The first Native Americans to arrive in North America arrived twelve thousand years ago. 1 They traveled across what scientists and historians call the “land bridge” that spanned the distance between modern day Russia and Alaska. The natives separated into many different factions and fanned all over North America; some tribes became nomadic roaming wherever their food supply went while other natives learned to grow and sew crops. The Native Americans lived in mostly peaceful societies until 1492, when Columbus landed on what is now the Bahamas2 The natives greeted Columbus and his crew with open arms only to be met with harsh treatment, slavery, rape, and death. When the Europeans arrived, they forever changed the lives of Native American’s by trying to transform religion and law that violated Native American customs. When Columbus, a Roman Catholic, landed in the Bahamas in 1492, he was received amicably by the friendly Arawak tribe. The Arakwak people were a largely peaceful society; they had settled in the Caribbean hundreds of years before European explorers found them. In Columbus’ private journal he wrote of the Arawak “ they willingly traded everything they owned...they do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance...with fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want” 3. These natives were known for their hospitality and friendliness; they openly traded all of their goods with the white men. This was especially odd to the Europeans. They had just left a continent ruled by kings and popes all in a mad scramble for power and money. Columbus’ notes their hospitality as a weakness and openly writes about enslaving the natives that only wanted peace with the European explorers. Columbus’ first order of business with the natives was to take “some of the natives by force in order that they might learn
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