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Monday . Presentations. Last Friday was a great start Style of presentation is not fixed Can be just questions Can be presentation and questions Can use power point, video or anything that helps (I also like the free food idea but, it will not affect your grade). Race and Contact

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  • Last Friday was a great start
  • Style of presentation is not fixed
  • Can be just questions
  • Can be presentation and questions
  • Can use power point, video or anything that helps
  • (I also like the free food idea but,
  • it will not affect your grade)

Race and Contact

  • Shifting position of Native Americans
  • Gary Nash
  • Red, White and Black

One of earliest use of this color split 1784

  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Notes on the State of Virginia
  • Drew heavily
  • “on what I have seen of man, white, red, and black.”
  • By this time these labels were well known and used
  • But, within the phrase are indications of past understanding

White, Red, and Black

  • The order of these words reflects an earlier (16th and 17th Century) hierarchical ideas of race
  • Not be until middle of the eighteenth century that this divisions became solidified in these colors
  • Before this there was some flexibility in descriptions of Native Americans
africa and africans
Africa and Africans
  • Early contact with Africa created much literature
    • Plays
    • Poems
    • Sermons
    • Accounts of exploration
  • As Winthrop Jordon has shown
  • Virtually all of these texts displayed the “dark continent” and its people as unattractive, heathen and uncivil”

To describe Africans Europeans focused on skin color

  • English
    • “Blacks, Blackamores or Negroes”
  • Spanish, Portuguese, Italian
    • “Negros and negras”
  • Dutch
    • “Negers”

All these words also had negative connotations

  • Spanish
    • Negro – Gloomy, dismal, unfit, and wretched
  • French
    • Noir – Foul, dirty, base, wicked
  • English
    • Similar negative connotations

“The Libian dusky in his parched skin,

  • The Moor all tawney both without and in,
  • The Southern man, a black deformed Elfe
  • The Northern white like unto God Himselfe”
  • Thomas Peyton
  • The Glasse of Time, in the First Age (1620)
  • The link to color and people was fixed
  • So was their position in relation to Europeans

In contrast Native Americans would not be codified is such a color/identity way until the mid 18th century

  • Before this Native American identity was tied not to color but to culture
  • Critical pejorative terms social rather biological
  • There was no single term that linked to Native American

“Indian (with occasional West added )”

  • “Natives”
  • “Savages (Salvages)”
  • “Barbarians”
  • “Heathens”
  • All frequently used terms to describe Native Americans
  • Although descriptors were not often color based
  • Europeans did expend much ink on Native Americans colors

For two centuries afterwards 1492 most accounts discussed complexion

  • Columbus, natives in the Caribbean
    • “not at all black, but the colour of Canarians”
  • Sir Walter Raliegh, women of Guiana
    • “brown and tawnie”
  • Many reports described the “cause” of this color
  • Laudonniére 1587
  • “when they are borne they be not so much of an olive colour and are far whiter. For the chief cause that maketh them to be this colour, proceedesannointings of oyle”

John Smith

“a colour Browne when they are of any age, but they are borne white”

John Rolfe

Attributed color to ointment and smoky houses, which, he contended, had the same effect on Indian hides that smokehouses had on English bacon


Thomas Morton (1610)

  • “Their infants are of complexion white as our nation, but their mothers in their infancy make a bath of . . . Such things will staine their skinne for ever, wherein they dip and washe them to make them tawney”
  • Rev William Crashaw
  • A “Virginian Indian, that was with us here in England, whose skinne . . . Was little more black or tawnie, than one of ours would be if he should go naked in the south of England”

These descriptions and the linkage to English color

  • Highlighted major difference in view of Europeans of Africans and Native Americans
  • Africans were different in bodies and nature
  • Native Americans in nurture and culture
  • Does not mean that prejudice was absent

Europeans criticisms included

  • Nakedness
  • Cannibalism
  • Barbarism
  • Idolatry
  • Devil worship
  • Brutality
  • Lechery
  • Indolence
  • Slovenliness

But Europeans also praised Native Americans

  • Hospitality
  • Integrity
  • Eloquence
  • Hardiness
  • Stoicism
  • Negatives usually outweighed positives

King James I summarized his subjects ethnocentric views

  • “beastly Indians . . . refuse of the world, and as yet aliens to the holy covenant of God”
  • The important phrase in the above is “as yet”

“as yet”

  • Not matter how much King James and his subjects despised Native American culture
  • They believed they could be converted to Neo- Englishmen

1634 William Wood published a book in England

  • Described the fauna and flora of New England
  • “Their swarthiness is the sun’s livery for they are born fair”
  • First American in 1764 carried the following footnote
  • “this was one of the popular errors given into by our author”
  • Reflected a fundamental shift from early 17th to late 18th Centuries

Americans (white settlers) began to see Native American color as fixed – and lower

  • Benjamin Franklin
  • “All Africa is Black or Tawny, Asia is chiefly Tawny. America (exclusive of the new Comers) wholly so”
  • This new classification as native color as fixed devalued them in the eyes of colonists
  • This change was also seen in the law

South Carolina law was passed for

  • “Determining all Causes and Consequences between White Man and Indian”
  • By 1730s Pennsylvania began to use the term “White” in its treaties with “Indians”
  • New York laws proscribed activities of
  • “Negro, Indian or Mulatto”

Another hint of shift is seen in religious language

  • Early 1700 Cotton Mather wrote a tale of a “Bewitched” girl who met the Devil
  • “He was not of a Negro but of a Tawny, or Indian color”
  • Also see shift of the word tawny
  • Was an adjective
    • A tawny Indian
  • Now a noun
    • Tawny
  • There are three major interrelated and mutually reinforcing influences for this shift in the Indians position
  • 1) Anglo Americans anger at Indian Hostility
  • 2) Indians rejection of Christianity and civility
  • 3) Adoption of eighteenth century racial theories