Native Americans In The North American Colonies Essay

The experiences of the Native Americans and the Africans in the North American colonies during the colonial period differed greatly, but were also similar in many ways. The natives were just that, natives; they owned land that was taken from them by European settlers who came from a land faraway. The settlers came to the natives’ land, and were at a disadvantage because most of their people had died from diseases or hunger whilst crossing the ocean to find a New World. The natives saw how pathetic they were and approached them in offer of trades, which would lead to good relations between the two groups (After the Mayflower).

Years after the natives’ initial act of kindness, the settlers became greedy demanding their land, and threatening their villages if they didn’t supply them with it. Because of the threat of destruction to their villages, the natives retaliated by attacking the settlers which ultimately led to the demise of the natives. “Africans, on the other hand, were struck by the shock of the new at the moment of their enslavement, well before they stepped on board ship or set foot on American soil” (Merrell article, page 538).

Africans were enslaved, and taken from their homeland, from everything they knew. They were deemed not only different, but inferior, and as such were treated that way at the hand of unscrupulous slave owners. They were forced to move to a new land, work under people, and were beaten if they did anything not to the standards of their owners. Comparably the Native Americans and Africans were put into dilemmas where they had to assimilate to the ways of the Europeans in order to survive, and they were under European control.

In spite of the way the Native Americans were treated by the Europeans, they most likely viewed freedom as something that is gained. This was shown in one way through Massasoit’s son Philip continuing on to a war where the outcome was against him in order to show that the natives would not be voluntarily under the control of the Europeans (After the Mayflower). The natives are a people who will not be defeated in their hearts. They will stay and fight their cause because once something is started it needs to be finished.

Tecumseh and his people told the British, who had just turned their backs on them, that they didn’t care if they left, but to leave their weapons because they were staying to fight for their cause. (Tecumseh’s vision). The Native Americans’ mindset of freedom, it can be gained through hard work, has been mostly the same over time. When the settlers originally came there was the idea that they should leave them alone to die out because the settlers were not able to offer any obvious benefits to the natives.

As time went on, the natives decided to help the settlers because the two groups’ relationships would strengthen which would help with trade, and extra protection in case any tribes in the area declared war; they were allies. Then, after the settlers were no longer trustworthy, they fought with them to maintain their freedom. (After the Mayflower). Other natives decided that fighting would not be wise, and to communicate with the Europeans in order to work out a balanced relationship. Later on, they found this option futile, and ended up going to war to protect their interests as well (Tecumseh’s vision).

The Africans most likely had no grasp of what freedom was because Europeans would come into Africa and kidnap children, men, and women to bring back to Britain to enslave (Africans in America: A Terrible Transformation). The younger the child, the less likely they would remember their homes, or if a black woman gave birth to a child while enslaved, the child was born into a life of slavery and it would be all they had ever known. The prospect of slavery was the expected life of Africans, and so their view of slavery was likely to be slim because they would always live in fear of slavery.

If one is in is enslaved inside their mind already from fear, they will have a limited view on life and freedom forever. The Africans’ view on freedom was almost certainly transfigured throughout the colonial period. The Africans were originally a free group of people who likely viewed freedom as a great thing, but as time went on and Europeans came into Africa to take people as their slaves (Africans in America: A Terrible Transformation,) they might have seen liberty as a thing to be cherished because anyone could be taken and enslaved at any moment.

As more Africans were enslaved, and children were born into slavery, they presumably only saw their lives as belonging to other because it was that way for so long becaus as Olaudah Equiano stated “I continued to travel …. till, at the end of six or seven months after I had been kidnapped, I arrived at the sea coast (Voices of Freedom, page 65). Because of all the ways that the Africans and Native Americans’ ideas on freedom changed, I believe that the thought of freedom and the drive to push for it was expanding, but the actual freedom in the colonies was contracting rapidly.

The Native Americans, even when not physically enslaved, were trapped by the things that the Europeans brought to trade like liquor which “proved both impossible to resist and extraordinarily destructive” ( Merrell article, page 549). Both groups, the Africans and Native Americans, were so very dominated by the Europeans that their freedoms grew increasingly smaller, and they were mainly helpless to resist it.