‘Indigenous Studies’ lecturer denies historical brutality of Native American tribes, blames ‘white people’

Simon Moya-Smith is a lecturer at University of Colorado Denver in ‘Indigenous Studies’ and ‘American Indian Cultural Images.’

The idea of the ‘noble savage’ was coined by radical French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rosseau and popularized by Karl Marx.

Journalist and lecturer at the University of Colorado Denver (UCD) Simon Moya-Smith made the case on Twitter that Western colonization is to blame for jails, homelessness, and laws against abortion and homosexuality in the Americas.

Moya-Smith, who has both Mexican and Native American heritage, is an alumnus of UCD’s ethnic studies program and has taught courses in “Indigenous Studies” and “American Indian Cultural Images.”

Before white people came to this land,” Moya-Smith tweeted on Friday, “there were no jails, no homelessness, no laws against homosexuality or abortion. For thousands of years, Indigenous peoples emphasized health, housing, freedom to love who you love and the fact that we need Mother Earth. She doesn’t need us.”

The reactions to Moya-Smith’s tweets have sparked interesting debate.

TJ Moe, a contributor to “Fearless with Jason Whitlock,” replied by noting that, although Native Americans have a list of accomplishments, they also engaged in brutality against each other prior to colonization. “To come up with this pre-white American utopia, you would have had to purposely avoided any legitimate book for the entirety of your life,” says Moe.

Billy Gribbin, Communications Director for Congressman Rich McCormick, posted an image of ancient Aztec ritual sacrifices. Although scholars suggest that Spanish colonizers may have inflated the number of sacrifice and cannibal victims, historical evidence seems to contradict Moya-Smith’s thesis.

Moya-Smith’s depiction of Native Americans as harmonious both with nature and among themselves is not new.

French Enlightenment philosopher Jean-Jacques Rosseau was one of the first to suggest that humans outside of civilized society were “free from sin, appetite, or the concept of right and wrong,” says historian Helen Gardner. This “noble savage” argument was later advanced by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and resurfaced again in the 1970s.

In response to one of his critics on Twitter who brought up the issue of scalping, Moya-Smith defended his position by contending, “white men scalped Natives after a massacre & took them as trophies back to Europe. White, balding men had little to nothing to scalp. But Natives presumed that’s how white men celebrated a victory. So Natives scalped them back to send a message.”

Some Twitter users have suggested that Moya-Smith must be a parody account because of the boldness of his statements, which he has vehemently denied.

Moya-Smith said to his detractors on the social media platform, “I’ll debate any of you in public. Send the invite.”

Attempts were made to directly contact Simon Moya-Smith with request for comment. UCD has not yet responded to Campus Reform’s request for comment.

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