“There used to be millions of us. Although there were no population counts, best estimates suggest that there were at least 40 million of us in the Western Hemisphere in 1491. In 1542, Las Casa, the first Spaniard to make a population guess said, “it looked as if God had placed all of or the greater part of humanity in these countries.”
Market economies are not foreign to us. We created them ourselves. We traded goods over hundreds of miles. The Mayan had a complex trade network. How could corn be used all throughout the Americas before contact, if we did not trade? How could pipestone end up in our territory before contact when it only comes from Pipestone, Minnesota, if we did not trade?
Trade cannot be financed without capital. We had to build transportation methods such as boats. We had to build large public buildings and maintain armies to provide order. These required community investments that were based on a future return to the community and to individuals.
We had to create institutions to facilitate trade. From Alaska to California we agreed to a common trade language, Chinook. We recorded transactions relating to labour and goods. We achieved this because we created a system that was supportive and encouraged individual initiative.”