Common Pasts - Sarah Brodsky 18514113 Sociology 3AC Common...

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Sarah Brodsky: 18514113 Sociology 3AC 10/13/06 Common Pasts The native peoples of North and South America had very similar experiences of domination in the past. The movie The Mission illustrates how the dominant group of South America, the Portuguese, used religion to manipulate the Natives. After the Spanish Jesuits gained the trust of the Natives and gradually converted them to Christianity, the Portuguese used the native’s newly found religion as a tool for controlling the natives. When the Portuguese wanted the natives to move into the mission, the Portuguese said that the will of god commanded the natives to move into the mission and assimilate into the Portuguese’s more “civilized” culture. Then, when the Portuguese wanted the natives to move out of the mission, they told the natives again that the will of god commanded the natives to move out. The natives questioned their argument, but the Portuguese told the natives that they could talk to god and speak his will. This circular reasoning on the Portuguese’s part illustrates how they used religion to manipulate the natives into doing whatever they wanted. C. Matthew Snipp also talks about how the English used religion to manipulate and assimilate the Native North Americans, “The federal government… [created] boarding schools and the allotment acts- both were intended to ‘civilize’ and assimilate American Indians into American society by Christianizing them, educating them, introducing them to private property, and making them into farmers” (Snipp, 35). According to Snipp, the English also used religion as the means for assimilating the Native North Americans into white culture. By using religion as justification, the dominant groups in both parts of America could get their natives to do whatever they wanted.
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