Pepee,Joseph, “The White Women of Genesee”. The World Turned Upside Down. Boston: Bedford, 1994. Occum,Sampson, “A Short Narrative of My Life”. The World Turned Upside Down. Boston: Bedford, 1994 The World Turned Upside Down Chapt. 2. Boston: Bedford, 1994. In early America as the Europeans began to colonize the land, most Europeans did not think too kindly of these very different brown people that already inhabited this space.
The European thought leaned greatly towards the idea of the Native Indians being of a barbaric and heathenness culture that must be changed (converted and educated) or eliminated, however, the exchange of culture frequently went both ways and sometimes those very differences in culture proved to be a great seduction to the non-Indian people. Some European immigrants found a great appeal to the Indian way of life by embracing the Native American way of; speaking, eating, dressing, hunting, farming etc. Others went on their own free will to go live with the Indians.
Marrying and adopting outsiders was customary to some Indian traditions and with the rise of neighbors that were not Indian, the natives sought to intermarry due to population losses. Children from these marriages often became mediators in dealings between the European and Indian cultures. The story of Mary Jemison reflects that mixing of cultures and the affinity that can develop to the Native way of life. She was taken captive by the Indians at fifteen years old then adopted into a loving Indian family. As the years went by she adapted and grew to love her Indian family and friends.
She married an Indian and considered herself one of them. Mary Jemison was one of many captives who eventually refused the opportunity to come home, finding life in Indian society more rewarding. Many people- then and today- have an attraction to the Indian culture for the very differences that the Europeans sought to destroy them. Those differences seemingly so unique and different from our culture; and though the European culture from a distance won the battle of incorporating their way of life into a new nation and an eventual political superpower, the native culture did leave a humble cogitation on America as it emerged.
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