Americans are taught one narrative of the colonization of North America; it is the European or white man’s version of events. Children all over the United States see pictures of Indians barely wearing clothes and wearing headdresses covered in feathers and larger than the very heads they sit on. Though, this narrative is not contained to inaccurate history books it is represented in books, movies even advertisements. Time and time again Indians are portrayed as savages who lack morals and are devoid of humanity.
Recently author Daniel K. Richter has asked us to “Face East” to not only get a better understanding of American history but also to better understand the Indians and what happened to them.1 “Facing East” means to look at the same stories but from the perspective of the Native Americans. Perhaps, this is not as easy as it sounds as only Europeans had a system for writing down events; Indians told stories, one generation to the next and as the tribes were slowly eradicated they took the stories to the grave. There are, however, a small number of surviving Indians who were able to translate a few stories.
When “Facing East” perhaps its best to start at the beginning, the first meetings between the Europeans and the Native Americans. There have been two very different narratives of the beginning of the relationship between the two. First, there is the account of the Pilgrims at Plymouth; they celebrated with the Indians who taught them how to survive. The