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On the meaning of "Native European people"

The Amber Road is an inter-cultural fellowship to study and spread knowledge about the traditional ethnic religions of Native European People. But who are the Native European people?

The contemporary Native European people can be described as a combination of the Old European cultures with the Indo-European ones. Both of these terms are theoretical abstractions to define ethnolinguistic macro-groups that are proved to inhabit the West Eurasian peninsula, known as the European continent, and more specifically from the Atlantic Coast to the Ural Mountains. Here, combinations of these macro-groups led at least three or four different macro-groups to the threshold of written history, distinctive traits of which can be noticed in languages that belong to genetically separated language families.

The threshold of written history, to which we are referring, is more or less the time between the Bronze Age and the Neolithic era (in our definition of tradition we briefly explained why we start from this era, and why languages are fundamental in the shaping of traditions).

Both historical textual sources and the result of centuries of historical linguistics, archaeology and anthropology show that the Native European peoples from the earliest historical times (such as Greeks, Romans, Etruscans, Celts, Slavs, etc.) can be traceable back to Neolithic cultures and proto-languages, allowing us to group these people into macro-entities.

We recognise three general macro-groups in Europe: the northern, central and southern groups. Each of these groups follows more or less natural, that is, geographical boundaries and each can be represented metaphorically by a tree that is sacred in the cultures of the macro-groups.

The northern group coincides roughly with the boreal forest, the taiga, and we call it the Uralic group. The corresponding tree of the northern group is the spruce that is an evergreen tree, a symbol of the Underworld and of one's ancestors.

The second, central group represents the geographical continuity from the Atlantic coast to the River Ural that divides the Eurasian Steppe into Europe and Asia. Even though the eastern end of this geographical area is forested steppe, most of the area is an area of mixed forest. This area corresponds to the Indo-European group. The tree that is most sacred to the Indo-Europeans of this group is the oak tree, a symbol of the Thunder God.

The term Indo-European is used in linguistics to identify a reconstructed common language, from which a large number of modern, historical and prehistorical languages derived. The notion of “common language“ could be applied to a shared group of features, as a shared culture and a similar religious system, that the speakers of Indo-European languages have had. These common traits are attested in the European historical cultures that we know. The nouns Indo and European show the maximum extent of the peoples who speak the descendants of this language, that was spreading all across Eurasia.

While a part of the Indo-European people indeed had a relevant role in the history of Ancient Indian civilizations and traditions, a role that is fundamental and allows us to know a partially uninterrupted form of tradition of Indo-European origin, we’ll not consider it in the range of the Native European spirituality, as it developed outside the European continent. Nevertheless, the complex of Indo-European traditions of India can be considered as a relative of the Native European traditions, in a similar way to which the traditions of Uralic ancestry present in Siberia can be considered.

The third, southern group is the region around the Mediterranean. This is an area defined by the sea and peoples who have adapted to this environment. The Greeks and Phoenicians competed for domination of the sea lanes, followed by the Romans and Carthaginians. Even before these peoples we have evidence of earlier Sea peoples such as the Tyrsenians, who in Italy evolved into the Etruscans and who were related to the Bronze Age civilisation of the Minoans in Crete. Naming this group after an existing people would be misleading, because this area has connected many different peoples. Therefore, we will not name this group “Vasconian” or “Tyrsenian”, because these are related to peoples that are either in a small part of this area, or have since become but a memory of a time long lost in this area. Using the tree metaphor we can, however, identify this area with that of the olive tree. The classical name, ἐλαίᾱ, is from a Tyrsenian language, connecting the area linguistically, and mythologically the tree itself is the world-tree of Mediterranean peoples.

This is the basic division of Europe for the purposes of Via Electri. This is most of all a contemporary interpretation of the interaction between human history and nature. What we mean by this is that we do recognise that historically all three macro-groups have extended further east or south: the northern group is in essence the westernmost end of a Eurasia-wide sphere of Uralic peoples extending all the way to the River Yenissei; the central group extended as the “Asian Aryans”, that is, Iranian and Indo-Aryan peoples across Central Eurasia; and the southern group used to be also on the southern shores of the Mediterranean during the classical and early medieval times. However, historical events and processes initiated by the conquests of the Semitic and Turkic nomads have broken this continuity further east and south. Therefore, we can speak of related peoples outside the three macro-groups as distant brothers and cousins. And so we have the three families of peoples under the branches of the three trees: the people of the spruce, people of the oak and people of the olive tree.

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