King Phillip's Herds Summary

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In King Phillip’s Herds: Indians, Colonists, and the Problem of Livestock in Early New England, Virginia DeJohn Anderson described livestock in early New England, brought over by European colonists and used in the unsuccessful attempt to assimilate the Native Americans, led by King Phillip, into English ways. King Phillip’s bad relations with Indians, stemming from livestock, caused him a title transition from livestock keeper to war leader. The use of livestock by the Native Americans was ineffective to their way of life due to their previous hunting practices, gender roles in society, their spiritual beliefs and practices and land boundaries; causing growing tensions between Native Americans and European settlers during the 1600’s, arguably…show more content…
The livestock preference for the Indians were hogs, due to their similarity to dogs, which Indians had already owned previously. The Indians used the hogs for meat, their ability to fend off predators, and could also train them like they could dogs. Swine (hogs) were also primarily used to due to the few adjustments that came along with keeping them as livestock from the native’s previous customs, unlike cattle would. Hogs also had a much higher reproductive rate than cattle did and provided an abundant protein source to the people. One prime example was King Phillips himself, the leader of the Indian tribe, and the dominant figure caught in the middle of these issues relating to livestock specifically. Phillip’s was known to keep his swine on a separate island to keep them safe from predators and take…show more content…
There was no definite property line in the early New England colony, causing animals roaming freely to become an issue between the two societies. The Indians were ultimately unprepared for the European’s livestock to wonder into their property without any boundaries. The animals would not only walk into their land but eat their resources and grass along the way. Destruction that the livestock caused to the Native American’s land led to a distinct boundary line between them and the Europeans, creating further tension rather than assimilation. Cattle were trapped into Indian hunting traps, causing both a problem to the Indians hunting rituals as well as the Europeans livestock supply. These issues among land division ultimately led to the acceleration of land expansion by the colonists during the 1660’s and early 1670’s. Before King Phillip’s War, Plymouth officials approached the Indians at least twenty-three times to purchase land. The author argues that previous mutual consideration for both the society’s needs was diminished at this point and the selling of the land would eliminate the Indian’s independence. Whenever livestock was involved, the colonists ignored Indian’s property rights
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