Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Quarterly 13:2 (Spring 1993). Copyright © 1993 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


Arising partly from the debates, scholarly and otherwise, surrounding the commemoration of the Columbian Quincentennial, the claim has been made that the European discovery and exploration of the New World was a process that had "meaning only in terms of European ignorance, not in terms of any contribution to universal knowledge"1 and that the study of exploration and discovery is therefore ethnocentric or (worse) racist. Such a claim, which denies the mechanisms of exploration and discovery their important place in the broader epistemological process of how we know and understand the world, is contentious.