Indian European Interactions Essay

2373 words - 9 pages

From the moment contact was made between Europeans and Native Americans, different
perspectives made the interactions of these civilizations difficult, and often sparked conflict.
Europeans saw the world from a vantage point that was wholly different than that of the Native
Americans. This paper will use three situations which occurred between Europeans and Native
Americans to illustrate just how different the two perspectives often were. These situations were:
the Casco Bay Treaty of 1727; the Treaty of Lancaster in 1744; and the dispossession of
Cherokee property by Georgia from 1828-1835. This paper will answer some basic questions
about the situations, such as: the reasons for the misunderstandings; the resulting occurrences
due to the differing perspectives; and who the ‘victor’ of the situations was. Finally, this paper
will draw some conclusions about how ideas influenced the operation of power in these
situations.
The Casco Bay Treaty of 1727 was intended to settle tension which had been occurring
between the English, and several tribes of Abenaki Indians in Maine. The Abenakis had
apparently been carrying out attacks against English settlers in the region. The English finally
forced the Abenakis to sign a treaty in which the Indians promised to “Cease and Forbear all
Acts of Hostility, Injuries, and Discords towards all the Subjects of the Crown of Great Britain”
and “maintain a firm and constant Amity and Friendship with all the English”. The affair might
have ended there; however, the official wording of the treaty that was signed turned out to be
different than what the Abenakis thought they had negotiated. The English transcribers of the
treaty portrayed the Abenakis as being English subjects, ruled by King George. The root of the
misunderstanding over the treaty stemmed from the fact that the Abenakis did not feel that they
were subjects of the King. Instead, the Indians believed they were a sovereign nation, and that
they had conducted themselves during the negotiations in a manner that reinforced this image.
The only terms the Indians felt they had agreed to was an armistice from hostilities. However,
the final English version of the treaty subjected the Abenakis “to be Ruled and Governed by His
Majesty’s Laws, and desiring to have the Benefit of the same”. The Abenakis were also joined
to the English in a trade and military alliance. An Indian named Loron Sauguaarum wrote an
account of the negotiations from his perspective. Sauguaarum recalled his conversation with an
English official, in which the official asked Sauguaarum leading questions such as, “But do you
not recognize the King of England as King over all his states?” and “Do you admit that I am at
least master of the lands I have purchased?”. Sauguaarum noted that he answered these
dangerous questions in the negative, and complained that the English official proclaimed the
matter...

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