creatures of empire

creatures of empire - Brittany Newell Creatures of Empire...

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Brittany Newell 810-83-9618 Creatures of Empire Essay The Indian culture of early America and the culture of the coming English settlers couldn’t have been much more different from each other. Due to these extreme differences, conflict slowly started to brew under the surface when the separate cultures came in contact for the first time in America. Virginia DeJohn Anderson examines this complex and intriguing struggle between the two cultures, in her book Creatures of Empire , arguing that the central conflict and catalyst for war was the livestock that was brought over by the settlers. In it, she claims that despite the cultural difference, conflict didn’t erupt for almost fifty years due to slow population growth within the colonies, and also hesitation from the Indians to attack the beasts or the colonists. Either group faced drastic differences when it came to their separate ideas of ownership of livestock. The English believed in dominion. They wanted totally control over their animals and they wanted to domesticate them. They believed a man with a domesticated animal meant a man who was civilized. This was especially important to the settlers of New England who believed that the domination over animals was part of their christianly duties. The bible said that men were created in God’s eye, and because of this a hierarchy was created. God put animals under the control of people and the people of New England firmly believed that dominating the animals was part of their religious practices. To them animals “were confined to an earthly existence…” (p 53) and the fact that humans have souls, made them more important. Human’s have “The divine “breath of life…””. (p 52) This became the origin of the belief in human
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domination. The Indians lacked this religious thinking and had a whole different outlook on the human and animal relationship. The Indians believed in manitous, or an animal spirit. They believed that the “animals offered themselves as gifts to humans in return for evidence of gratitude and respect.” (p 29). Even hunting was done with respectful rituals. They had a precise
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creatures of empire - Brittany Newell Creatures of Empire...

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