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Lecture 4

Worlds of Childhood - Week 4.docx

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HUMA 1970
Krys Verrall

A History of American ChildhoodRed White and Black in Colonial AmericaBy Steven MintzColonial childhood varied starkly by class ethnicity gender geographic region religion and raceDependency and subordination were common features of life for many children in early AmericaoElizabeth Springs servant ran away from home to be an indentured servant but later complained to her father in a letter she was being mistreated and begged for forgivenessDavid Zeisberger served as a missionary for 62 years oSimilarities between the Europeans and the Indian peoples ability to take care of childrenSurrounded pregnancy with many taboos to ensure babys wellbeingNewborns underwent initiation rituals circumcisionoDifferences between the Europeans and the Indian peoples way of taking care of childrenBreastfeeding of infantsIndian women always nurse their own children and dont rely on wetnurses Indian women also nurse offspring much longer than European womenIndian women bore very few children 34 and were very attached to them even after death Europeans were expected to show resignation if their child diesIndian peoples often wept at their graveseven months after their deceaseFreedomUnlike European children Indian farm boys were not obligated to perform farm chores and Indian girls were not expected to sewknitNative American parents rarely restrain their childrenothey do what they like and no one prevents themIndian children ran around nearly naked until the age of 5 or 6 where they would put something around their waistDisciplineEuropeans believed that physical punishment was essential But even if Indian children committed serious misdeeds they are not punished being only reproved with gentle wordsIndian parents believed that threats and physical punishment would make the child timid and submissiveoTheir goal was to foster pride independence and courageRitualsIndian parents honoured rites of passage such as newborn children are dipped in cold water or rubbed with animal oil make them strong brave men and hardy huntersNewborns underwent an initiation ceremony where child was given a name from a wealth of family names
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