During the 16th and 17th centuries, when the Europeans started to come over to the new world, they discovered a society of Indians that was strikingly different to their own. To understand how different, one must first compare and contrast some of the very important differences between them, such as how the Europeans considered the Indians to be extremely primitive and basic, while, considering themselves civilized. The Europeans considered that they were model societies, and they thought that the Indians society and culture should be changed to be very similar to their own.
The Europeans and the Indians had very contrasting ideas of personal wealth and ownership. The Europeans believed that only the rich should own land, and strongly followed the practice that when you passed away, the land stays in the family to keep the family honor and pride alive. In European society, what one owned decided one's identity, political standpoint, wealth, and even independence. The Indians believed that property was part of a tribe, not a personal possession to own. One of their beliefs was that the land was sacred, and each family should have a piece of the whole. As a general rule, the Indians followed their belief that states that everything on the earth is given to all, and each person deserves their own share. In 1657, a French Jesuit said that, "Their kindness, humanity and courtesy not only makes them liberal with what they have, but causes them to possess hardly anything except in common."
In European society during the time of colonization, the man was by far more important in society than his wife. For Europeans, the to be a member of a family you had to be related to the eldest male in the household. This was a total opposite to the Indian society. For example, in the Iroquois society, family membership was determined by the family of the female. At the head of each family was an elder woman, followed by her daughter, their husbands and children,...
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