventors.