Differences In Political Economy And Gender Diversity Between Indians And Europeans Essay Samples

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Europe, America, United States, Life, People, Gender, Women, Relationships

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/11/28

In most of missionary essays about the period of colonization of North America, the Iroquois and other Indian tribes were described as violent people who don`t even know about the civilization.
Many Indians were skilled artisans. They made pottery, baskets, wood carving, weaving of cotton and vegetable fibers. They traveled in small boats or by foot. The Indians also were brave and fearless warriors. Who were Indians or, as they are also called, Native Americans? How did they live and what were the differences between them and the Europeans?
Followed by Columbus, other Europeans gushed to the New World very soon. Spanish settlers arrived in North America in the early 16th century. They arrived where nowadays the states Florida and California are situated, and in Southwestern parts of the continent. The Europeans sent out missionaries who were teaching the Indians Christianity and agriculture. Other Europeans, for example the French and the Dutch, came to the New World in search of a good profit. Some were seduced by the riches of the Atlantic Coast; others were interested in trading with Indians. They exchanged guns, metal tools, whiskey and beads on the skins of beaver and other animals. The Europeans thought that a large part of the Indian lands was free. Maybe it`s because the Indians did not "improve land" with fences, wells, buildings and cities. Many settlers believed that the Indians were savages and that their life had no value. They decided they had a full right to take and plow the Indian lands, considering them as their private property (SWAMINATHAN, 2015). The Indians believed that every human must equally use the land. They worshipped the land, which gave them food, clothing and a roof over their heads. They took it only when it was really needed, so they couldn`t understand why the settlers were killing animals in the forests without any reason or a need. They did not like roads and towns, which were spoiling the "face of the Earth". For the Europeans the game existed just for killing it, the land - just to own and handle it. Most of them did not consider it necessary to discuss with the Indians if they gave them their lands. In order to make a place for the new settlers, the Indians` hunting grounds, fields, even Indian cities were taken and it had been done with wars, threats and military agreements (Kupperman, 1980).
The Iroquois, who inhabited the area below Erie and Ontario lakes, on the territory of the present States of New York and Pennsylvania, were more successful in their resistance to "white people". In 1570, five tribes came together and formed the Democratic Nation, or the League of the Iroquois. The League was governed by a Council, which included 50 representatives from each of the five tribes. The Council dealt with problems equal for all tribes. None of the tribes were allowed to enter the war independently. The Council had adopted legislation aimed at combating such crime as a murder (Richter, 2009).
In the 17th and 18th centuries, the League was a strong state. Indians traded furs with England and stood on the England`s side in the war against France, which lasted from 1754 to 1763. It is possible that without Iroquois League`s support Britain wouldn`t win the war. In this case, North America would have had a completely different history.
Indian economic relations were completely opposite to the European. Their principles resembled something directly opposite to the capitalist laws. The difference between Indians and Europeans in class and gender can be explained by different viewpoints on the world itself. From the viewpoint of Indians, the essence of life lies in the reciprocity. Reciprocity became their way of life, and every inner “institutions”, for example, work, hunt, property and family, were based upon this idea. The reciprocity means “sharing”: if you give something to this life, in response, life gives you more. That is why every member of the tribe has his or her own duties, they were responsible for different fields of work, but they contributed it to the whole. The hierarchy that was a distinctive feature of the arrived could not find its place in their lives. The Europeans had more strict way of life, living according to the deep-seated system (LUJAN, 2014). European spiritual and material values were based on power and the laws of submission and the reins of government. Every member of the European society had his own “cell”: they were either from lower class, working for food, or from upper class. The gap between these two groups is evident. The values of gender and class were too different to live together in peace. However, the way of family structure was quite similar. There was a patriarchy, but the Indian families lived according to the law of reciprocity: “if this thing is mine, it’s yours as well”.
According to Perkins (2013), when the Europeans settled, they started a complete assimilation of the nature around them. However, they observed Indian’s way of life, their “hierarchy” in families and their common duties. Europeans considered Indian women as victims of the patriarchy. Women were used to complete difficult physical work, as their men did. Of course, European women were not accustomed to such heavy duty. But from the viewpoint of Native Americans such women’s roles were quite normal. They were used to complete equal work, again, emphasizing the idea of reciprocity. However, some Indian tribes, as the Hopi, had a complete matriarchy. The Iroquois tribe had a law stating that women could participate in councils and decide whether to start wars. Europeans’ opinion that Indian women were “slaves” was completely wrong. On the contrary, they had more power than European women did during that period.
As for the differences between Native American and European sexuality, most Indian tribes had so called "Two-spirit people", who were named “berdaches” by the European anthropologists. These people were representatives of the same sex, borrowing gender identity of another. Although some Indian tribes treated berdaches as if they were people of the opposite gender, in most tribes, they were identified as the people of the third gender - neither men nor women. When European settlers faced such phenomenon, they considered it abnormal. Transsexual and homosexual relations were strictly prohibited in Europe, and people of such views could even be put in jail. The Indians treated this not only with understanding, but also gave special privileges to people who decided to choose such lifestyle. What Europeans called mental illness, Native Americans saw it as a gift; the helped people of the third gender to communicate with spirits and become the shamans of the tribe. Berdaches didn`t have sexual relations with other berdaches, there was a taboo on such relationships which were considered as a form of incest. The existence of berdaches was widespread in America and they were represented in all major tribes: from the Iroquois in the Northeast, and along the entire East Coast in other tribes.
Conclusion Considering the rules of living inside the tribe, military and economic relations between the Indians, it becomes difficult to call them savages or people who don`t need any civilization. Most likely, the main conflict in relations between Europeans and Indians was the inability of Europeans to acquaint the Indians with the new world order. Based on historical facts, it can be said that the relationships between the Indians, Anglo-Americans and Europeans were unstable; there were fierce wars, periods of peace and attempt to reach an understanding. Finally, we see many differences between the political economy of Indians and Europeans. Regarding the political economy interaction between class and gender diversity in these two respective groups, it can be noted that the collision of two powerful societies with their own unique ways of life could not lead to a peaceful existence. Europeans wanted to change the centuries-old traditions, religion, and way of life. The peace did not come till 1890, and this period influenced a number of Indian people on the territory of the US. The armistice was concluded, but the history is still alive.

Works Cited

Daniel K. Richter. 2009. War and Culture: The Iroquois Experience.
LUJAN, CAROL CHIAGO. "American Indians And Alaska Natives Count." American Indian Quarterly 38.3 (2014): 319-341.Academic Search Premier. Web. 25 Feb. 2015
3. Kupperman, Karen. Settling With the Indians: The Meeting of English and Indian Cultures in America, 1580-1640. Rowman and Littlefield and J. M. Dent, 1980.
Roberta Perkins. October 2013 American Indian Gender-Crossers.
http://www.gendercentre.org.au/resources/polare-archive/archived-articles/american-indian-gender-crossers.htmLast
5. SWAMINATHAN, NIKHIL. "America, In The Beginning." Archaeology 67.5 (2014): 22-29. Academic Search Premier. Web. 25 Feb. 2015.

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WePapers. (2020, November, 28) Differences In Political Economy And Gender Diversity Between Indians And Europeans Essay Samples. Retrieved March 09, 2021, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/differences-in-political-economy-and-gender-diversity-between-indians-and-europeans-essay-samples/
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