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Old 02 January 2007, 07:01 AM
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snopes snopes is offline
Join Date: 18 February 2000
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Crash Native Americans don't get vertigo

Comment: I was wondering if you can confirm or disprove the claim
that Native Americans have a unique physiology that prevents them from
experiencing vertigo? I've heard this as an explanation of why so many
workers in high-rise construction projects, particularly early-century New
York skyscrapers, were Native American.

This claim sounds suspiciously like one of ignorance (particularly
considering the time period that it's linked to) as a way to undermine the
expertise of a non-white individual, much like the "blacks are better
athletes because they were bred to be that way genetically" argument.
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Old 02 January 2007, 08:53 AM
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I seem to recall that there were indeed a high number of people from a certain tribe, whose name I cannot remember, that went off to become skyscraper construction workers. I was always told that it was because of a masculine tradition to prove one's bravery, and nothing more than that.

And even if it was true, if you couldn't experience vertigo, would you automatically think that it's a good idea to do heavy labor a couple dozen stories up without any real walls or floors to speak of?
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Old 02 January 2007, 01:02 PM
Nick Theodorakis Nick Theodorakis is offline
Join Date: 05 November 2005
Location: Fishers, IN
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That's a legend told about the Mohawks, who do happen to have a tradition of working in "high iron."

There's a Straight Dope column on the subject.

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Old 02 January 2007, 10:17 PM
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Gavida Gavida is offline
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We had a thread about it on the old board.

There is a link to the Straight Dope article and another to the Smithsonian in it.

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