Aboriginal Not Originals

Aboriginal Not Originals
Compiled by Aummanuel Da'Muur Bey

We are not "Indians," "[N]atives," or "[A]boriginal." We are, always have been and always will be "Moors!" In fact, the word in its earliest inception meant "true man" or "original man," prior to its latter day definitions like "westerners" and "dark-skinned." In later posts the etymological evolution of this word will be drawn out, but in this particular segment our examination will focus upon fictitious terms like "Indigenous" or "First Peoples," "Aboriginal," and "Native" are being ascribed in opposition to the more proper designation "Moor."

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There are a huge variety of terms used to describe the peoples most commonly called “Native” or “Aboriginal.” The use of the word “Indian” is considered offensive by many so-called First Nations. The word “Aboriginal” was a replacement for “Indian” and “Native” while “Indigenous” has become the most accepted word. All of them are problematic; none are entirely satisfactory.

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Lets begin by examining the term ‘indigenous’ which derives from the late Latin ‘indigenus’ and ‘indigena’ (native) and from the Old Latin ‘indu’ that is derived from the archaic ‘endo’ (a cognate of the Greek ‘endo’), meaning ‘in, within’ and the Latin ‘gignere’ meaning ‘to beget’, from the root ‘gene’ meaning ‘to produce, give birth, beget.’

We are told that ‘Indigena’ in Latin means ‘native’ which was used of plants, animals, peoples who come from a particular region. Its first known use was in 1640s when it was applied to plants and cultures in the New World. The general sense of the term applied to that produced, growing, living, or occurring naturally in a particular region or environment; also sometimes used as a synonym for ‘native,’ ‘innate,’ ‘aborigine,’ ‘endemic,’ and ‘inborn.’ It is of note that the word ‘indigenous’ was first used officially by the United Nations in 2002 in its political declaration of the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

According to The American Heritage Dictionary, "Indigenous specifies that something or someone is native rather than coming or being brought in from elsewhere." The term “indigenous peoples” is used today to describe a group which has had ultimate control of their lands taken by later arrivals; they are subject to the domination of others.

The term "indigenous" has a negative connotation and is outdated. The term “Indigenous” may feel stigmatizing to some, since it can carry implications of negative descriptors like “primitive” or “uncivilized.” Most interestingly enough the term “Indigenous” as an identifier signifies a very broad meaning. It offer no specificity to whom is being called indigenous as it is an umbrella term consolidating various groups which is very problematic.

For instance, senior researcher and professor Tábita Hünemeier and study co-lead researcher and doctoral student Marcos Araújo Castro e Silva, both of whom are in the Department of Genetics and Evolutionary Biology at the University of São Paulo in Brazil, have stated according to studies the first Americans had "excess" genetic similarity with Indigenous peoples from Australia, Melanesia, New Guinea and the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean. In spite of these research studies, a more recent wave of Americans who left Beringia about 15,000 years ago are still being designated as "indigenous" or "native."

The word ‘Aborigine’ falls also in the same family of terms but still is often favored to be utilized by various tribal groups and pseudo-nations. In fact the catalyst that truly spearheaded the adoption of the word "Aboriginal" can be traced to President Obama who announced that the United States would "lend its support" to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
It is worth noting, however, that ‘Indigenous,’ like ‘Aboriginal’ or even ‘Indian,’ is not itself an ‘Indigenous’ term in the sense of deriving from an Indigenous traditional practice or language. And though it is often thought to refer to people who have some form of primary or first claim to a territory, this is an unsubstantiated claim.

The term "Aboriginal" was introduced in the 1982 Canadian Constitution by the federal government as an ‘umbrella’ term to include "First Nations," "Inuit" and "Métis." It should be noted that the word "Aboriginal" is compromised of the prefix “ab” which is Latin for “away from” or “not.” Ironically, many have concluded that "Aboriginal" can be interpreted to mean “not original.”

Let's further look at the etymology to gain a deeper understanding of the word and its meaning. "Aboriginal" is defined as: "mid 17th century: from Latin aborigines ‘original inhabitants’ (see aborigine) + -al."

Further etymology states: "1660s, "first, earliest, existing from the beginning," especially in reference to inhabitants of lands colonized by Europeans, from aborigines (see aborigine) + -al (1). The specific Australian sense is attested from 1820. The noun meaning "an original inhabitant, an autochthon" is attested from 1760. Related: Aboriginally; aboriginality (1848); aboriginalism (1859)."

Unbeknownst to many advocates of the word "Aboriginal," its etymological traces contradict its historical documentation. Since the 1660's is the earliest attestation for Aboriginal according to etymology, we will make reference to far older sources that long predate its etymology in order to highlight the inconsistencies and inaccuracies associated to this word.

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The most generally accepted etymology of the Latin word aborigines is that it derives from 'ab origine,' according to which they were the original inhabitants of the country, although Roman historian Cato the Elder regarded them as "Hellenic immigrants," not as a native Italian people. Other etymological explanations suggested that "aborigines," meant "tree-born," and some also thought the word "aboriginal" should be "aberrigines," meaning "nomads". In fact the history of the "Aboriginals" depicts them as invaders and usurpers.

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The "Aborigines" in Roman mythology are said to be the oldest inhabitants of central Italy whom are connected in legendary history with Aeneas, Latinus and Evander. But Roman accounts tell us that the "Aborigines" descended from their mountain home near Reate (an ancient Sabine town) upon Latium, where they then expelled the Sicels and subsequently settled down as "Latini" under a King Latinus.

Some have thought the "Aborigines" to possibly be descendants of the Pelasgians, the original inhabitants of Greece and surrounding regions, but they were more precisely, descendants of the Oenotrians, a tribe descended from Pelasgus by Oenotrus, son of Lycaon, primeval king of Arcadia.

We are told that the "Aborigines" were driven from their mountain home by the Sabines and settled on the river Anio. The Sicels, who inhabited Latium at the time, gave way to the "Aborigines," and a portion of them emigrated to Sicily, providing the origin for the island's name. The emigration of the Sicels to Sicily is said to have taken place in either 1264 BC or 1035 BC (Thucydides).

The remaining Siculians joined with the "Aborigines" eventually becoming the people known as. Prisci Latini" (meaning 'old Latins'), that is "Prisci et Latini," or simply "Latini." The "Aborigines" did not become "Latini" until the reign of their king, Latinus, from whom the Romans attributed their name. This was after the arrival of the Trojans with Aeneas in the aftermath of the Trojan War.

Many references can be sourced to verify the neglected truth regarding the term "Aboriginal." In the work entitled "Vergil and Dionysius" by Jerzy Linderski we find the following: "The Rome of Dionysius was ultimately a Greek city; even the Aborigines came from Greece. This entailed various consequences: first of all Dionysius had to reject the theory of autochthony (and the etymology ab origine) propounded (so the communis opinio) by the greatest lumen of Roman antiquarian science, by Varro in his various works.”

Jerzy Linderski continues: “But invoking and quoting Cato, the commentators also edited him. For Cato, if we are to believe Dionysius (1.1.11), saw in the Aborigines not an autochthonous population but, surprisingly, arrivals from Greece, and this view was shared also by another early annalist, C. Sempronius Tuditanus. They dated the arrival of the Aborigines to a time before the Trojan War, and led them to Italy from Achaia; Dionysius devoted a lengthy excursus to the refinement of this theory ultimately opting for the Aborigines being a colony of the Arcadians, and connecting their migration with the story of Oenotrus.”

It should be made evident that perhaps it was in Italy that they changed from Aberrigines to Aborigines. Jerzy Linderski also tells that: “Dionysius writes that some authorities described the Aborigines as wanderers and vagabonds, and suitably called them Aberrigines (1.10.2).”

Nathaniel Hooke in his work "The Roman History: From the Building of Rome to the Ruin of the ..., Volume 1" is loaded with many useful references concerning the history of the "Aboriginal."

The author echoes similar thoughts regarding them as foreign invaders and national descent. We are told: "That the “Aborigines” were from Arcadia, as Varro also believed, Sir Walter Raleigh seems to think probable. This name of Aborigines, says he, (to omit other significations that are strained) imports as much as original or native of the place which they possessed; which title the Arcadians are known in a vaunting manner to have always usurped, fetching their antiquity from beyond the moon."

Nathaniel Hooke relays to us that: "Dionysus thinks that these Arcadians were the same with the Aborigines and the first Greeks who came into Italy, and that Italus, one of the descendants of notrus, and who made extensive conquests in this country, gave it the name which to this day it retains."

Nathaniel Hooke continues the thought, stating: "But from whatever country the Aborigines came, they were in process of time obliged to maintain long wars against the Siculi, (the first inhabitants of Italy) till at length having received a considerable reinforcement by the arrival of a colony of Pelalgi from Thessaly, they drove out their enemies, and seized upon their towns; after which they granted a large extent of land to the Pelasĝi, and borrowed from them many of the customs of Greece."

Perhaps most importantly, Nathaniel Hooke writes that: "Some Historians held that the Aborigines to be natives of Italy, who had that name given to them because they had been there ‘ab origine’ (from the beginning), and did not derive their origin from any other nation. Others pretend that the Aborigines were vagabonds and vagrants, who coming from different countries, met accidentally in Italy, and there lived by rapine; for which reason the same writers call them “Aberrigines,” that is to say, a wandering people, like those whom the ancients styled “Leleges,” by which was persuaded that the “Aborigines” came from Arcadia, says, that they were called by that name from their living upon mountains, in which the Arcadians much delighted; and if so, it must be derived from, which imports as much as mountaineers, or natives of the mountains."

Another excellent source for history of the "Aboriginal" is Katherine McDonald's "Italy Before Rome: A Sourcebook," in which she discusses in great detail the Pelasgians, Oinotrians and Aborignes.

Katherine McDonald tells us that: “Greeks and Romans were fascinated by origin stories. Many writers spend a lot of time trying to establish who the first peoples of Italy were, where they came from and when they arrived in Italy. But as soon as we start to read these accounts, we can see there is no consensus whatsoever about the early history of Italy. There are also no contemporary written records of this time, as writing did not arrive in Italy until c. 800 BCE. As a result, the histories of this early period are a mixture of tradition, myth, legend and projection back from the writers own times.”

Katherine McDonald enlightens us to the confusion regarding these "Aborigines" and various ethnic names were used to describe a number of peoples. She writes that: “‘Aborigines,’ as the name suggests, is normally the name given to the autochthonous people of Italy. But even this is sometimes questioned – as we will see, some sources claim that they are actually aberrigines or ‘wanderers.’ ‘Pelasgian’ and ‘Oinotrian’ are sometimes presented as different names for the same group, or names for two parts of the same group. Some accounts say that the Pelasgians migrated to Italy from Greece after the Trojan War; for example, in Homer, ‘Pelasgians’ are associated with Greece, usually Thessaly or Crete. Other writers suggest that the Pelasgians may be autochthonous – that is, they may be native to Italy. Still others (such as Sophocles) connect the Pelasgians to the Etruscans. In general, ‘Pelasgians’ appears to be a term that was used very broadly for various Italian peoples.”

Katherine McDonald provides even greater detail surrounding the mystery of the "Aboriginal" and their nomadic existence before usurping an ethnic name to deceitfully tie themselves to the land. She pens the following:

“Some say that the Aborigines, from whom the Romans sprang, were autochthonous Italians, who appeared from nowhere. (When I say ‘Italy,’ I mean the whole peninsula, bounded by the Ionian Gulf, the Tyrrhenian Sea and, by land, the Alps). And they say that this name was originally given to them because they were the first ancestors of those who came after them, so we might call them the ‘Founding Fathers’ or ‘First Generation.’ But others say that a few homeless people and wanderers came together from many areas, stumbled on each other in that spot and people who say this also alter their name to fit the situation, and call them ‘Aberrigines,’ [from the Latin aberro ‘to roam’], to show that they were wanderers. In fact, according to this explanation, it may be that the Aborigines were exactly the same as the ancient people called the Leleges, for this name has been given to peoples who were homeless and jumbled up and had no particular land that they were able to call their own. And others tell a story that the Aborigines were settlers sent out by the Ligurians, whose land borders that of the Umbrians. For the Ligurians live in much of Italy, and also graze some of Gaul. No one knows which of these two areas is their original homeland, because nothing else is said about them.”

Charles Merivale, D.D. Dean of El in his "General History of Rome - From the Foundation of the City to the Fall of Augustus" is another work filled with many resourceful references in our examination. The author relays the earliest accounts and history concerning the peoples of Rome.

Charles Merivale trlls us that: "The earliest real name in Roman history is that of the Siculi. “The city which holds sway over every land and sea, and is now occupied by the Romans, was first peopled by the Siculi, a barbaric race, sprung from the soil. ' Such is the declaration of Dionysius, the compiler of the most authentic account we possess of Roman Antiquities. Tradition records the foundation by this people of other towns in the neighbourhood of Rome, such as Antemnæ and Tibur, and it is generally supposed, though they have left few traces behind them, that they spread from time to time over the whole of Italy, and were driven by the superior force of the tribes behind them from one end of the peninsula to the other, till they found a final retreat in the island of Sicily. To this island they have given a name which has survived the conquests of the Carthaginians, the Romans, the Arabs, and the Normans, and it is probable that the blood of the Siculi still forms the basis of the national life of the existing population."

Charles Merivale goes on to tell us: "Next to the Siculi came the Ligures, and over them the darkness of antiquity settles with little less obscurity. But whereas the Siculi come before us utterly unconnected with any of the known families of the human race, the Ligures, it would seem, may be affiliated to the Basques, and so far associated with the received ethnology of Europe. It is affirmed, indeed, that a few traces still remain in Italy of the language of its Basque population, in the names of places; nor can the Ligurians be said to have been chased, like the Siculi, out of the peninsula. They seem rather to have yielded to their conquerors, and submitted to be trampled under them; they shrank at last into one corner of the country throughout which they had once prevailed. The Liguria of history is confined to the narrow strip of land between the foot of the Alps and the Mediterranean, within which limits the peculiarities of the national character, strongly marked and distinctly recorded, even yet continue to assert themselves."

Charles Merivale continues with: "It is not impossible that the Ligurians may have left an indication of their early occupation of the site of Rome in the names Suburra, Esquilinus, and Carinæ, all of which, it would seem, may be traced to the vocabulary of the Basque language. Ancient tradition records the existence of a Septimontium, or political combination of seven hills, in a Rome far earlier than the city of accredited history, and the hills to which it refers were not identical with the seven which are classically famous. They embrace only the central portion of the site of the later Rome, the Palatine and the Germalus, which at a later period were confounded together; the Oppius and Cispius, forming a part of the Esquiline; the Fagutal, the Carine, and the Suburra, all of which faced the Palatine across the hollow of the later Forum Romanum. This Septimontium constituted the city of the Ligures, and of this they seem to have been dispossessed by the next succeeding wave of population, to which is given the name of Pelasgian. Here again we seem for a moment to tread upon firmer ground, but again we are doomed to disappointment. Of the Pelasgians we may say thus much, that they were the inhabitants of Greece antecedently to the Hellenes, and were spread far and wide over the face of Southern Europe generally. They retained, no doubt, a considerable portion of the character and language which afterwards became the Greek; and to their influence may be assigned many of the traces, both in language and of mythology, which form so mysterious a link between the Greeks and the Italians. It is to this connection that we may ascribe the legends of Hercules on the soil of Italy; it is from some reminiscence, probably, of Pelasgic tradition that the Romans of a much later age attributed to the Arcadian Evander the foundation of a Grecian city on the Palatine, and that so many other sites of Western Italy were supposed to have been originally colonized from Greece. But with the Pelasgians were connected another people of descent still more mysterious, the so-called Aborigines, who were supposed from their name to have been the most primitive or original inhabitants of the Italian soil; unless, indeed, as some conjectured, their title was itself a misnomer, and they should rather have been called Aberrigines, and regarded as aliens who had wandered into the peninsula at some unknown epoch."

Charles Merivale further details this history, writing that: "It was by the union, however, of the Pelasgians and the Aborigines according to the prevailing tradition, that the Siculi and the Ligures were overthrown, and their power in Italy extinguished. The new possessors signalized themselves by the massive fortifications which they erected, of which some mighty remains may even now be traced at a distance of perhaps thirty centuries; and it is evident that of all conquerors of Italian soil none laid their hands so heavily upon it, and impressed their mark so deeply and durably as these."

Charles Merivale's work renders us a final reference in which we quote: "After the wave of the Pelasgians and the Aborigines had floated away, and tribes of other names, and probably of other blood and descent, had succeeded to their lands and fortresses, three considerable nations, which have been already specified, met together just at this point."

I'll leave with this last reference from the work "Bibliotheca Classica: Or, A Dictionary of All the Principal Names and Terms" by John Lemprière, who says: "a very ancient People of Italy, about whose Original there are four principal Opinions: the first is that of Aurelius Victor who calls them Aborigines, as who should say Aberrigines, i.e. Vagabonds, wherein he disowns that Division made by Berosus of Janigenes and Aborigines, and affirms on the contrary, that these Aborigines were wandering and vagabond Scythians, who came and settled in that part of Italy. Nevertheless, against this first opinion it may be said, that if these Aborigines had been Scythians, they would never have employed the Greeks against the Scythians, but, on the contrary, would have made use of them as safe Auxiliaries to aid them against the Natives of the Country, and against the Greeks, who were lately come thither. Saint Jerom and Denis of Halicarnassus think, that they were call'd Aborigines, as who should say Basque origine, without beginning; or rather as being the first Natives of the Mountains, from these Tuscan and Armenian words, according to the Talmuds; for 'Ab' signifies a 'Father,' or a 'Cavern or hollow place,' and [gine] signifies a 'Race or Posterity,' as who should say, "Men born in Caverns." Some think that Chamasenus, aliàs Cham, the Son of Noah, who was the Saturn of the Egyptians, having gather'd together diverse wandering and vagabond People, conducted them into that part of Italy which at present is call'd Romania, and at that time was call'd Latium. Titus Livius and Dionysius Halicarnasseus assert, that the first Aborigines came from Arcadia into Italy, under the conduct of Oenotrus the Son of Lycam, and that they learn'd the Letters of the Alphabet from Evander, who was then King of it. Genebrard, one very well vers'd in Rabbinical Learning, thinks that the Aborigines were a People driven by Joshua out of the Land of Canaan, who cross'd over the Mediterranean Sea, and came and dwelt in Italy, where they had for King Sabatius or Saturn, who was set over them by Janus, and reign'd there Thirteen Years: They were banish'd beyond the Tyber, on account of the corruption of their Manners: But as to Janus, he settled on this side of the River, upon a Hill which he call'd Janiculum."

It is evident with all the references and traditional accounts that the Aborigines were indeed foreigners and usurpers who only co-opted the identity of being an autochthonous race in order to tie onto the land. We must recall that ancient tradition records the existence of a Septimontium, or seven hills, in Rome far earlier than the city of accredited history, and the hills to which it refers were not identical with the seven which are classically famous. This signifies that Rome was indeed long inhabited by a true autochthonous race which was supplanted by the Aborigines who tool credit for being the earliest inhabitants and founders of Rome.

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