AMH1 - Michelle Stephens AMH 2010 Responses to New Contact...

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Michelle Stephens AMH 2010 Responses to New Contact in the New World
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Many explorers of the New World, upon discovering the native peoples, thought them to be savages, rather than capable of any equal standing. Christopher Columbus describes them as “a people very deficient in everything. They all go naked… They have no iron.” (Columbus, ed. Las Casas, RTAP, 9) He goes to say that the natives would make “good servants and [being] of quick intelligence.” (Columbus, ed. Las Casas, RTAP, 9-10) The latter proves to be true in that the Natives realize that these explorers are there to claim their land and they quickly figure out how to work the system. The power struggles of the New World take on more than violence, which seems to be the defining characteristic of these times; but in economic and political terms as well. Among these conflicts is an example of the Narragansett tribe following the simple if- you-can’t-beat-‘em, join-‘em theory. After their leader, Miantonomo, is captured and killed by a fellow tribe at the prompting of the Massachusetts’ colonists, they decide to take a non-violent action. Instead of picking up weapons to take “Satisfaction,” (Andrews, RTAP, 55) as many tribes would have done in these times, the Narragansett people freely submit to the English government, thereby making them equal subjects, and equal to the people of the Massachusetts colony. The Indians ask, in their submission letter to King Charles to put “unto the protection, care, and… upon the condition of his Majesties’ royal protection,” (Sachem, ed. Bartlett,
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AMH1 - Michelle Stephens AMH 2010 Responses to New Contact...

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