Cabeza de Vaca Essay

804 WordsMar 10, 20074 Pages
Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca is best known as the first Spaniard to explore what we now consider to be southwestern United States. His nine-year odyssey is chronicled within the book The Chronicle of the Narvaez Expedition. His account is considered especially interesting because it is one of the very first documents that illustrates interactions between American natives and explorers. However, when examining the exploration of the modern United States, there are many arguments that have to do with the entitlement to the land and the motivations behind settling in the first place. Most explorers were obviously in favor of their own conquests and Cabeza de Vaca is of course no exception. In Chronicle of the Narvaez Expedition, Cabeza de…show more content…
However, he then goes on to say how deeply moved they were, which is somewhat ironic. It's almost as if Cabeza de Vaca and his followers know that the Indians aren't truly unworthy creatures but they use what everybody already agrees upon to manipulate their supposed worthiness and justify their claims. He also goes on to explain the warrior-like tendencies of the Indians and how fierce and relentless they are. He describes them by saying, "whoever has to fight Indians must take great care not to let them think he is disheartened or that he covets what they own. In war they must be treated very harshly, for should they notice either fear or greed, as a people they know how to bide their time waiting for revenge and take courage from their enemies' fears. After using up all their arrows, they part, each going his own way, without attempting pursuit, although one side might have more men than the other. Such is their custom." (68) They have these customs that are very unnatural and are not normative behavior. Cabeza de Vaca refers to the customs of the Charruco Indians with great
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