In the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries of America, many settlers and colonists were taken captive by the Native Americans, commonly known as Indians. The Native Americans had many reasons and motives for capturing the settlers or colonists. Captives were often taken to be traded, ransomed, or “adopted,” which Native Americans did to replace tribal members who had passed or who had been killed. Two very famous captivity narratives are those of James Smith and Mary Rowlandson, whose stories are very different due to their captors, gender, and religion. James Smith was 18 years old when he was captured by the Indians just miles above Bedford. Smith was captured by three Indians, one was a Canasatauga and the two others were Delawares. With the exception of being flogged, Smith’s experiences with the Indians were not terrible. He was essentially treated as an Indian. This stems from the fact that he was adopted by the Natives. James Smith was given many freedoms. Smith was very trusted by the Indians. They allowed him to hunt with them or on his own, they expected him to act as an Indian, and they also trusted him to take care of them when needed. Smith also had the option to leave whenever he pleased. He did not have to remain with the Indians for the four years, 1755-1759, that he did. These experiences are very different compared to those of Mary Rowlandson. Mary Rowlandson’s hometown of Lancaster, Massachusetts was destroyed by the Indians in King Philip’s War and she was taken captive during the destruction. Mary Rowlandson was captured in 1676 and remained a captive for three months before the requested ransom was paid. Rowlandson had very different experiences from James Smith with the Indians. At her capture, she witnessed the Indians killing or harming many in her family. Rowlandson, herself, suffered a gunshot wound. James Smith was also harmed when first captured by the Indians; however, he had been aided by French...
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