Treatment Of The Native Americans Throughout American History

1762 words - 7 pages

When Christopher Columbus stepped foot on the New Land on October 12, 1492, the White Man came in contact with people of entirely different values and cultures. From that moment, the Native American was exposed to the world. Because their lifestyle was so much unlike that of European descent, they were mostly portrayed negatively, simply because they were different. Native American stereotypes have developed that put our aborigines predecessors in the negative light. However, many New Englanders had experiences with Native Americans that allowed them to see their true potential in society. Many documents have been recorded that contain happenings with Native Americans from the moment they were discovered, and they are reflected by the manner that White Men chose to perceive these people that were so unlike themselves.
After the encounter between these people who had not earlier known of one another’s existence, it was almost assured to end terribly. They certainly found each other strange at their first meeting. Native Americans were much underdressed compared to Europeans, and because of this Europeans viewed the Natives with pity and disgust rather than admiration. Europe’s cultural traditions, which mostly derived from the bible, caused people to believe that Natives were inferior because they were different. They used terms like “barbaric” and “heathen” to describe the Indians. “Europeans were culturally predisposed to see others as savages, while Native Americans were inclined to view strangers as gods” (Lepore). The first encounters of Europeans and North Americans were often brutal. The Europeans would kill, capture, and enslave them at first sight. Eventually, Europeans expected Natives to willingly subject themselves and adopt European culture. Of course, they were not interested in abandoning their own ways. “As one Wicomesse Indian said to the English governor of Maryland in 1633, ‘Since that you are heere strangers and come into our Countrey, you should rather confine yourselves to the Customes of our Countrey, than impose yours upon us’” (Lepore).
Mary Rowlandson, a colonial American woman, wrote about her eleven weeks of being held after the Native Americans captured her in 1676. The attackers burned down houses and opened fire on the settlers, wounding and killing several of them, and taking a number of the survivors captive. After witnessing the attack, she states that “It was a solemn sight to see so many Christians lying in their blood, some here and some there, like a company of sheep torn by wolves” (259). Rowlandson and her three children were taken, but her two oldest children were separated from her. Her youngest child was wounded, and died on February 18. Quannopin, an Indian that is related by marriage to King Philip, oversees the burial of Rowlandson’s dead child and her captors give her a Bible in which she finds comfort and hope. Eventually, her husband redeems her for 20 pounds, and her family sets up a new...

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