Native Americans And The European Settlers Essay

Native Americans And The European Settlers Essay

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1. Land and Nature - Native Americans and the European settlers had fundamentally different views on land and the role of nature in the lives of humans. The European settlers saw the wilderness as a task provided by God; it was to be cultivated and made useful for economic and personal gain. To not do so would be wasting the bounty that God had provided for them.

The Native American view of land was also tied to a higher power too, but in a much different way than the Europeans. Land was sacred and entrusted to man by the “Great Spirit”. The idea of ownership and alienating tracts of land from the rest of the community was indeed a concept. Humans were under the dominion of the land, not the other way around. A desire to effectively change the landscape and environment by clearing land of vegetation and domesticating wildlife wasn’t desirable or necessary for survival.

Community/Family/Women - Native American communities weren’t always small isolated tribes. Historic research shows that groups like the Anasazi, Hopewell, and the Adena had developed sizable permanent communities. Cahokia, a city in present day Illinois held a population similar to many of its contemporary cities in Europe and was considered as magnificent as those in the Aztec Empire further south (Divine 5-6). However, apart from these fairly large permanent communities, Native Americans usually did stick to small bands.

Despite having only a simple form of governance, the tribes were impressively egalitarian and democratic as noted by the European colonists that first encountered them. A commonality between Native American politics and those of the Old World was the need for leaders to possess exceptional oratory skills (Divine 7).

Familial relations were v...

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...mericans claimed the practice began with either French fur trappers or Scots-Irish settlers in Pennsylvania. Despite it being excoriated by Native American leaders like Tecumseh, scalping continued as it was thought that the hair of a warrior held his spirit or essence. By taking this essence, the scalper also gained honor.

The practice would become a lucrative business as Europeans began paying out sizable rewards for Native American scalps. Started by the Dutch during the mid-1600’s and eventually adopted by the French and English, the practice of scalping increased as payouts for a single scalp reached over $100 dollars and bounty hunters made huge annual sums over the scalps of Native Americans, males in particular. This cruel enterprise set up for wholescale revenge as Native Americans counterattacked with scalpings of their own of the European settlers.

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