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Zariah Chiverton Post for 8/30

Although we should never just take things as they are, the first chapter made me realize how much we really have to analyze the information we are given. As we have been talking about, we know that history is written by the victors, and because of this, we are left with a one-sided story from conquerors, masters, and other exploiters. What is left behind are the histories that were ignored but still very much matter, because their lack of accounts in textbooks is telling of another story. Even instances where a perspective other than an imperialist is included, important information is casually brushed aside. Take the journeys of Christopher Columbus for example. While what he did to the native people is not completely ignored in textbooks, it is not fully emphasized either. What he did was mass murder but that type of language was never used to describe his expedition. This is not the only example of this but instead, this happens in the time, even with major events in history. How events are being written in textbooks is as much of a problem as what is being written and is as problematic as leaving information out.

 

Throughout this reading, what kept getting my attention was the drastic difference between the natives’ introduction to new people compared to that of the invaders. Despite there being foreigners on land that was rightfully theirs, they were still welcoming and generous. For some reason, that was never offered in return. Whether the invader was Columbus, Cortés, or Pizarro, their response to generosity was violent and savage behavior. For the sake of short-lived materialistic gain, they treated the natives as expendables and had a constant disregard for the value of their lives because they were different. Regardless of where in Europe they came from, these colonizers showed a pattern of violence. It is unfortunate that due to the lopsided history that we are provided, we are unable to analyze the patterns of the native people, who, in only a few accounts, proved themselves to be respectable people.

 

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4 Comments

  1. Olivia Cranshaw Olivia Cranshaw

    I also thought the reactions of the Europeans, Columbus, Cortés, and Pizarro, to the contrast of culture to be very interesting, as well as disturbing. The completely different mindset each group had when meeting each other, to accommodate versus to exploit, highlights how different their cultures were. This is another reason why it is upsetting to see the effects of the manipulation of history because I wouldn’t have known the native americans’ response to these invasions without reading this textbook as it is not discussed nearly as much as the promotion of Columbus in typical textbooks.

  2. Kathrine Yeaw Kathrine Yeaw

    This reading also made me realize that we must look at history almost through a lens, and really analyze the information we are getting. We must be aware that most of the history we are being told is through the victors and not the people they killed. We get the version that makes them look good, even though, as you said, they were much more violent and gruesome than the generous natives.

  3. Isabela Keetley Isabela Keetley

    I completely agree with the notion that we should never take history as it is. This chapter really emphasized this along with looking at history from all points of view, not just the victor, and not just the victim. Zinn brought up an important point that we (students) should not immediately discount the victors story and side with the victim, because sometimes it’s more complicated than that. He used an example of the Aztecs and while they were destroyed by the Spanish, they also believed in human sacrifice and killed hundreds of their own innocent people.

  4. Madeline Orr Madeline Orr

    I also was very taken aback by the difference of interactions and intentions of the native people and the European conquerers. The conquerers used manipulation, force, and violence to achieve their desire for land and gold. I am interested to know if there were more of the Europeans that felt that the cruelty they were displaying on the natives was wrong or if they all were driven by the idea of wealth and power. The truths of their conquering are quickly or barely mentioned in history books creating a distorted reality of the founding of the Americas.

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