All entries for Saturday 05 October 2013

October 05, 2013

Mixing and assimilating – First Nations

I guess the biggest thing that struck me about all three accounts was that Whites being brought and assimilated into Native American communities was even a thing that happened. I think in all three accounts soldiers marrying Indian women are mentioned in passing, also obviously in Jemison’s book we see children being captured and raised. I really had no idea that this sort of cross-flow happened on any level let alone how common a thing it was. I also wonder if the reverse happened, if Native Americans were ever either captured or went to work as full time translators and became relatively assimilated into the colonist’s culture. Or if there was more movement one way than another.

Individuation in the time of Revolt

I find the way that religion is treated in the Crevecoeur reading pretty interesting. One of the characteristics Crevecoeur attributes to the New-American is “religious indifference”, describing in some detail how dispersal of the population tempers the zeal of religious people. The Catholic and the Lutheran can get along because neither is surrounded by an echo chamber of like-minded believers, reinforcing their points of difference. One’s spiritual character in the new America is “only guessed at, and is nobody’s business.” Quite apart from whether or not this actually happened in practice, what I find strange here is that Crevecoeur presents this an ideal paradigm for religious belief within a nation. He doesn’t bemoan or even consider the loss of culture and, more importantly, community that one would think might result. What Crevecoeur means here, I suspect, is more along the lines of “Don’t worry guys! America’s great! There isn’t any religious persecution here!” But I feel like if I were religious, the idea that a strong set of beliefs practiced in a social space would inevitably lead to intolerance and conflict would be a very unattractive one. Crevecoeur’s ideal is that religiosity exists solely in the private thoughts of an individual – but doesn’t that seem like missing the point?

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