Native Americans and Early American Colonists Essay

652 Words Oct 27th, 2012 3 Pages
Native American and Early American Colonists

Grade school and even beginning level college history classes have taught early American exploration from a largely one sided view of the conflict between early explorers and Native Americans. The traditional image of the Native Americans as the sole victims, is an oversimplification of the conflict that existed between early explorers, settlers and Native Americans. Through the readings from Columbus, Bradford and some selected Native American writings, the traditional view of the Native American victim will be challenged and a broader view of the conflict will be presented. Columbus set out to explore a new land under the Spanish flag to bring riches and fame to Spain and the throne. In
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70). One last important viewpoint to give credence to is that of the Natives themselves. This account is unique and oftentimes not told. The first story mentioned is that of the freeing of John Smith as a ceremonial act that the natives hoped would earn them respect from the English. This instead had the opposite effect and eventually brought about an attack from the natives which killed over 500 colonists. In a speech from Pontiac (1763) he expresses concern over his people forgetting their heritage and blaming the English for the polluting of his people’s culture and beliefs. He holds the English in complete responsibility and calls for their blood. The traditional view of the natives as the sole victim is an oversimplification of the problems revolving around immigration and cultural diversity. Just from these three personal accounts from the time period we have three very different views of the issue. So, to say that one peoples are the victim is a gross oversimplification and misrepresentation of history.

Columbus, C. (1493). Letter to Luis de Santagel Regarding the First Voyage. In Baym, N. (Ed.). (2008). The Norton Anthology of American Literature (seventh ed., pp. 24-28). New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.