Puritans and native americans relationship to land

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puritans and native americans relationship to land

Puritan-Indian relations were further troubled by recurring disagreements over land use and land rights. Part of the problem stemmed from the groups'. Basically, Native Americans viewed land as something that was to be used These differences in opinion often led to clashes with the Europeans over land. Over the next decades, relations between settlers and Native Americans deteriorated as the former group occupied more and more land. with later groups who founded colonies in New England, such as the Puritans, the Pilgrims of Plymouth.

Native Americans and Massachusetts Bay Colony | History of American Women

They valued generosity rather than hoarding their assets, and the chiefs acquired honor through feasting and entertaining other chiefs. No one starved unless everyone starved. Native Peoples developed different strategies for dealing with the European settlers who began descending on their land in the seventeenth century. Some resisted, some fled their traditional homelands, and some made compromises.

While the Native Americans tried to make political alliances with the colonists, the Europeans were more interested in grabbing as much land as possible.

Native Americans vs Settlers vs Puritans

They lived in different areas during the year, depending on the season. Their mobile lifestyle meant that their homes had none of the possessions that were the sign of status in Europe.

Using matting, bark and pelts, they lived in easily built lodges. Relationships between the two groups were troubled by disagreements over land use and land rights. Part of the problem stemmed from their different attitudes toward land ownership. To the New England Natives, selling land did not mean granting exclusive, eternal ownership to the buyer.

It simply involved accepting a new neighbor and sharing their resources. The Puritans, though, were committed to private property ownership, and expected the Natives to immediately and permanently vacate their land upon its sale.

puritans and native americans relationship to land

To make a profit, the colonies had to export materials back to England. These included furs, which were very valuable in Europe.

In exchange for furs, the colonists gave the Native Americans metal implements, such as axe-heads and knives. But instead of the native style of warfare, which took hostages but had few casualties, the Europeans massacred the Native Americans, including women and children. More than half of the English settlers died during that first winter, as a result of poor nutrition and housing that proved inadequate in the harsh weather.

puritans and native americans relationship to land

Leaders such as Bradford, Standish, John Carver, William Brewster and Edward Winslow played important roles in keeping the remaining settlers together. Relations with Native Americans The native inhabitants of the region around Plymouth Colony were the various tribes of the Wampanoag people, who had lived there for some 10, years before the Europeans arrived.

Soon after the Pilgrims built their settlement, they came into contact with Tisquantum, or Squanto, an English-speaking Native American. Meant for slavery, he somehow managed to escape to England, and returned to his native land to find most of his tribe had died of plague.

In addition to interpreting and mediating between the colonial leaders and Native American chiefs including Massasoit, chief of the PokanoketSquanto taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn, which became an important crop, as well as where to fish and hunt beaver. In the fall ofthe Pilgrims famously shared a harvest feast with the Pokanokets; the meal is now considered the basis for the Thanksgiving holiday. Many Puritans who arrived in New England were convinced that the Indians they encountered represented remnants of the "Lost Tribes of Israel," a part of God's nation of chosen people that had gone astray and needed to be converted and saved.

This belief was in fact one of the central premises of the Massachusetts Bay Colony charter: In practice, Native Americans found that Puritan conversion practices could be extremely coercive and culturally insensitive.

For Indians, accepting Christianity generally involved giving up their language, severing kinship ties with other Indians who had not been "saved," and abandoning their traditional homes to live in European-style "Praying Towns. Except for the persistence of a few zealous missionaries like John Eliot, Puritans' enthusiasm for proselytizing among the natives had waned by the late seventeenth century.

Puritan-Indian relations were further troubled by recurring disagreements over land use and land rights. Part of the problem stemmed from the groups' fundamentally different attitudes toward land ownership. To the New England Indians, "selling" land did not mean granting exclusive, perpetual ownership to the buyer; instead, it involved accepting a new neighbor and sharing resources. The Puritans, on the other hand, were committed to the notion of private property and expected Native Americans immediately and permanently to vacate their land upon its sale.

Some Puritan settlers felt that they were entitled to Native American land because, in their view, the Indians were squandering the land's potential by failing to enclose it or to farm it in the English manner. The problems inevitably caused by these radically different concepts of land use and land ownership were compounded by the Puritans' increasing conviction that the Indians' claims were invalid anyway, because God intended to bestow New England upon the English.

Bythe minister Increase Mather wrote confidently about the Puritans' property rights over "the Heathen People amongst whom we live, and whose Land the Lord God of our Fathers has given to us for a rightful possession. This antagonistic perspective on the part of the Puritans enabled what critic Richard Slotkin calls "a new mythology of Puritan-Indian relationships in which war and exorcism replaced tutelage and conversion.

In Of Plymouth Plantation, William Bradford described the carnage wrought by the Puritans as a "sweet sacrifice" and "gave the praise thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully. Puritan-Indian hostilities erupted again in with King Philip's War, one of the most devastating wars in proportion to population in American history.

Native Americans and Massachusetts Bay Colony

Former Puritan allies like the Narragansetts banded together with other Algonquian tribes to oppose the English. In her narrative of captivity among the Indians during King Philip's War, Mary Rowlandson frequently employs standard Puritan demonizing rhetoric, calling her captors "infidels," "hell-hounds," and "savages," and insisting that they are a "scourge" sent by God to chasten and test his chosen people.

She reserves a special hatred for Native Americans who had experienced Christian conversion the "Praying Indians" ; in her view, they were nothing but hypocrites. Still, tensions and contradictions mark Rowlandson's narrative; she comes to see some Indians as individuals capable of humanity and charity, thus complicating her black-and-white worldview.