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Gavida
Deck the Malls


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I am not sure if this is the right place to post it, but Science was the one that seemed most fitting:

I had a discussion with some colleagues at work regarding Native Americans and that they are born without fear of heights.
Searching the net revealed different results, some say that it is true for all Native Americans, some sites claim it is only the Mohawks and some sites said that there is no proof that Native Americans do not suffer from fear of heights.

Since I was not able to find a definite answer to the question I decided to ask the all-knowing Snopsters [Big Grin]

Gavida

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"He looked bigger when I couldn't see him" - Jayne Cobb

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Floater
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The explanation I have read is that Mowaks as a group had the lowest standard of living in the USA and thus had to take dangerous jobs that no one else would have, such as building skyskrapers. This is what gave them a reputation for having no fear of heights.

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1958Fury
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I saw this one on the Straight Dope.

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Gavida
Deck the Malls


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I did read that somewhere as well, Floater. It is one theory among others and still doesn't explain the reputation, since no one says the same about caucasian or black steelworkers that build skyscrapers.

I also read the article on Straight Dope, 1958Fury, but it still isn't definitive, there are two different studies with two different results cited and I am not sure if this "we are scared but don't admit it" really counts as research. Since it was said while they all were drunk it could as well have been some kind of joke or pulling Freilich's leg.

And I am still not sure where to put Freilich, I mean wasn't he the one who said that women's breasts developed when humans learned to walk
upright to interest the men in reproduction by being "fake" buttocks?

Is this "Native Americans have no fear of hights" a mystery that will never be solved? [Smile]


Gavida

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"He looked bigger when I couldn't see him" - Jayne Cobb

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1958Fury
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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Um, well, any Native Americans on this board? (I'm about 1/8th Cherokee, but I doubt that's enough to count.)

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SchmooPie
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Here are 2 links.

This one tells a good story about how this started.

This one from the Smithsonian confirms info from the first link.

quote:
“A lot of people think Mohawks aren’t afraid of heights; that’s not true. We have as much fear as the next guy. The difference is that we deal with it better. We also have the experience of the old timers to follow and the responsibility to lead the younger guys. There’s pride in ‘walking iron.’” —Kyle Karonhiaktatie Beauvais (Mohawk, Kahnawake)


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Chimera
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Wow, I never actually thought that was a widely held belief. The only time I heard it was in college. I had an astronomy professor and two friends who were cherokee (ok, right concept wrong tribe) who always made fun of my fear of height. In my last year of astronomy it was the worst since there were 3 professors and only 5 (later four) students and I was the only one terrified of heights (sometimes we were on observation decks or walking outside the obseveratory dome). I was laughed at because "Native Americans didn't have such fears". I was also feed all kinds of BS like them being kin to eagles and such and soaring over lands (with a refernce to things like Native American construction workers as "proof"). I just thought it was light teasing on their part, I didn't realize it actually had a cultural/legend basis behind it. I wish I had known then that most of the "proof" had little to do with the Cherokee. Although to give them the credit they (the people I knew) deserve, they did seem rather comfortable in high places. I on the other hand would be rather disturbed if I had to sit more than 3-4 tiers up on a set of bleachers. Outside the dome I'd be a curled up huddled mass that wanted my mommy. At least if you continue with astronomy long enough you don't actually have to mess with the actual telescopes and stuff very often (you can stay in a nice safe warm room next to it and play with numbers).

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What is the use of women?"
Steve W. from JREF's 'This is no fun'

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Gavida
Deck the Malls


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Thank you for the links, SchmooPie [Smile]

So I guess the myth came from the better ability to cope with the experience of fear.

Since I kept on searching after posting here I read on a page (sorry that I lost the link) that another aspect is the way the Mohawks walk, putting one foot before the other instead the way "we" walk, putting the feet parallel to each other (again, sorry that I can not describe it better for a lack of proper words, but hopefully you catch the meaning)

Bye,
Gavida

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"He looked bigger when I couldn't see him" - Jayne Cobb

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Samantha Vimes
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Women are Mohawks?
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yugyug
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I can't remember his name, but one of the best, or the best, free-climbers (rock climbing without a harness) was native american. Until he died from it.

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Mr. Billion
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Dan Osman?

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"For the U.S. to get involved militarily in determining the outcome of the struggle over who's going to govern Iraq strikes me as a classic definition of a quagmire." ~Dick Cheney.

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