Saturday, October 20, 2012

Accounts from Early Settlers - New York

'The next thing in this Province blameable is the Heathenism of the natural Indians who here in the very heart of a Christian country practice their barbarous & devilish customs & modes of worship notwithstanding it is now 60 years & more since Christians first inhabited this Country & 30 years since the English were possessed thereof.  Indeed there is something to be said in excuse hereof that is the unsettledness of the Country, for a long time the Several changes of Government it has undergone & the small number of the English at present & something to be objected that is that it would be first reasonable to settle religion among those who are professed Christians before we pretend to the conversion & settlement of the Indians. . . . '

This is an Extract from a early settler dating back to 1695. His name was John Miller, who was an Englishman, he was a serving as a chaplain for the soldiers stationed out in New York. I chose this specific extract from the account as it talks about blaming Natural Indians practising their religion within a Christian country.

I found this interesting to read as he starts to describe the religion of the Native Indians as 'Barbarous & devilish', here he describes the Native Indians in a negative light, as for religion many European settlers wanted all to practise Christianity which meant that many Natives were pushed off land, towards the west if they did not covert to Christianity 

'When I speak of converting the Indians by Indians I mean principally those five Nations which lie between Albany & Canada & are called 1) Mohawks or Maquaes, 2) Oneidas, 3) Chiugas, 4) Onundagas & 5) Senecas, of whom though most of the Mohawks are converted to Christianity by Dr. Dellius & Some of the Oneidas by the Jesuit Millet, yet the first not being yet established in any good order at all & the last being converted to Popery, I look upon the work as yet wholly to be done & if what has been already done is not a disadvantage to it, yet that little advantage is gained thereby except a demonstration of the inclination of the Indians to embrace the Christian religion' 

This is another extract that I found whilst reading the account,  it talks about how some Indians are already converted to Christianity which I found strange as when I think of Indians, I think of them resisting the attempts of being converted to any parts of western civilisation. Here I believe that the Europeans pushed there ideas of living on the Indians possibly without them knowing? this lead to the Indians adopting more Westernised living than they first thought.  I think here, that the English did not change the Indians 'for the better' but to show the declining numbers of the natives and show the strength of Christianity. 

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