Your points are well made. Regarding the idea that the Melanasians were "technologically and intellectually challenged", I do have some comments:
First, the idea of technology as it developed in the West isn't necessarily the only way in which techniques and methods can be used in consistent ways to achieve desired goals. The one most important criterion is adaptability to the environment in which a society lives. The use of cognitive skills and abilities to achieve solutions that are adaptable and safe would be more important than any specific type of technology.
For example, those Pacific Islanders developed a system of navigation that enabled them to cross vast stretches of the ocean without instruments like sextants, telescopes and other gear. This system is called etak
, and it is a system of celestial navigation that uses the positions of stars observed with the naked eye, plus a close study of currents, driftwood and other items that float on the surface of the sea. Birds and their nature and flight directions are also used. Etak itself is descrbed here:
Etak looks very different from computer-aided navigation systems on a modern sailing vessel. But it is, in its own way, quite sophisticated. Because Europeans privileged their own view of technology and intellectual capacity in light of their own considerable accomplishments -- I'll certainly grant that -- they also tended to discount those of other cultures alien to their own, and thereby missed some of the significant developments that took place elsewhere. Some instances:
The original Australian people, who had settled the continent around 40,000 years ago developed a fairly sophisticated system of understanding, where they created a philosophy and a worldview that was quite different from Western ideas. They also had their own technology for surviving in the outback, although this did not involve the usual machinery seen in the west. The great film Walkabout
shows some of this technology, where an aboriginal boy helps two white children survive in the bush.
Lord Macaulay famously claimed, in the 19th century, that a single shelf of English books would be far superior to anything ever produced in India. This was an India that he had little idea of, other than to be part of a colonizing country which had effectively seized power through cunning and military prowess. Macaulay did not know Sanskrit, or much of any of the other Indian languages. Since his pronouncement, the west has come to realize that there is a tradition of complex intellectual and cultural accomplishment in India that had continued over a couple of millenia, although its development and methods, its ontology and epistemology, were quite distinct from that of the west. In fact there were schools of mathematics that produced many of the results that we call Power Series (Taylor's and Maclaurin's series), and the basic ideas of trigonometry were known to the Indians, although in a format that was different from western mathematics.
There are many other examples of technology and intellectual accomplishment in non-western societies that can be described, but my point is that there isn't a single yardstick to suggest that one system is superior to the rest. If one regards one's own society as superior, there can be bad consequences as well. European beliefs about their superiority also led to all sorts of ill-treatment meted out to colonized peoples. And the technology of the west, while doing great things for all human beings, also led to some catastrophic results that are unfolding even now. But that's another story.