European settlers have a long history of mistreating Native Americans. The most famous example is the Trail of Tears in which President Van Buren and the federal government forcibly and violently removed Cherokee Indians in 1838 from their native land. Over 18 thousand Cherokee women, men and children were forced to walk 1,000 miles from Georgia to Oklahoma. Of these people, 4,000 died from harsh weather, starvation and exposure to illnesses. European settlers during this time viewed Native Americans as uncivilized savage and used this perception to justify violently removing the Native Americans from their land. Native Americans initially accepted the European settlements but pleaded against being removed. The status of African-Americans in this time has generated debate among historians but there is enough evidence to show they were perceived similar to Native Americans; as not equal to European settlers. European settlers justified this by denying their natural rights. African-Americans, however, were seen as useful resources and they remained on their land and were used as slaves. In return African-Americans responded by attempting to escape to their freedom.
Native Americans were viewed poorly in the eyes of European settlers. "Europeans early perceptions of Indians were an important factor in how explorers and early colonist dealt with Native American people and in the end subdued them. They were sometimes considered barbarians because of their different lifestyle. European settled discussed in primary sources how their rituals and traditions were "horrible and abominable, and deserving punishment.” For example, Native Americans sacrifice souls to their idols as a ritual. Europeans did not think this was good behavior. They often compared their faith to their own Christian faiths and were convinced God would want them to convert to European ways.
"God, Our Lord, will be well pleased, if through the command of Your Royal Highnesses, these people should be initiated and instructed into our Very Holy Catholic Faith, and the devotion, faith and hope which they have in their idols, be transferred to the Divine Omnipotence of God, because it is certain that if they served God with the same faith, fervor, diligence, they would surely work miracles."
Evidence of these perceptions was found in writings and artistic representations sent to European leaders by European artists of Native Americans. In their art they showcased Indians sacrificing humans in large bowls of fire and walking with human heads. Their pictures were gruesome and depicted Indians as wild animals versus human beings. Native Americans perceived Europeans just as cruelly as they did them.
Indian leaders such as Motechzoma recorded their fear of Europeans. He states “he was filled with terror. It was as if his heart had fainted, as if it has shriveled. It was as if he were conquered by despair.” The Europeans came into these Indian leaders communities and...