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Conflicts Between Colonists And Indians Essay

1482 words - 6 pages

In many situations, introducing a new party into a land that was formerly inhabited and assimilated by another party with completely different societal, political and cultural values results in a lengthy period of transition and conflict due to misunderstanding. Colonization and the interactions between colonists and Indians during the early stages of settlement in the New World was certainly no exception. Although European societies and political structures were hierarchical and left less to the impoverished members of society, Indian societies and political structures were not as patriarchal and featured communal cooperation. Culturally speaking, Europeans were more fragmented and hierarchical but less ritualistic in religious practices than were Indians. With these innumerable differences and struggles to communicate with not only the European settlers but also with each other, it is no surprise that the Indians fell at the hands of the English in King Philip’s War.
One reason for the lack of communication and cooperation between different groups of Native Americans was the instituted political system. The Indian political system was broken up into three main levels. These “three levels of social connections” (5) were clans, villages and tribes. Clans were led by their eldest members, villages were ran by sachems who referred to the counsel of elders and communal approval and tribes were headed by one or more sachems who were advised by clan and village members in order to act according to community compromise. In the Native American political system men and women were both permitted to serve as sachems and provide political guidance on important communal issues. Although this system tended to promote unity within individual Indian communities, the Native American nation at large suffered. Different Indian communities faced varying issues that meant that despite communal consensus, different communities might not have been in an agreement. The English devastation of the Pequot tribe scrambled relationships between different tribal communities and rearranged many tribal alliances. The realignment of Native affiliations fostered tensions between many Indian groups. Native American groups such as the Mohegans and Narrangansetts were constantly in conflict with one another. (16) The inability of different Native American groups to politically and communally unite was main factor that led to their eventual defeat in King Philip’s War.
Along with the Native American’s struggles to internally politically communicate, political communication and understanding with the Europeans was even more difficult. Unlike the Indian political and communal system, the European structural system was hierarchical and authoritarian. In European societies, the majority of resources were allocated to those in power, leaving the individuals on the lower end of the spectrum disadvantaged. This structure was also mirrored in the Catholic Church by the hierarchical...

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