Masters of Health Magazine May 2019 | Page 130

Even though many insist on seeing the ancestral cultures of America as primitive and ignorant, the importance of their legacy is irrefutable.

I still remember the history classes in school, when I was little.

While the teacher talked about the indigenous nations of our continent, our minds created images of almost naked people, who lived in the jungle in meager houses and dedicated mainly to hunt, fish, and cultivate. We saw a group of backward and underdeveloped beings struggling to survive in very difficult conditions.

Of course, our professors assumed as absolute truths the anthropologists' deductions regarding the various stages of "evolution" by which these groups had passed and took their alleged simple social organization as fact. Undoubtedly, we learned some things about their daily lives and a few of their customs, or the "magical" concepts on which they based their community. Little was said about the scientific advances they made in various areas of knowledge or the vast inheritance they left for all of us.

When we listened to what happened during what historians have called the "American Conquest," we were convinced that natives had been submissive and allowed themselves to be abused and their land to be dispossessed simply because of their ignorance.

Everything was presented within a subtle frame of discrimination, which left in our little hearts the unequivocal feeling of "compassion" for those "little evolved" beings, who on many occasions were treated as inferior individuals to the human race because the "wise" judges of the inquisition determined that they had no soul.

However, the ideas I built in childhood faded easily when I stood before a vast amount of evidence refuting what we had been taught.

For a conversation on ancestral indigenous nations to truly begin, we must undo concepts that we have been accustomed to accepting and understand that advanced civilizations have existed in the past.

We must wrap our heads around the idea that those nations developed technologies that, although different to the ones we know, were precise and demonstrated a profound knowledge that is only now being recognized by the Western world.

To this day, the Mayans keep surprising us. Their legacy in different areas of knowledge is shocking. They created a plurality of incredibly accurate calendars that still make sense today and which hold very valuable information on the different stages that humanity has, and continues to, go through. It has been proven that the Mayan people could perform surgeries at a high medical level, including skull trepanations.

The precision of their incrustations of precious stones in teeth and the attention that they gave to dental care are impressive, as well as their use of astronomy in the construction of cities.

These cities, showcase advanced agricultural structures with complex irrigation systems and the masterful use of construction materials by those who built them, is yet another reminder of just how grandiose a culture they were and are to this day. We can not ignore the mathematical advances and how the Mayan, using only three symbols and understanding the concepts of zero and infinity, could perform large and complicated calculations.

An Inheritance that

we can't deny

Part 1