False representation of Native Americans Essay

This essay has a total of 651 words and 4 pages.


false representation of Native Americans





Marie Maffei
Dr. Jordan
College Writing II
February 4, 2001
Bias History
While researching the early relations between the American Indians, and the first European
settlers, Jane Tompkins found that the way history was recorded seemed to mislead her. In
her essay “ ‘ Indians’: Textualism, Morality, and the problem of
History,” Tompkins found that the historians put prejudice facts, and looked down
upon Native Americans. Clearly it is seen that even through time, historians are still
this way. This dilemma must be illuminated to find out who and why this has happened.

Some of the historical cases that Tompkins read were of the time of the exploration. When
first coming to America, the Europeans knew only the life that they lived, so when they
saw what the Native Americans were doing, they were perplexed. Seeing what they did,
puritans automatically came to the assumption that they were barbaric savages. Some of the
earliest accounts often change views and could confuse people. One source says that they
were loving people, the others tell of how they treated each other and captives. William
Wood, a writer in London, wrote, “…they are loving people, but also win the
love of those that never saw them, and wipe off that needless fear that is too deeply
rooted in the conceits…”(272). On a contrary to this Alexander Whitaker, a
minister, wrote “these naked slaves…serve the divell for feare, after a most
base manner, sacrificing sometimes…their own children” (573). In this
situation it is hard to tell what the American Indians were really like. Either they were
too different tribes, or they felt like manipulating the prosperous settlers. Little did
they realize that people would look back to this information hundreds of years later

Early writers, giving the perception of Native Americans as they did,
“rectified” the more resent and not so recent historians. Historians of this
era, such as Perry Miller, tend to view the American Indians the same way that the first
discoverers did. He writes of how the United States was “vacant” when first
explored. Perhaps he is missing the key element of the Native Americans. This view, or not
one at all, of not associating American Indians as people has been passed down from
generation to generation. When Tompkins was a child she remembered going to the park to
see the Native Americans being shown off as if they were caged animals in a zoo, although
she always thought that going to see them was a “disappointment.” This is how
she was brought up to be, but her mind didn’t stay hooked on that and keep her
feeling superior. There were many after the 1960’s that started to view the Native
Continues for 2 more pages >>