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American Indian and Western Europe on the History, Culture and Environmental Crisis - Essay Example

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American Indian and Western European Philosophy: A Historical, Cultural, and Environmental Crisis Lynn White, Jr., (in his paper The Historical Roots of Our ?Ecologic Crisis), Lewis W. Moncrief (in his paper The ?Cultural Basis for Our Environmental Crisis), and J…
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American Indian and Western Europe on the History, Culture and Environmental Crisis
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Download file to see previous pages environment. Here their arguments and these authors' theses will be synthesized and evaluated. According to White, several solutions to ecologic problems tend to be “calls to action” which are “palliative” and “negative,” such as calls to ‘ban the bomb,’ et cetera—which is the Western European idea of solving ecological woes.1 From what we know of the history of Native Americans in America, much of what was learned in literature referring to Native American culture simply reinforces the thought patterns that whites had of Native peoples during that time period—including the habits they had while living in their environment. The major forces which characterize the stereotype of First Nations people include sorrow, defeat, and broken treaties along the way—which characterize several of the stories of various native peoples that were indigenous to America long before any white settlers arrived. As such, we will analyze how Native Americans were first perceived by the original settlers at Plymouth Rock, by the government with the Trail of Tears, and later on by politicians who bargained with and swindled the Lakhota Sioux. When the settlers arrived at Plymouth Rock, Native Americans were considered “savages,” as evidenced in the following sentence found in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans: The man had “…a look so dark and savage, that it might in itself excite fear.”2 This stereotype of the Native American painted as some sort of inhuman creature was only reinforced by the idea that they made them feel that there was a definite threat to their women (white women). “Notwithstanding the fearful and menacing array of savages on every side of her, no apprehension on her own account could prevent the noble-minded maiden from keeping her eyes fastened on the pale and anxious features of the trembling Alice.”3 While this was not an unmitigated fear, as some white settlers’ wives were caught and captured to be made part of the Indian tribes, this fear was largely propagated by white people—and widely-circulated as rumor that Indians were always on the prowl for some fair, blond-headed maven that they might take in search of satisfying their savage lust. Of course, that is not to say that there was not favoritism displayed even among tribes, as Cooper notes. “[T]here is but little love between a Delaware and a Mingo…”4 Nor, can it be said, was there the absence of nepotism either. “The Hurons love their friends the Delawares. . . . Why should they not? They are colored by the same sun, and their just men will hunt in the same grounds after death.”5 Surely, by the same token, Cooper—being a white narrator—tries to preface a racist statement by saying the equivalent of, “I’m not racist but…,” thus attempting to neutralize any shred of judgmental ideas coming after that statement as not being perceived racist. Cooper writes, “I am not a prejudiced man, nor one who vaunts himself on his natural privileges, though the worst enemy I have on earth, and he is an Iroquois, daren’t deny that I am genuine white.”6 In essence, he is saying, “Not that this really has anything to do with him being Iroquois, but this guy is the most annoying chap I’ve ever met on the planet. Oh, and did I mention he’s Iroquois?” Well, if was a fact that didn’t matter, why was the fact mentioned? The mere fact that Cooper mentions that the other person being Iroquois didn’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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