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Tutorial One – Colliding Worlds (Sept 27/28):
Questions for Consideration and Possible Discussion
1. What preconceptions (and from where did they come) did you have about Native American societies
and the interactions of Natives and Euro-Americans in the colonial era? Has this week’s readings altered
those perceptions and, if so, how?
a. Is there anything in this week’s readings that stood out to you, or otherwise struck you in some
fashion (surprise, shock, etc.)? What and why?
b. What picture emerges from the readings with regards to the Indian-Euro-American relationship?
2. What do the documents reveal about Native Peoples perceptions of Euro-Americans and their society?
a. Why are some favorable, others not so much, and other’s still seemingly indifferent?
b. What compelled some Native peoples to accept some elements of Euro-American society, but
c. What compelled some to accept Christianity, but others to refuse it?
d. How were the Native peoples who accepted and endorsed Euro-American ways of thinking (like
Christianity or conceptualization of the land, etc.) perceived by those that did not?
3. Part of Calloway’s introduction to the volume speaks about the potential issues surrounding the use of
various types of documents as evidence of Native People’s Voices. What are some of the limitations of
the various types of documents presented here (those written about Native peoples by Europeans,
those written by Native Peoples themselves, treaties, etc.) and can you point to specific examples from
within documents that illustrate these issues?
a. For example, are there elements of the Iroquois creation story, conveyed as it is in 1816, that
might reflect some influence of Euro-Am culture overlaid in the telling?
b. In looking, as another example, at the Narrangansett Act of Submission, how might it reflect
Native adoption of elements of Euro-American thinking to be used by the Indians to their own
benefit (and not that of the Euro-Americans)?
c. Accepting that there may be limitations, what value do Native-Am speeches, letters and
opinions have in providing a clearer understanding of Native-American history itself, and the
history of colonial America more generally? How do these documents enrich our understanding
of these histories?
4. Much of the relationship between Natives and Euro-Americans was based on misunderstandings, often
mutual, that were sometimes the inescapable product of the collision of two very different worlds but
sometimes also the product of deliberate willfulness. Do you see examples of this in the documents?
a. How did misunderstanding (whether mutual or one-sided, unconscious or deliberate) shape the
relationship dynamic between Native peoples and Euro-Americans?
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