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NativePaper_Final - 1 Eric Stern Anthro 2400 Advancement...

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1 Eric Stern Anthro 2400 2/11/09 Advancement: For Better and For Worse Although the proliferation of advanced ideas and ultimately Christianity from Europe to the Americas is historically viewed as a time of great excitement and discovery, the conquistadors also performed many heinous acts against the local inhabitants. Many of those from Europe viewed the natives as barbarians or lesser people for not being as technologically advanced, and thus decided to use them as slaves to perform the manual labor the Europeans needed to colonize. However, not all of the Europeans were in favor of using the locals as slave labor. The King of Spain, after receiving word that his subjects were causing unnecessary harm to the natives, decided to hold a council to determine the best course of action. The King recognized the wrong doings of his people, and decreed for the Spanish to halt their actions. However, this enraged many men, who then turned to Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda to persuade the King to change his mind. Sepúlveda did not argue unopposed, for the Bishop of Chiapa, Bartolomé de Las Casas, spoke out for the Indians of the New World. The debate between Sepúlveda and Las Casas also relates to contemporary issues of cultural diversity. Sepúlveda begins his argument by outlining the ways in which the Indians are barbaric. Unlike the Spaniards, the Indians are uninstructed in letters and matters of government. Also, Sepúlveda claims that the natives can only learn mechanical arts. This last argument is used to support the claim that the natives should be used as slave labor for the Spaniards. Sepúlveda justifies these claims by point to the sixth chapter of the
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2 third book of Oviedo’s General History of the Indes (de Las Casas). Turning to a new subject, Sepúlveda states that the Indians must accept the rule of the Spanish so they can be corrected and punished for their sins and “crimes against the divine and natural laws” (de Las Casas 13). Sepúlveda focuses on the Indian’s act of human sacrifice as a major sin. He points to ancient peoples of the Holy Lands, who were slaughtered for their sacrificial actions. Sepúlveda exclaims that the Indians inflict
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NativePaper_Final - 1 Eric Stern Anthro 2400 Advancement...

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