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Native Americans: Good Or Evil People

1056 words - 5 pages

Over the course of history, there have been many different views of Native Americans, or Indians, as many have referred to them. Some have written about them in a positive and respectful manner while others have seen them as pure evil that waged war and killed innocent men, women, and children. No matter what point of view one takes, though, one thing is clear and that is if it were not for these people the early settlers would not have survived their first year in the new land now called the United States of America. In short, it is my belief that the various authors’ viewpoints are simply a reflection of the circumstances of their particular situation. Nevertheless, one question remains: ...view middle of the document...

The Native Americans were kindhearted people who believed the Spaniards to be gods sent from Heaven but quickly changed their opinion of the new settlers. According to the Native Americans, the Spaniards, “…did not content themselves with what the Indians gave them of their own free will, according to their ability, which was always too little to satisfy enormous appetites…” (de las Casas 42). When the settlers started to commit violent acts against their people, they were intelligent enough to take precautions such as hiding their food, wives, and children; some even moved away completely. The recurring theme throughout was whenever a Native American resisted in the slightest way the Spaniards felt compelled to brutally attack and kill any of the Native Americans regardless of whether it was a man, woman, or infant (de las Casas 42).
Native Americans were also portrayed to be people who treat one another as well as white men-- with the utmost respect and kindness. This is apparent from Canassatego’s statement:
You know our Practice. If a white Man, in travelling thro’ our Country, enters one of our Cabins, we all treat him as I treat you; we dry him if he is wet, we warm him if he is cold, we give him Meat and Drink, that he may allay his Thirst and Hunger; and we spread soft Furs for him to rest and sleep on; we demand nothing in return. (Franklin 205)
These people lived a simple and modest lifestyle and both men and women shared responsibilities. Surprisingly, these people chose not to have prisons or impose physical harm on those who were guilty of wrongdoing and thus were humanitarians. Also, it can be assumed that the English thought they were stupid because they chose to insult them by offering to educate them. Next, the Native Americans were very polite people who would always take at least one day to think over a proposition, never interrupt one another when speaking, etc (Franklin 202).
In contrast, the Native Americans were also painted in an extremely negative light and were even called “Barbarians” and “Heathen” (Rowlandson 94). It was said “…he begged of them his life,...

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