Upon the European’s discovery and colonization of the Americas an irreversible
transformation was triggered. The extreme differences in the cultures of the Europeans
and Native Americans would prove to be fatal to the way of life that existed before
It appears that the majority of the actions of the Native Americans towards the new
European colonists were in peace and acceptance. Unfortunately the colonists dreams
conflicted with the views of the Native Americans. The ‘free living’ philosophy of the
Native American’s left them open to an unexpected overtaking by the colonists. The
Europeans believed in making a new world out of America while completely disregarding the
fact that there was already an Old World.
The English learned quite a bit about survival in the “New World” from the Native
Americans. They were taught how to construct and use nets for catching fish. Also they
were taught how to construct canoes, a great method of transportation and hunting. The
Native Americans showed them their ways of agriculture which were far superior to the
methods of the English.
In the 1580’s the English settlers feared the Native Americans because the land was new
and unknown to them. They did not understand the ways of the Native Americans and feared
them. From the settler’s perspective they needed to claim and posses land in order to
feel safe. Many English settlers had read articles about the Native Americans prior to
there journey to the Americas. The French and Spanish had portrayed the Native Americans
as “Indians”. Christopher Columbus wrote that the Native Arawak Indians he encountered as
“loving people without covetousness”. Others early explorers also wrote of the Native
Americans friendliness and helpfulness. These images sat well with the expectations of
the English, who were originally interested in trading with the Native Americans. As more
people reported about there encounters and opinions of the Native Americans the interests
of the English soon changed.
Native Americans were soon portrayed as savage animals because of the lack of
understanding of the Settlers. The culture of the Native Americans was so different from
the culture of the English that the English would soon look at the natives as inferior.
The Native Americans were deemed hostile, bestial, cursed by God, primitive beings with
inferior knowledge and language. Also the English commonly thought of them as crafty,
brutal, loathsome, cannibalistic and promiscuous. These negative images of the Native
Americans grew from stories passed from settler to settler which were commonly
misinterpretations with very little truth. The English have developed a long history of
moving in to land foreign to there’s and exploiting the local people for their prosperity.