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European Contact on Native Americans

European Contact on Native Americans

There are few other examples in history of two cultures being so different as the Native Americans and the soon to be European settlers encountered. There are two big concepts that I could imagine Europeans having great difficulty understanding about indigenous culture. The first concept I think the Europeans would have great difficulty understanding is the natives idea of land. The Native Americans tied themselves very closely with the land they lived on as they would use it for things such as food, shelter, and navigation. It seems as if the Natives only took from the land what they needed from it as the land was not viewed as the property of men but as its own separate entity that demanded great respect. On the other hand, the Europeans view was completely different as they viewed the owning of property as a symbol of power and success in ones life. From this, it is not hard to tell that this misunderstanding between the two peoples caused big problems for the Natives as the more industrialized Europeans moved to North America in the conquest for the land the Native Americans were living on. Another great misconception the Europeans had was the notion of the Native Americans being one big group of people with one culture. This notion was completely wrong and as a matter of fact according to Dean Snow’s story, the Native Americans on the East coast alone were speaking at least 68 different languages representing merely five of the 20 language families in North America at the time. The language was not the only thing different amongst tribes as different tribes would build different types of shelter, use different methods of agriculture, and have different religious customs to name a few. If the Europeans could of recognized this sooner, they may have been able to communicate with the Natives better. The Europeans could have also looked at the many different cultures as a learning tool for different things such as ways of navigation, hunting, and...

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