The Native American effect
It is clear that throughout many years there has been an exemption of treatment when talking about the Native Americans in the United States. Supposedly every individual is endowed with the right of freedom, equality, and of seeking for happiness, but Native Americans were treated irrationally. From the discovery of America, to the founding fathers and settlers, the treatment and attitude towards Native Americans has been unsettling at best. The colonial policies toward the Native Americans affected the Indians in ways that changed their relationship between their tribes and the new nation. Cabeza de Vaca, Roger Williams, Cotton Mather, and Benjamin Franklin all had certain views and preconceived notions when it came to the Native Americans. Amazingly enough the varying degree of each mans perspective is the basis on which we not only view the Native Americans today, but ultimately became the thesis on diversifying cultures and how we view them in society.
Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca is best known as the first Spaniard to explore what we now consider to be southwestern United States. His accounts are considered especially interesting because it is one of the very first documents that illustrates interactions between American natives and explorers. Throughout de Vaca’s experiences with the Native Americans his attitude towards them grew increasingly sympathetic. Cabeza de Vaca seems to be in favor of this exploration by outwardly expressing superiority and pity towards the Indians while secretly appreciating their accommodating nature throughout the conquest in order to justify his entitlement to their land. “When the Indians took their leave of us they said they would do so as we commanded and rebuild their towns, if the Christians let them. And I solemnly swear that if they have not done so it is the fault of the Christians” (De Vaca The Norton Anthology American Lit.... [continues]
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