Sept. 7th Question: First Contact

It was great to meet you all yesterday! I’m excited to work with you this semester.

As a reminder, please note that we will be having a brief reading quiz on Chapter One at our next class meeting, on Wednesday, Sept. 9. You can download the review sheet here.

Below please find the website question for this upcoming week. This comment is not required, but make sure to start to plan how you will schedule out the minimum six comments (keeping in mind that there are three required ones: Aug. 29, Oct. 5, and Oct. 31). If you have not done so already, please comment on the previous question as it is one of the required ones. (Please note that if you choose to write on a question, you typically would have to do it by Monday morning, but since we aren’t meeting this Monday, you have until early Wednesday morning for this one):

What do you think the moment of contact between Native Americans and Europeans was like? Try to imagine what was going on inside the heads of people on both sides, and write a few sentences from each perspective.

To help you think about this, you can take a look at the opening scene from Terrence Malick’s film, The New World (2005), which imagines what the American Indians and English might have been experiencing at this moment in Virginia in 1607 (as you will learn from the reading, this was not the first time that the English tried to set up a colony in this area). Your comment doesn’t have to be about the clip (for example, you might want to think about Columbus and the Taino–the latter are pictured above–or the Mexica and Spanish conquistadores instead), but if you do write about the clip, make sure to relate it to the textbook reading.

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Published in: on September 1, 2011 at 5:09 pm  Comments (19)  

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  1. I think the first initial contact between Native Americans and the Europeans had both parties on guard. The Native Americans being territorial and ready to fight and protect their home from invaders coming in on weird looking ships and wearing funny looking clothes. The Europeans not sure what to expect but ready to defend themselves from whatever these barbaric people with sticks might throw their way.

  2. I think the moment of contact between Native Americans and Europeans was hostile. Since the Europeans had alot of clothing, guns and gunpowder it was very strange for the Native Americans. Being so used to seeing their race, their own language and rituals, seeing Europeans ( strangers) made them very defensive not knowing what they had in mind. The main intention of the Native Americans was driving the Europeans away.

  3. In the film of Terrence Malick, The New World (2005), shows that what might be the moment of contact between the American Indians and English like in Virginia in 1607. In the American Indians viewpoints is that those white europeans are their guests, so help the whites as much as they could. also the indians probably think that the whites are superior beings since they wear better clothings and advance weapons. in the contrast, in the europeans’ mind is to settle down, explore and conquer the america and drive indians out of their lands.

  4. Without a doubt i believe the initial contact was tense. Both, the Natives and Europeans, could of been excited to see unfamiliar people but, just as soon, they could wonder whether or not the unfamiliars are friendlies or foes and become hostile. Although initial contact was tense, the Europeans travelers needed to be taught to survive, having this in mind, i believe their priority was not to challenge the natives, but to be emphatic and show appreciation.

  5. I think both parties might have been amazed at first to see a group of people who’s culture and lifestyle their not familiar with but from the history books i’ve read its said the europeans thought the natives to be savages because of their arrows and lack of clothing and started to be hostile towards them while the natives tried welcoming their guests.

  6. I will think of it as an invasion. If i was the leader of the natives i should know that the people with superior power and intelligence would be a threat to my people.Therefore we must either leave or fight. But in there case instead of being hostile with the guest they showed them appreciation, but not knowing what was worst to come to there homes and people.

    – Raymond Liang

  7. I believe that both the Indians and the europeans were thinking to themselves caution. Everyone did not have knowledge on each other. As warriors and explorers caution should be on their minds. Mostly for survival purpose. Europeans were trained for war and knew how to approach when interring unknown territory. I would have loved to see the look on everyones face.

  8. i agree with my fellow classmates. in a sense where they were territorial tribes. having both war-like features along with territorial features i could gather that they weren’t so please to see other people in ships coming towards their land. With their gaurds up, they tried to fight. They were into protecting their village as well as their crops, children and families. It couldnt of been a pretty sight i imagine.

  9. The first contact between Native Americans and Europeans must of been competitive because both groups of people maintained different life styles and different status of class. For example, Europeans were developed more since they were able to travel by boat across the sea unlike like the natives that maintained life through hunting and gathering. However, although competition existed between the two groups, both Europeans and Natives were excited to exchange goods, for new material in their society. Once new “inventions” are created and spread, development occurs as well as growth and industrialization.

  10. I believe I read somewhere, where the Native Americans considered the Europeans white devils. You can’t really fault them for that seeing how the Europeans brought them disease that they had no control over and no way to cure. In addition to trying to kill them off they used there supposed mistake as a way to conquer their land. It is a known fact that Europeans seen the Indians as savages and considered their way of life uncivilized. They didn’t take the time to look at the beauty of the culture.

  11. I think the contact between the Europeans and the native Americans gave shape to our today’s world, even i think treatment to the native Americans were too cruel and from my point of view they deserved some more respect because the native americans owned this land first than the europeans

  12. I believe Native American Indians were impressed by Europeans because they Had never seen their ships, weapons, and clothes.

    European thought Natives were animalistic because they were not civilized, and did not have lead their lives in proper manners.and the worst of Natives, Europeans thought, was that they did not have any religion. So Europeans decided to civilize natives.

  13. I think the first moment of contact was surprising for both the Native Americans and the Europeans. But I think the Native Americans were more amazed to see the Europeans because they were so much more advanced then they were. The Europeans I feel looked down on the Native Americans and their way of life. Overall I think at first both the Native Americans and the Europeans considered each other a threat.

  14. Native American Perspective: Considering all the facts and factors at the time, I think at the first contact the Native Americans were friendly in a hopeful sense, they were known as kind people, as we see all throughout history. The Native American’s became threatened but which they reacted by attack, which is understandable since there was no other way to respond at the time. The Indians were the farmers of the land and believers in the land, but the Europeans were invading to destroy and conquer which opposes the Native Americans belief that no one owns the land, the earth or the water.
    European Perspective: The truth is Europeans came to the New World to conquer the land. They seek more land, more wealth, and a new nation. The Europeans came with all forces to discovered land and demolished those who tried to take it/ keep it from them. I believe that war had started at first contact simply because the Europeans thought they were inferior and inferior meant doing anything to show power.

  15. I think that both native americans and the europeans were both in the lookout for any sort of movements from one another. once seeing the europeans arriving would have probably felt like an invasion for the natives. but seeing the natives in the perspective of the europeans must have been like going to the moon and finding aliens. always being cautious and having a guard up just in case of anyone striking violently.

  16. I believe that both the American Natives and the Europeans didn’t expect the encounter at all. When the Europeans were sailing, they found that land by accident. Thinking that nobody was claiming the land, they decided to claim the land for themselves. Now in the American Natives perspective, they probably didn’t think a day like that day would ever come or happen to them. The American Natives probably didn’t even think that there could have been a world outside of there own. I’m sure all they knew was how to survive, so running into the Europeans caught them off guard. Throughout history, the American Natives were known as nice people so they treated the new comers (Europeans) like family, treated them with respect. The American Natives chose to share their land with the Europeans, instead of starting an all out territory war first thing, they gave the Europeans a shot, thinking that the Europeans were as friendly as they were. Their first encounter was something special, nobody could predict what could have happened, it was just a very intense moment between the American Natives and the Europeans. No side saw this coming but it seemed to have been handled pretty well.

  17. I think the Native Americans were shocked and confused when they encountered the Europeans. They were shocked because they dress completely different and they had weapons that they never seen before, not to mention they came on a ship. I believe they were confused because they had no idea where they came from or what they want from them. The encounter is kind of like when a new kid moves on your block from another country that is not famliar in your neighborhood. You immediately start scoping them out and ask a thousands of questions.

  18. The first thoughts that came to mind putting myself into the shoes of each side were a little biased and confused (only because i know what happens to the Indians). But here it goes:

    Indians: What tribe is this? i do not understand their language (assuming they said language). They look different and act strangely, they do not respect the land. Why do they try to claim what cannot be claimed?

    Europeans: (i blanked) The people here, they interact in the strangest ways. They do not cover up enough, do not speak in an intelligible manner. They maybe able to help us settle.

    (i think this is what you meant by the question).

  19. I think it would have been hostile from both sides. Coming from different parts of the world and having different customs. The one main thing they would have in common is mans struggle for survival. The difference is the indian was not as “civilized”. The indian would have been more accepting to the change than the whites. The whites react in fear. And would be afraid of the indian.


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