There are various people who have a curiosity of North America. This past week many international students have been attending Pima Community College in hopes of learning about the borderlands. Some of us often wonder about this continent and its origins. North America was home to a great amount of diverse individuals, even though it was not easy to generalize, this is what I picked up from the reading: First when the Europeans arrived, there weren’t any “artistic style” civilizations with human-made structures and empires like the Incas and Aztec, and second Native Americans had no guns, no wheels, no animals, no metal work and no written languages. However, they did have social and political structures, farming, and widespread trade networks.
Native Americans were those simple people who never utilized more than was needed and make use of guns–mostly defined by others as infantilization. Meaning, just because they didn’t own a specific object, they were somehow less evolved humans. Which is not the case.
Most tribes, and their lives were influenced by the natural resources available where they lived. Meaning west coast indians primarily lived by the act of fishing, gathering and hunting. Religion usually involved the luminous spiritual world consisting of ceremonies geared toward the tribe’s lifestyle.
Most Indian groups venerated a Creator of God who stood above all supreme beings. American Indians also perceived property very differently compared to Europeans. To the first settlers, land was a ordinary resource that village leaders could assign families to use (not own) and most land was seen as usual to everyone. So, many of us tend to idealize American Indians as being resistant from classification and avarice, as a matter of fact there was definitely class distinctions in indian tribes. For instance, rulers tended to originate in the same families. Wealth was equally distributed than it was in Europe. Also, women were often important religious leaders.
Women also often owned accommodations and tools although not land because once again that idea did not exist. The idea that Native Americans were ‘savages’, somehow purer than Europeans, and untouched by their immorality is not a new one. Not to mention, written literature did not exist for Native Americans, they suffered from the most dreadful character flaw of being able to have sexual inttercourse without feeling ashamed, and last but not least they weren’t Christians. The Spanish were the first Europeans to explore this part of the world. Juan Ponce de Leon arrived in what is now Florida in 1513 in search of God, Gold, and Glory, and failed to do so. One of the many Spaniard explorers in the first half of the 16th century, included Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca who wandered through the American southwest seeking for gold.
Of course, no person found any gold, but the European colonization was targeted easier by bringing a microorganism that demolished most native populations. In general, Florida being colonized was unpleasant because it was balmy and there were many mosquitoes. Not a big fan of those hideous insects. By all means Spain was very successful at colonizing the American Southwest. In 1610, Spain established its first settlement in the Southwest at Santa Fe, New Mexico, which we can say it didn’t really flourished, since Santa Fe’s population was about less than 3,000.
New Mexico is very important due to being the site of the first large scale uprising by Native Americans against Europeans. Nevertheless, while the Spanish saw all the Pueblos as one people, they also knew there were tribal differences that made it difficult for the Indians to unite and rise up against Spanish. In 1680, Pope being a religious leader organizes an uprising to drive the Spaniards out. Ouch! In conclusion, American Indians didn’t have the use of writing, so we don’t have evidence of their perspectives. Overall, throughout this reading I pointed out to myself that I had to remember is the amount of written sources about American history there is. Every story we hear comes from a certain point of view, and we always have to take into consideration who is speaking, why they’re speaking, and most importantly which voices go unheard and why.