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Native Americans

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When the Europeans started to arrive in the 16th- and 17th-century they were met by Native Americans. The Natives regarded their white-complexioned visitors as something of a marvel, not only for their dress and beards and winged ships but even more for their wonderful technology - steel knives and swords, fire-belching arquebus and cannon, mirrors, hawkbells and earrings, copper and brass kettles, and so on.

However, conflicts eventually arose. As a starter, the arriving Europeans seemed attuned to another world, they appeared to be oblivious to the rhythms and spirit of nature. Nature to the Europeans - and the Indians detected this - was something of an obstacle, even an enemy. It was also a commodity: A forest was so many board feet of timber; a beaver colony so many pelts, a herd of buffalo so many robes and tongues. Even the Indians themselves were a resource - souls ripe for the Jesuit, Dominican, or Puritan plucking.

The natives operated in a way that the Europeans didn't. Being embedded in a culture that solely relied on Mother Nature for resources; the Natives had a tremendous respect for the land and its products. Hunting was primarily accomplished by home made weapons; eating was performed by hands and not utensils. Their clothing was derived from animals that were killed for food. They used each item to its maximum capacity. Wasting was a luxury that they couldn't afford.

Europeans came with the preconceived notion that they were going to "help" the locals. They were already advanced and knowledgeable about several different things. They were primarily explorers who came to this country and took advantage of its resources.

It was the Europeans' cultural arrogance, coupled with their materialistic view of the land and its animal and plant beings that the Indians found repellent. Europeans, in sum, were regarded as something mechanical - soulless creatures who wielded diabolically ingenious tools



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