Essay on European and Native American Relations

1436 WordsNov 4, 20126 Pages
Beginning in the sixteenth century, Europeans made the voyage to a “new world” in order to achieve dreams of opportunity and riches. In this other world the Europeans came upon another people, which naturally led to a cultural exchange between different groups of people. Although we commonly refer to European and Indian relations as being between just two very different groups of people, it is important to recognize this is not entirely true. Although the settlers of the new world are singularly referred to as Europeans, each group of people came from a different nation and with different motives and expectations of the new world. Similarly, the Indians were neither a united group nor necessarily friendly with each other. Due to the…show more content…
While Verrazano speaks kindly of these courteous and generous groups, he also speaks of encounters with people he deems “full of crudity and vices.” He claims that interaction with these groups was difficult. He describes their attempts to trade with this group; “they sent us what they wanted to give on a rope, continually shouting to us not to approach the land.” This description provides us some insight into the feelings of the Indians towards these new European invaders. Their actions seem to be based on fear and apprehension towards these unknown men (Voices of Freedom, 9). Much of European criticism of Native American was based on differences in religion, land use, and gender relations. Most Europeans reasoned that Indians needed to be converted to the “true religion” of Christianity (Give Me Liberty, 11). In fact, Verrazano concluded that the Indians had “no religion or laws” (Voices of Freedom, 10). The Europeans did not understand the Indians’ use of the land and thus justified overtaking it, reasoning that they did not truly “use” it. Some Europeans criticized gender relations, claiming that women lacked freedom due to their work in the fields (Give me Liberty, 12-13). Others, like Verrazano, criticized the Indians for having “absolute freedom” in which they did not abide to any laws due to ignorance (Voices of Freedom, 10). Regardless of
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