The Differences Between Indian and European Essay

845 Words Oct 20th, 2010 4 Pages
The diverse Indian societies of North America did share certain common characteristics. Their lives were steeped in religious ceremonies often directly related to farming and hunting. The world, they believed, was suffused with spiritual power and sacred spirits could be found in all kinds of living and inanimate things – animals, plants, trees, water, and wind. Religious ceremonies aimed to harness the aid of powerful supernatural forces to serve the interests of man. In some tribes, hunters performed rituals to placate the spirits of animals they had killed. Other religious ceremonies sought to engage the spiritual power of nature to secure abundant crops or fend off evil spirits. Indian villages also held elaborate religious rites, …show more content…
In the nineteenth century, the Indian leader Black Hawk would explain why, in his view, land could not be bought and sold: “The Great Spirit gave it to his children to live upon, and cultivate as far as necessary for their subsistence; and so long as they occupy and cultivate it, they have a right to the soil.” Village leaders assigned plots of land to individual families to use for a season or more, and tribes claimed specified areas for hunting. Unclaimed land remained free for the taking. Few if any Indian societies were familiar with the idea of a fenced-off piece of land belonging forever to a single individual or family Nor were Indians as devoted to the accumulation of wealth and material goods as Europeans. Especially east of the Mississippi River, where villages moved every few years when soil or game became depleted, acquiring numerous possessions made little sense. Chiefs certainly lived more splendidly than average members of society, but their reputation often rested on their willingness to share goods with others rather than hoarding them for themselves. A few Indian societies had rigid social distinctions. Among the Natchez of the Southwest, descendants of the mound-building Mississippian culture, a chief, or “Great Sun,” occupied the top of the social order, with nobles, or “lesser suns,” below him, and below them, the common people. In general, however, wealth and inherited status mattered far less

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