Indians & Europeans Encounters Between Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

The underlying beliefs from which their entire cultures were based on stemmed from the exact same teachings of religious hierarchy, explanations about an unfamiliar world, and beliefs that brought social order to their respective societies.

Family life was an aspect that both united and differentiated the Indians from the Europeans. Early on it was evident to the Europeans that family life was vastly essential to the Indians who valued their family more than anything. To the Indians, outsiders were just that: outsiders. As Kupperman stated, "whereas in England most children left home in early adolescence, Indian parents kept them at home until they were adults" (Kupperman a. 153). This notion was viewed as something novel to the English who saw their own family unit and respect as deteriorating (Kupperman b. 133). The Indians depended on one another for virtually everything. Indian parents cared for their children in such a way that would prepare them for their survival in the world, so that in return their children would do the same as their parents aged and had to become more dependent on others. Outsiders were not taken in too well, as it was the family unit's responsibility to care for their own, unlike the Europeans at the time (Taylor 32).

Despite an attempt to reach a common ground among both the Indians and the Europeans, their respective presence created a sense of fear among both cultures. They were both attempting to understand their new experiences, but feared losing grasp of their own culture (Kupperman a. 57). This fear brought on civil wars between the Europeans and the Indians, and even within the different Indian tribes. While attempting to educate the other about their own individual practices, the line of teaching and forcing ideas upon one another, was blurred. As is stated in Kupperman's text, "…some native practitioners crossed over into English life and attempted to bring their own natural and supernatural powers to bear on the project of controlling the newcomers" (Kupperman a. 184). Both cultures bared a resemblance to one another in terms of their underlying societal structures, but when it came to finding peace with one another, their strong characters and their strong belief that the other culture was not conducting things in the correct manner, never allowed for a peaceful arrangement. It was this same notion that inevitably lead to the downfall of the Indians and the eventual genocide that was committed by the Europeans, "the enemy -- people who were permanently on idealogical or religious grounds or temporarily for strategic reasons outsiders -- was treated as the other" (Kupperman 232).

This resistance that both cultures eventually gave into shaped history. Although it may seem that Indians and Europeans had such few factors in common, they indeed were able to find some common ground that led to the peaceful living among one another. Throughout their first encounters, as is with any culture even in the modern world, a sense of confusion was felt. Neither the Indians nor the Europeans knew about the existence of one another and as a result of this perplexing situation, once they met, they were filled with reservation about the others intent. But their joining forces led to the establishment of a stable community at first. They found their common ground. Social hierarchy and status was a factor that mattered greatly to both groups of cultures. Financial gain and survival was something that both cultures helped each other with. They were indeed able to establish meaningful connections that lead to their mutual benefits. But the fear that each respective culture felt about losing their roots and their true identity, led to the forceful attempt of making one culture try to assimilate and adapt to the other. This attempt at ultimately controlling the other without much choice was guided by the religious beliefs that each had. Although the underlying foundation on which both the Indian and European societies were based on were quite similar to one another, their focus on their differences led to the destruction of the Indian culture.

Works Cited:

DuVal, Kathleen. The Native Ground: Indians and Colonists in the Heart of the Continent. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2006. Print.

Kupperman, Karen Ordahl. Indians and English: Facing off in Early America. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 2000. Print.

Kupperman, Karen Ordahl. Major Problems in American Colonial History: Documents and Essays. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.

Kupperman, Karen Ordahl. The Atlantic in World…

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