Background Story

Steve Gwa, a native American serving in U.S. special forces, one day wakes up to find himself in a very unlikely place. He is laying on the ground, near a village that appears to belong to some Mayan tribe in Mexico. He is extremely surprised but as he meets people coming out of huts and sees their skin color and facial structure, he remembers they are somehow familiar. More strangely, he is not wearing his shorts and vest that he wore last night, but instead is wearing a deerskin loincloth only ... just like other people.

In a few days he gradually recalls that all his life (he is 28 years old) in 21st century USA was a dream. A very long, very elaborate dream. His real name is Mumbini and he is a member of one of the Blackfoot Tribes. For several weeks he is unable to adjust to his wakeful normal life, always thinking whether all his life as a US spec ops member was a dream or a reality. He is exceptionally good with the use of tomahawk and empty hand combat where he uses the skills he learned in US armed forces training, but his fellows tell him that he was always good with these and that he was trained by his father, who was a renowned combatant.

Mumbini continues his life perplexedly, recalling bits and pieces of his life as a Blackfoot young man as days pass, but he just cannot shake away the thought of his life as a spec ops agent. He wants to know if history would continue as he had seen and lived it. What keeps bugging him is that he cannot find out what time of history he is living in. One day a group of other Indians, living on the shores, bring fish for barter to his tribe and then he learns that a strange large boat (ship) containing strange paleface men had landed on their shores 4 months ago. A little inquisitive questioning reveals (to him) that the incoming party was none other than Christopher Columbus!

He is feverishly excited by the news. Now is his chance to save his peoples from falling to the European invasion!


Native Indian tribes are separated and are located far off. They are also divided into alliances and hostilities. How can Steve (Mumbini) unite them together against this overwhelming enemy? For a start, how can he convince them all not to partake in any friendly dealings with the newcomers and form an allied war party to immediately dispense of any and all invaders who land on their shores?

Edit to add: Eow means Edge of the World

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    $\begingroup$ Could you try to give this a title that is more meaningful to people who haven't yet read the question? (If I had a specific suggestion I'd just edit, but I don't so I'm asking you instead.) Thanks! $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 1:19
  • $\begingroup$ I'll try to answer, but keep in mind for your story that vast, vast, vast distances (and no horses) are between your tribes. +1, though, because at each sentence I was ready to answer and then you addressed my concerns in the following sentence haha. $\endgroup$
    – Mikey
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ I wait for that. Avernium posted some nice guerrilla warfare tactics, but I'm equally concerned about uniting the tribes as much as I am about not letting the Europeans get any least hold on the land. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 20:23
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    $\begingroup$ The Blackfoot tribe was in Montana, USA, not Central America. It was confusing to see a North American tribe situated somewhere they never went. $\endgroup$
    – Green
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 20:49
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about the actions of an individual character, which are explicitly off-topic on Worldbuilding. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868
    Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 20:34

5 Answers 5


Mumbini needs to sink the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.

Step One

Alert all nearby tribes of the presence of the strange newcomers. Invite “delegates” from each tribe to come and see them with their own eyes. It’s important that each tribe have trusted sources who can verify the invaders’ existence, and even more important that they relay very specific information that Mumbini is about to feed them.

Step Two

Mumbini should make predictions that he remembers to be true from history to his own village elders and the foreign delegates. Major things to point out are the power of European weapons — swords and muskets may look foreign, but their danger must be communicated whether he is initially believed or not. Disease is another big one — trade, especially for foreign and unknown trinkets, will seem tempting. By creating a fear that interaction with European items or even extended proximity with European people will kill the tribespeople and their loved ones, Mumbini will create a disincentive to trade.

Step Three

Urge all tribespeople to stay away from the Europeans. This will not be obeyed, but it will add to Mumbini’s list of correct predictions in the future. The most important thing is to convince his own tribe to stay away and, critically, not to touch European items (even those being traded by other tribes). If any tribes are hit by unusual sickness, be swift to loudly proclaim that the Europeans brought the disease. Abusing the superstition of the local tribes will be valuable.

Step Four

Sink all three ships. Mumbini’s special ops training is going to be the absolutely perfect asset for this situation. From among his tribe he should select 5-8 others that respect him enough to follow his lead and undergo brief “training” in stealth and basic sabotage. Fire is going to be a great weapon to sink these ships and the gunpowder on board will help even more. Mumbini needs to coordinate three groups (he should lead the group sinking the larger Santa Maria) to ignite fires on all three ships at the same time. Reaching the hulls under the cover of darkness should be straightforward, though starting enough fires that the crew loses control will be harder. Attempting to infiltrate the ships to get to gunpowder is possible, but risky.

It’s critical that he sink all three ships. If one survives, it will return to Europe and more men and ships will arrive to supply and reinforce those left behind. By accomplishing this goal he not only destroys most of their resources, but he guarantees they will be stranded.

Step Five

At this point, Mumbini needs to kill the survivors. The sinking of their ships will make the crew much more desperate. It will take them quite some time to build a new ship (if they’re even capable of the feat) and their resources will likely be seriously thinned. This is going to make them more likely to forcefully seek to interact with the local tribes and very likely to use violence to survive. Over time Mumbini's correct predictions made at European arrival will earn him political favor that hopefully spans multiple tribes. This should open more opportunities for inter-tribe dialogues and give him an opportunity to suggest a combined effort to drive back the white invaders.

In the event that uniting the tribes initially proves difficult, he can begin attacking without them. Guerrilla strikes by Mumbini and a select few from his tribe should be possible — even against superior weaponry — due to his substantial experience. As he adds European scalps to his belt he will gain a reputation as both an effective warrior and someone worth following. Attacks, famine, and the elements will slowly whittle down the remaining European survivors.

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    $\begingroup$ Very good answer in explaining how Mumbini should eliminate the invaders (hence the upvote) but your answer does not focus much (although there are points about it, I must say) on how to unite the dispersed tribes (with internal hostilities) against this one huge enemy. Predictions are an extremely good idea, but ... I'm afraid Steve was a spec ops agent, not a US history professor. So his knowledge about US's history is nearly equal to mine (that is, brief overview of how the New World was claimed, natives butchered and then the rebellion and foundation of US). Doesnt know particulars $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 1, 2015 at 21:41
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    $\begingroup$ @YoustayIgo Given his training, it seems that Steve’s greatest skill is killing. If he isn’t a great orator, politician, or diplomat, his best chance to unite the tribes is to unite them behind him as a skilled and respected warrior. He also doesn’t need an extensive background in history to know about the historical danger of disease or what European weapons look like. The mere functionality of a musket would have been beyond comprehension to most native americans until they saw one fired — he knows a lot more valuable information than you might expect. $\endgroup$
    – Avernium
    Commented Oct 1, 2015 at 21:58
  • $\begingroup$ Of course he can make primitive projectile firing guns and even small explosives if he can lay his hands on gunpowder alone. And he can kill 4 tomahawk armed warriors empty-handed. But that doesn't help him in going to an enemy tribe and persuading them to join his cause. It doesn't help him explaining how the benign (Columbus was initially very benevolent to the natives as ordered by Ferdinand) palefaces would turn ghastly horrific in 5-10 years if given the chance. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 1, 2015 at 22:05
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    $\begingroup$ @PyRulez Depends on whether or not it was really a dream and how true it all is to reality. At its core, the question seems to imply a paradox is about to take wing. $\endgroup$
    – Avernium
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 2:58
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    $\begingroup$ But then, in five years Juan Ponce de Leon is in the Americas, the Portugese are in the Americas, etc.; it's a short term solution. $\endgroup$
    – Mikey
    Commented Oct 3, 2015 at 16:29

For a start, how can he convince them all not to partake in any friendly dealings with the newcomers and form an allied war party to immediately dispense of any and all invaders who land on their shores?

Your story is a tragedy. He can't. How many thousands of miles of coastline would he have to patrol, and keep patrolling forever? How would he even communicate the danger to every settlement in a whole continent, let alone get many bitterly hostile tribes and nations to agree on a policy. (Remember that in real life Cortés and Pizarro could not have brought down the Aztec and Inca empires without allies motivated by a desperate desire to throw off the rule of those empires, especially the Aztecs.)

Maybe Mumbini can kill Columbus and sink his ships - but if reaching the Spice Islands was so desirable an objective that the Spanish Crown would even finance a crazy attempt to sail west to reach them, then either Spain or another European power would eventually finance another. And it would only take one man going down with a European disease to land somewhere for the great dying to start. According to your scenario they have already been there four months, and this is Columbus's second voyage. It is too late.

All Mumbini / Steve Gwa can do is to mitigate the horrible consequences somehow. Mikey's answer has already suggested formalizing Central America in a way that Europeans can understand. I would suggest that whatever his personal beliefs Mumbini should aim to convert the peoples, or at very least the rulers, of Eow to Roman Catholicism, so that when the conquistadors arrive they are greeted as equals by a Christian king graciously willing to open peaceful (and potentially profitable) relations with his fellow Christian king in Castile.

That won't be enough to make gold-hungry men like the conquistadors into advocates of peaceful coexistence. No one then living, European or Eow, held to our modern liberal notions in that respect. But it would remove the main justification for conquest.

And get working on vaccination or variolation.

  • $\begingroup$ That's a sad sad sad (but bitterly realistic) picture. Upvote for the realism but can you be a little sympathetic with Mumbini's cause? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 20:32
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    $\begingroup$ I am, and more than a little. Perhaps there was no worse time and place to be in all history than in central or south America as the simultaneous smallpox, typhus and cholera epidemics spread inexorably outwards followed by war and enslavement. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 20:48
  • $\begingroup$ Worse yet would be to know, as Mumbini does, that the mass infection was going to happen and be unable to do much more than perform triage on a continental scale. This could be an epic story, but it won't be an easy read. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 21:06
  • $\begingroup$ All epic stories aren't easy reads. Sigh. I wait to learn how Mumbini can unite people for his cause ... $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 22:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Kozhin Mahdi if you know their username, you contact them like this. Maybe asking a question here can help you. Please don't vandalize posts anymore, okay? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 26, 2021 at 10:44

Nice storyline btw...

Buy Time

Step 1: Address the Palefaces

In addition to uniting the tribes, Mumbini should approach the ships. He knows that CC's third voyage bounced all along Central America within 10 years from hearing about the first, second or third voyage. Now he waits.

He likely doesn't know (archaic) Italian, but he does know about culture and history. He knows the names of prominent Europeans from their Renaissance, and a cultured man, such as CC likely knew Italian, Latin, and Spanish.

Step 2: On the day of their arrival

Mumbini puts on the "clothes" he had made (something like how he guessed they wore during the renaissance), he pulls out a detailed map he made of the coastline of the Americas, and he writes in English on rudimentary paper. He addresses the interlopers, and they understand that he knows of European people, he knows how to write, and he knows a vast amount of the area: and where to find gold and spices.

Step 3: The map

The map is a very accurate, albeit drawn from memory, map of the coast of Americas, but with one exception: a vast area filled with gold far, far to the south of South America. It is okay that the map is rudimentary, so was CC's! This buys him and his people potentially a hundred years, but not those at what is now USA, including Florida. North and South America were inundated in just a few following years by exploratory missions. It's too late to try to help those in Nova Scotia, Florida, or Brazil. But his people have time.

Step 4: Formalize Central America

This is going to be difficult; Mumbini will need to formalize Central America in a way that is understood by Europeans. This will not be done in a single lifetime, due to the enormous overland distances between tribes. A common, written language (English is a good start, for structure), and a common goal, which other answers here have hinted to. This is a broad, long-range, plan for the future, including formalized borders, to allow some tribes greater autonomy.

The United States of Central America.

Step 5: Pit Nations Against Each Other

Mumbini's long-range plan includes an oral history (or rather, future prediction) of how to gain influence with Portugal, Spain, and even England for when Central America is 're-visited.' Then begin promising or even delivering on trade and getting Portugal to compete with Spain, for example, to be allied with the USofCA.

Step 6: Hope for Innovation

After establishing a culture of innovation over warfare (use other peoples' answers for this), prepare schematics of things like trebuchets or catapults, and fortifications. Include the idea of soaps and how to wear a bandana or mask over the face when talking to future white-faces, to avoid contraction of diseases.

Step 7: Hide Yo Gold, Hide Yo Spices

Usher in an age where rich soil, or a rare tree are more important than gold for decoration or religious symbolism. Good luck with that. As a contingency if this doesn't work, always have a secret person in each tribe prepared to hide the things precious to Europeans when they approach. It won't be easy to pull off, but hopefully it will buy time: European race for colonization came long after exploration and declaration of ownership. Cross your fingers that they will be un-interested in 'colonizing' your land for a while, buying you more time.

Mumbini is really going to miss wi-fi and air conditioning...

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    $\begingroup$ Wow. Now that's some long plan. But having a gold mine map in south america would only mean more palefaces would be storming New World than previously expected. He can't get "dressed" as there's a LOT of work involved turning cotton into cloth. The huge distances between the tribes aren't much of a problem as he can begin slowly. Uniting one state of modern USA alone would give him enough strength to keelhaul the palefaces and pose a very strong resistance. The problem is ... what real incentive do the natives have to wage a war they feel no reason for? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ @YoustayIgo - agreed it aint going to be easy; but if he builds confidence from his knowledge of Europe and African geography and sends them to Patagonia in search of the gold, it buys a lot of time from future expeditions headed there instead of here. $\endgroup$
    – Mikey
    Commented Oct 3, 2015 at 0:18
  • $\begingroup$ In the worst scenario (that europeans do find gold there), they would be sending a horde of ships and guns and cannons in the near future to search for gold in N.A.. And if they don't find gold there, they are going to return with a vengeance. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 3, 2015 at 8:53

The biggest problem with this scenario is that you have located the hero as part of the Blackfoot tribe, which is located in the heartland of the American continent, while Columbus landed in the Caribbean. Without horses (introduced by the Spanish many years later) the news would travel at the speed of foot, so learning about the landing 4 months later is actually astoundingly fast. More likely a very garbled version of the story might have arrived in his location years after the event (at which point it is far too late).

The environment also works in the favour of the invaders. The tribes are not united and (as we know from real history) it is easy for the Spaniards, Portuguese, French and English to gain favour by becoming allied with one tribe or confederation against another, offering the products of a much more advanced European culture in order to gain favour and provide some advantage over the "enemy". The hero may be a SpecOps operator, but he will be one man going against a culture which has developed mass warfare into an art, has reliable firearms, sophisticated logistics and a totally invulnerable base of operation (what is he going to do, invade the Kingdom of Castile and Aragon on the other side of the Atlantic?).

In fact, the ONLY way he could possibly change the outcome of history would be to go to the coast, convince the tribes there to lear the art of shipbuilding and oceanic navigation, develop an army and sail an expeditionary force across the Atlantic to convince the European monarchies that the Americas are far more trouble than they are going to be worth.

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    $\begingroup$ to convince the ...? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 8:46

Being able to speak English, crudely (it's different from modern english) and possibly other European languages will make a difference. Knowledge of European things in general can make him seem to be some kind of prophet.

As well as advanced combat skills, he also has influence of 21st century Madison Avenue, Phycology, Cults, Telemarketers, etc. He might have read "how to win friends and influence people" or the like.

He knows it is important. So even if others may have had skills, nobody was really motivated to work toward an alliance.

He should set himself up as a prophet with future knowledge, which is the actual thing. A small number of followers is enough to get started, and then use writing and modern organizational skills to expand efficiently.

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    $\begingroup$ He can speak/write English while these palefaces are Italians ... Doesn't help much. He can predict things only for the long run (as in, the palefaces would get hostile etc) but he doesn't know the specifics as of when will the palefaces land next time. He knows about the guns and gunpowder, but so do the tribes who have witnessed the palefaces weapons. So saying that palefaces carry a long stick of booming death is nothing new as the shorelines tribes have already seen it. He must unite his peoples before it's too late ... $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 7:45

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