Conflict Between Native Americans & the Europeans

The Europeans who came to the New World in the early years of their exploration of this region found an indigenous people who had a complex civilization with a very different cultural base than did the Europeans. The history of the conflict between the Europeans and the Native Americans was from the first was a history of cultural conflict as each group sought to preserve aspects of its culture in the face of the other culture. This conflict is described by Gary B. Nash in his book and is depicted in the film The Black Robe, made in 1991 and directed by Bruce Beresford.

The film involves one particular European group, the French, and the indian tribes the French sought to convert to Christianity, but the interactions shown in the film are true tow hat Nash says took place among all the European and Indian groups in North America. Nash finds that one group has dominated our thinking because the history of colonial America has been written primarily in terms of the English. Nash says this has caused us to overlook the intra-European rivalries involving the many different European groups which arrived during the seventeenth century, and it also caused us to ignore how the French, Dutch, and Spanish colonizers related to the Indians. He cites one historian, Francis Parkman, who did address the issue by stating that "Spanish civilization crushed the Indians; English civilization scorned and neglected him; French civilization embraced and cherished him" (Nash 88).



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