1492 Contact - 1492: European Contact European Background...

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1492: European Contact European Background to American Religion
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Cotton Mather on the Origin of Native Americans “Though we know not when or how these Indians first became the inhabitants of this mighty continent, yet we may guess that probably the devil decoyed those miserable savages hither in hopes that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ would never come here to destroy or disturb his absolute empire over them” Cotton Mather (1663-1728), American Puritan and Participant in Salem Witch Trials
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European Perceptions of Native Americans Ni Foi Ni Loi Ni Roi Neither Faith Nor Law Nor King This Mohawk symbol, representing different clans, illustrates the shared governance system of native peoples, that puzzled more autocratic Europeans.
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Columbus’s Account “I have not been able to discover any idolatry of other religious belief among them.” Idolatry = worship of idols; idols defined as a false god, usually represented in a physical form, such as a statue or other object Irony - Columbus is unaware that this insult, “idolatry,” will soon be turned against his people - Catholic Christians - by Protestant Christians in the Reformation
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Houses of Worship and Cemies “each of the many kings in Hispaniola… has his special house apart from the village. This house contains only wooden images, carved in relief, and called by them cemies”
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Arawak/Taino People Have Religion? Why does he say that the native peoples have no religion, and then go on to describe a functioning religion? Think through a few possibilities…
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1492 Contact - 1492: European Contact European Background...

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