The Sociology of Native Americans and Early American Colonists

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, United States, Indigenous peoples Pages: 3 (862 words) Published: October 13, 2013
The Sociology of Native Americans and Early American Colonists Culture Clash: Native Americans and European American Colonials Gender, Class, & Race in Early America
Before the arrival of the first European settlers, numerous tribes of Native Americans were allowed to establish themselves across the American continents in isolation and without interruption from outside forces. When the Mayflower finally arrived in 1620, the English settlers and Native Americans were so vastly different it is easily apparent as to why they so fundamentally misunderstood each other on even the most basic levels. Since neither the colonists nor the Native Americans had interaction with one another until this point, their values were so integrated into their respective cultures that they were unable fully to understand each other. These differences are most visible between the settlers' and natives' understanding of class, economics, and gender.

A striking example of the difference between the understanding of class structure is found in the leadership customs of these two impossibly differing cultures. Despite leaving England due to fundamental differences in religious belief, the settlers at Plymouth still held King James, who enforced the Church of England upon his subjects, in high regard. This respect comes from a conditioned belief formed at birth that they should remain loyal to the monarchy. At the time, it was believed the English monarchy was favored and its members were chosen by the English Christian god. The Mayflower settlers found themselves representatives of the English monarchy during their interactions with the Wampanoag people, possibly even referencing King James during their initial meeting and eventual alliance. From an English perspective, the equivalent of King James to the Wampanoag people is an individual known as the Massasoit. While it is possible that the Massasoit could be favored by the spiritual belief system of the Wampanoag people, he...
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