Native Americans and Massachusetts Bay Colony | History of American Women
Roger Williams questioned the Puritans' theft of Native American land. became a defining feature of Native American-English relationships in the Northeast. The English settlers who founded Jamestown in initially planned to make Native Americans work for them. They contemplated capturing the local Native. When English immigrants set sail for the New World in the early seventeenth The natives found Puritan conversion practices coercive and culturally insensitive . effects on Native American communities in the region and their relations with .
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 and Massachusetts Bay Colony
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. 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. These terror tactics shocked the First Nation people. Captain John Underhill chronicled the Pequot War of in his News from Americaproviding a sketch of the Puritans, along with their Narragansett allies, encircling and destroying a Pequot village.
Former Puritan allies like the Narragansetts banded together with other Algonquian tribes to oppose the English.
She reserves a special hatred for Native Americans who had experienced Christian conversion—whom she called Praying Indians.
Prior to the start of the war, a number of praying towns had been established within Massachusetts Bay where natives were living peacefully with their English neighbors. During the winter ofthe Massachusetts Bay Colony decreed that the inhabitants of the praying towns must be relocated.
There they boarded three vessels and were transported to the islands in the Boston harbor. The majority of those relocated were taken to Deer Island where they were incarcerated. Historical records indicate that as many as one-half of these Native Americans died of starvation, exposure, and lack of medical care in what have been called concentration camps.Society and religion in the New England colonies - AP US History - Khan Academy
English victories in both of those wars and the ravaging effects of European diseases resulted in the depletion of Native American populations in New England, and enabled the Puritans to seize most of the remaining Indian lands in the region. Bythere were 52, colonists in New England, and they already outnumbered the indigenous people by three to one.
But some written accounts, pictographs, archaeological evidence, and transcriptions of oral traditions survive to give an indication of what Indians thought about the English settlers in New England.
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.
Puritan New England: Massachusetts Bay (article) | Khan Academy
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.
English victories in both the Pequot War and King Philip's war, combined with the ravaging effects of European diseases like smallpox, resulted in the depletion of Native American populations in New England and enabled Puritans to seize most remaining Indian lands in the region by the early eighteenth century. But some written accounts, pictographs, archaeological evidence, and transcriptions of oral traditions survive to give an indication of what Indians thought about the English settlers in New England.
Established in by missionary John Eliot, Natick consisted of English-style homesteads, three streets, a bridge across the Charles River, as well as a meetinghouse, which housed a school, and the governing body. The Indian residents of Natick were taught to read and write in their native language of Massachuset, using letters from the Roman alphabet. Inanthropologists Kathleen Bragdon and Goddard Ives translated the town records from Natick into English and published an accompanying grammar for the Massachuset language under the title Native Writings in Massachusett.
Our understanding of native lives and the Algonquian view of conquest has been further enhanced by Williams Simmons's ground-breaking collection of Algonquian oral tradition from southeastern New England, The Spirit of New England Tribes, and Indian Convertsand Experience Mayhew's biographies of four generations of Wampanoag men, women, and children from the island of Martha's Vineyard.
These documents suggest that Indian converts often adapted Christianity to suit their needs and to face the trials of conquest, rather than merely being transformed into "Red Puritans. Initiating contact with the Delaware in his "Letter to the Lenni Lenape," Penn showed respect for Native American culture, pledged to treat Native Americans as equals, and acknowledged their land rights. The Pennsylvania seal provides a telling contrast to the seal of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, revealing important differences in the two colonies' attitudes toward and treatment of Native Americans.
Rather than depicting the Indians as inferior beings in need of help, the Pennsylvania seal offers an image of harmony and equality: The wampum belt featured in the archive, which functioned within Delaware culture as a kind of land deed, testifies to the Quakers' willingness to participate in and respect Indian cultural practices.
As a result of their commitment to tolerance and mutual respect, the Quakers and Indians lived in peace in Pennsylvania for over half a century. How did the Puritans' understanding of the Bible shape their attitudes toward Native Americans? How did Quaker theology shape their relationship with Native Americans? How did the theology of Native American Christians affect their attitudes towards whites?