MODULE TWO NOTES (1) HTY.docx - Module Two Summary/Notes...

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Module Two Summary/Notes In Module Two, we learned about the impact of European trade goods, including metal, glass beads and horses on Native American societies and how the desire for these items changed the natives forever, for both the good and bad. One such result was warfare between neighboring tribal groups who sought to gain new territory in order to access beaver trapping grounds/dams for trade with the Europeans. (Beaver pelts were a huge fashion fad in Europe, beautiful and basically water resistant. It didn’t take long, however, to exhaust the supply of beaver in one’s traditional hunting ground, hence the push to move into someone else’s territory, uninvited and unwelcomed.) One could say that a type of domino effect happened once the natives were introduced to new things, with one event impacting another in the pursuit of trade with the Europeans, including the kidnapping or taking of captives between warring native nations to trade slaves to the Spanish, and other Europeans. (The Spanish wanted slaves, basically children, and offered the native peoples of the Great Plains horses in return. The natives quickly adopted a strong horse culture and were willing to victimize their neighbors to get them.) “Spanish Guilt” It’s important to note that the Spanish “explorers” were not, for the most part, trained soldiers. Many were men with varied backgrounds, some of which were criminals and thugs who lacked basic military discipline. They also had a driving desire to get rich, and they didn’t care how they did it, especially when they were so far from home and Spanish authority. The only thing larger than their desire for gold was to survive, and that was at times a great challenge. Spaniards ate, for example, in one mere day what an average native family of four ate in a week! They were hungry most of the time and were on a constant quest to find food. There are historic references to these men entering small villages, demanding food from the inhabitants and then killing people when they felt the natives were 1
hiding food from them. The truth was that these native people in many cases only had a small amount to eat and had nothing left to give these white men. The Spanish, though, never believed them and made “examples” out of these so- called “lying heathens” by throwing their children to ravenous war dogs, or by running a cold steel sword through someone. There’s a word for this type of barbaric behavior, and today we call it “terrorism”. It’s quick, effective and easy to do, and these tactics are certainly not new to the human condition. The Europeans who used them had thousands of years of history to call upon in this regard. The Spanish also needed translators – natives who could speak both Spanish and native languages, and there were many native languages. (Remember what I said earlier about the natives being multilingual?) How do they accomplish this? 1)

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