Pathos for the Native American Indian: a textual analysis

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Pathos for the Native American Indian

"Brother, our seats were once large, and yours were very small; you have now become a great people, and we have scarcely a place left to spread our blankets; you have got our country, but are not satisfied; you want to force you religion upon us" (177)

Long before the white man appeared, Native Americans owned the great and vast lands, relying on and praising the Great Spirit for sun, rain, and life. Upon crossing the seas, the white man was welcomed and befriended. As the white men grew in numbers, so did their appetite for land and control. The Caucasians brought contention, confusion, distrust, and problems. As though all of this were not enough, they also brought a new, "superior" religion. Red Jacket, an eloquent chiefly orator, finally spoke up for the Native population in his Speech of Red Jacket, the Seneca Chief to a Missionary. Red Jacket effectively appeals to pathos using comparison, sufficiency, and tone to convince white missionaries that Native Americans do not wish to worship as the white man, to destroy his religion, or to take it from him; but only to enjoy their own.

Red Jacket relies on pathos to convince the white missionaries that the Native's religion must be saved and guarded. Where there was no common ground between the Caucasians and the Indians, Red Jacket chose to relate to his audience through universal human emotions. His speech allows the listener or reader to visualize the injustices felt by a nation of people who had their homelands stolen from them.

To convey the importance of saving their religion, Red Jacket compares the Indian's religion and the Caucasian's religion. Instead of focusing merely on the Indian's noncompliance to the white man's religion; he braces his arguments in describing his own religion. The contrast between the two beliefs is as distinct as the contrast between their skins.

Red Jacket opens his speech saying, "Friend and Brother, it was the will of the...