Inferring How Native Americans Felt Upon the Arrival of Columbus

Compelling Question: How would you feel if your community was forcefully overtaken by another group of people?

Resources:

· Encounter by Jane Yolen

· “The Untold Story” by Tina Thomas

· Dakota Access Pipeline controversy, explained: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJZ1-LAFOTo

· “Alphabet of Things that the Americans Gave to the World”

The book, Encounter, by Jane Yolen gives a first-hand perspective from a Native American boy regarding the arrival of Christopher Columbus and his settlers. It discusses the ways the Europeans began to oppress the Native Americans, slowly taking land and other belongings. Eventually, five boys are taken onto the ship to go back to Europe. One of these boys is the individual whose perspective the story is being told from. Through this story, one can have empathy for the Native American people, especially the young boys who were taken.

“The Untold Story” by Tina Thomas tells of how Native Americans were scared and confused by the arrival of Europeans. “Through motions and gestures, it became clear Columbus wanted gold.” The Native Americans were confused because they did not have gold on their land. They were also fearful due to the power of the Europeans. “My people were afraid of his anger. They wondered what he planned to do next.” By reading these quotes, one can again infer the way Native Americans were truly feeling by the arrival of Europeans. These descriptions are often left out in history books, giving readers only the perspective of the white conquerors and the benefits the Europeans are gaining.

The Dakota Access Pipeline video portrays how those in power are still oppressing minority groups, specifically the Native Americans. Through the video, it is explained why the pipeline would destroy the lives of the Native Americans living in that area. By listening to this explanation, one can infer the ways in which Native Americans in the pipeline area, as well as those who joined the protests, are being affected and feeling, numerous decades after oppression began with Columbus as well as countless years after treaties had been established.

Sub Question: What did Columbus have to gain from taking over Native Americans?

By knowing what Columbus was looking for when he encountered the Native Americans, it may be easier for someone to understand why Columbus used force to overtake the Native peoples. Some examples of things to be gained are democracy, zero, land, gold, different foods, and the US Constitution.

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