Diversity in Early America

Topics: Family, Marriage, Native Americans in the United States Pages: 4 (1422 words) Published: November 14, 2009

During the Colonial period and 1800’s there were a few different cultures and ethnic groups that behaved quite differently yet had some similarities. Among these groups are the Puritans, Native Americans, Europeans.

Between different ethnic groups and cultures, there were many contrasting styles of childrearing. In the mid to late 1700’s, these contrasting styles with Native Americans, Puritans, and Europeans started right from birth to just before adolescence. First, Native American mothers would always nurse their own children and would nurse them for a period of 4 years or more. European women would almost always use wet nurses and would nurse their children for a significantly shorter period of time. The Puritan mothers commonly had another mother nurse their child for around 4 days, and then nursed their children themselves (Mintz, 2004, p. #17). A result of these differing practices was the fewer amount of children that Native American women had opposed to European woman. Both European and Native American average number of children was significantly less than the Puritans, seeing as Puritans would usually have around four to eight children. Also Native American women would be more attached to their children because of the low number of children. This is shown by a mother and father’s response to their children’s death. Native American mothers were said to have cried and mourned over their deceased child’s grave for months after the death occurred. European mothers only showed mere resignation after their child’s death (Mints, 2004, p#35).

A few similarities between these three cultures were the way that they surrounded the scene of birth. The Native Americans, Europeans, and Puritans all had a birthing ceremony. The Native Americans had a baptism like ceremony where the child’s “public name” was announced in front of the tribe and oils were rubbed onto the child’s head. The Europeans and Puritans both had a baptism...
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