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Ben Franklin's Native Americans

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In the works of Ben Franklin and John Smith the Native Americans were portrayed with no disregard for feelings. By portraying the Native Americans as savages what were the long term outcomes? First off they were not respected by anyone because they were different in their beliefs. Second they were also thought of as being stupid and not educated correctly. Third they were used for the skills that they knew (i.e. hunt, survive), since white men could not do many of the things Indians could do. I think that when Ben Franklin was writing about the Native Americans it was for people to read and see that they were being treated unfairly. John Smith wrote about how he and his men belittled them and it is hard to say what if any of his writings were true and reliable.

Granted Ben Franklin meant well when writing the "Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America", it was not always taken that way. At first glimpse he makes it seem like he agrees with what the "white people" were saying about the Indians, but that was not the case. He suggests that the Native Americans should not have been treated so bad because they did not practice the same civility as others. Ben Franklin also thought that the Native Americans should have been welcomed instead of made fun and treated like circus clowns. He also treated them in a favorable light by opening his mind to their culture. On the other hand John Smith treated them in a negative light by thinking of them as slaves. He used the Native Americans, and not just for work but for supplies and shelter. He would tell them he would give them copper and other things in return for their labor. If you really look closely at how John Smith treated them you would see how history is repeating itself today.

Obviously back in the 1700's if you did not attend school or college you were thought of as being uneducated. Although going to school was important for the white people it was not as important for the Native Americans. The Native Americans did not consider school important and it was not a way to survive so they were looked at differently. Ben Franklin wrote of the "Treaty of Lancaster" were the government of Virginia and the Six Nations met. After the important business was settled the government offered the Indians a chance to educate their youths. After the Indians considered the offer, they declined. They gave a reason as to why they did not feel that the education was needed. They told them that even though their young ones may be book smart they can not survive in the woods. They told them that white people could not hunt, run, and that they were "good for nothing". But being considerate people they offered to school the white boys, by showing them skills that they could use.

Even though Ben Franklin seen that, what was being done to the Native Americans



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