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Native Americans Perceptions By European Essay

569 words - 2 pages

Early European Perceptions of Native AmericanInitial European perceptions of Native Americans viewed them as uncivilized savages who, with time and effort, could be educated and assimilated into European culture. Christopher Columbus reported his opinion of the Indians in the following manner:"They should be good servants and of quick intelligence, since I see that they very soon say all that is said to them, and I believe that they would easily be made Christians, for it appears to me that they had no creed. Our Lord willing, at the time of my departure, I will bring back six of them to your Highness that they may learn to talk (Hurtado 46)".This passage shows that Columbus believed the Indians intelligent and would be easily converted to European ways, but did not think them equal to Europeans. Columbus demonstrates his ethnocentricity by disregarding Native American religious beliefs, and by assuming that because they did not speak a European language they could not "talk."Europeans viewed the Indians as having inferior cultural practices such as their laws, government, economics, and mode of living, religion, property ownership, and education/writing. However, the Europeans believed that these cultural traits of the Native Americans could with little difficulty be changed to resemble European cultures. In 1620, the first college for Native Americans was established to educate Indians in European ways, and in 1640, Harvard opened a college for Indians. This proves that the main objective of the Europeans was to assimilate the Native Americans into European culture by way of education. Europeans justified their conquest of the Indians because they believed they had a divine purpose to convert them to Christianity. Also Europeans believed they could "redeem the savages" in much the same way the Roman...

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