The Norse vs Inuit approach

There are many seemingly “small events” in history to which we do not pay much attention, when actually they provide very important lessons. I always talk about historical examples of perfectly successful cooperatives and anarchist self government. But this time I want to comment on a very different historical event: the Norse attempt to colonize Greenland.

When the Norse tried to colonize Greenland, the Inuit already lived there. They did not fight. There was enough space for everyone. But they had very different societal structures. The Inuit were natives, living in small groups, usually just one family, migratory (like the seals) and hunting seals individually, using kayaks and harpoons.

The Norse, coming from (somehow) less extreme conditions, were communal settlers, hunting in groups.

What is very interesting is the Norse arrogance. They were Medieval Christians, quite superstitious, but also with the false belief that God was on their side, and the Inuits were just primitive savages (skraelings as they called them). So even though the Inuits had been living-surviving there for very long, the Norse did not even try to learn anything from the Inuit. And that led them to absolute failure.

Have we learned anything? It seems that over 600 years later, we haven’t.