The Americas That Might Have Been

Judaism, Christianity and Islam – or as I like to call them ‘The Trifecta of Patriarchy”, ‘The Triple Threat’, ‘The Penis Trilogy’, and ‘The Trinity of Trouble”.

I’ve been thinking about this rhetoric of a “New World” Pope and wondering what people really mean when they say “New World”. It certainly wasn’t new to the people who have lived here for thousands of years.  We use the term ‘Old World’ but the ideas embodied in the dogmas of these three religions are anything but ‘old’. One of the ways that society controls populations is through labeling. Another is through religion.

I would like to present to you the theory that “Old World” and “New World” are concepts not places. Further, they are concepts based on social structure and gender roles.


In many cultures that preceded these three religions, matrilineal social systems were the norm. Example cultures or societies include the Cherokee, Choctaw, Gitksan, Haida, Hopi, Iroquois, Lenape, Navajo, and Tlingit of North America; the Minangkabau people of West Sumatra, Indonesia and Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia; the Nairs of Kerala and the Bunts of Karnataka in south India; the KhasiJaintia and Garo of Meghalaya in northeast India; the Mosuo of China; the Basques of Spain and France; the Akan including the Ashanti of west Africa; the Tuaregs of west and north Africa; and the Serer of Senegal, the Gambia and Mauritania. The ones in bold still preserve this social system.

With this idea in mind we would label most of Europe and the Middle East as the New World and large swaths of the America’s, Africa, India and the Pacific as Old World. Now think of the interactions where you have a culture like the Basques (an Old World Culture) or like people indigenous to the Pacific Northwest (which I would include myself in) who were born and raised in social structures that were matrilineal in function but had patrimonial systems overshadowing some aspect of their lives. These are small pockets of this conflict, one very ancient, the other very modern, but they describe a dynamic that plays out all over the world.

Yesterday we were told that a “New World Pope” had been elected. I would argue that is correct and that they have all been “New World Popes”. What implications does this have for the future of the Americas? What implications does it have for the world? Think about this – someone else did:

The Americas That Might Have Been: Native American Social Systems Through Time


This work answers the hypothetical question: What would the Americas be like today—politically, economically, culturally—if Columbus and the Europeans had never found them, and how would American peoples interact with the world’s other societies? It assumes that Columbus did not embark from Spain in 1492 and that no Europeans found or settled the New World afterward, leaving the peoples of the two American continents free to follow the natural course of their Native lives.

The Americas That Might Have Beenis a professional but layman-accessible, fact-based, nonfiction account of the major Native American political states that were thriving in the New World in 1492. Granberry considers a contemporary New World in which the glories of Aztec Mexico, Maya Middle America, and Inca Peru survived intact. He imagines the roles that the Iroquois Confederacy of the American Northeast, the powerful city-states along the Mississippi River in the Midwest and Southeast, the Navajo Nation and the Pueblo culture of the Southwest, the Eskimo Nation in the Far North, and the Ta&iactue;no/Arawak chiefdoms of the Caribbean would play in American and world politics in the 21st Century.

Following a critical examination of the data using empirical archaeology, linguistics, and ethnohistory, Granberry presents a reasoned and compelling discussion of native cultures and the paths they would have logically taken over the past five centuries. He reveals the spectacular futures these brilliant pre-Columbian societies might have had, if not for one epochal meeting that set off a chain of events so overwhelming to them that the course of human history was forever changed.


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