5 October 2012
Native and European Relationships
“Why must you take by force what you could obtain by love?” (Chief Powhatan) This was a famous quote said by Pocahontas’ Father to early English settler John Smith. The quote helps illustrate the brutality that settlers used to obtain land and goods during early colonization. The articles “Your People Live Only Upon Cod” and “The Print of My Ancestors’ Houses are Every Where to be Seen” help show, through the perspective of the Natives, that the nature of relationships of Natives and Non-natives in early America was at first beneficial, but over time the relationships became corrupted and would slowly deteriorate due to Europeans belief of supremacy over Natives, Europeans forced conversion of Natives’ lifestyle to Europeans’ beliefs, and Europeans hostile take over of Native land.
The act of gift giving created a kinship between Natives and Europeans and eventually a very lucrative trading market was formed. Even though the kinship between Natives and Europeans was a booming economic opportunity the incoming settlers always looked down upon the Native people, seeing them only as savages who had no morals or religious guidance. “In the document “Your People Live Only Upon Cod” the French view the Mimacs’ lifestyle as horrible and unbearable due to the fact they didn’t display manners, social order or vast quantities of material possessions like the French. The French are even amazed at the Mimacs outdated mobile housing and try to persuade them to settle down and live in stationary houses instead of wigwams.” The English also see themselves as a superior race and would discriminate against the Natives by refusing to trade with or engage in kinship rituals unless the Natives become reformed and lived a more English lifestyle. Thus, Colonialism became not only an economic move, but it also became a “civilizing mission” in order to bring social, political and religious change among the Natives. Europeans were aggressively pushing conversion on the Natives and it would lead to violence and war. All European settlers tried to reform Natives to a more civilized lifestyle by trying to convert Natives to believe in Christianity. “In “Your People Only Live Upon Cod” the document states that European missionaries would actively interact with Natives to persuade them to take on a sophisticated European lifestyle with Christian beliefs. Occasionally Natives who were so overcome with grief, over the constant warfare with colonists and new diseases that devastated their tribes, they would succumb and take on a more reformed lifestyle.” Thus, Conversion became a crucial key point in Colonialism. The single most controversial issue that Natives and Europeans faced was land. The Natives believed that the land was nobodies to own, and that everyone should be able to share its resources. The European colonist believed in ownership of property just like owning possessions, and believed that the resources should be possessed and sold. In “The Print of My Ancestors’ House are Every Where to be Seen.” Little Turtle, who is chief of Miami Tribe, believes that the land in the Ohio Valley solely belongs to the Natives and the land should not be able to be sold or settled by white colonists. Little Turtle’s ancestors settled there many years ago and The Great Spirit told his ancestor to preserve the land. General Wayne, however, believes that since Britain gave that land to the Americas it should be their land and although Little Turtle’s ancestors may have settled there, they had no proven ownership or entitle to the land. Also, many British colonies were settled there as well and they are the ones that were in possession of it and gave it to America without acknowledging the Natives feelings. This testimony from General Wayne shows that the Colonists were more interested in gaining land and building settlements then keeping a...