This text really showed the huge downfall of the Native American people. I had no idea that there were so many Native American Indians before the Europeans came. All texts I read seemed to downplay or not list the number of them here. It says in the text, North and South America contained between 90,000,000 and more than 112,000,000 people before the coming of the Spanish. That was compared to only 60 million to 70 million in Europe. The diseases really wiped out what seemed to be great civilizations of people. It also surprises me that people tried to justify invading and capturing these people even very recently, within the lifetime of my parents. It is sad hearing how much people hated races that they knew very little about but also encouraging that people have changed over recent years to be more understanding of them.
The authors term of moral epistemology of imperialism is the original thinking that justified colonizing the Americas originally. The major historians of the time and for a great amount of time after were European. This made it easy to write books and shape history to make it look like they were doing the right thing. They were colonizing knowledge but putting their spin on it, people would only learn what the white scholars of the time wanted people to learn. Epistemic violence was forcing the European epistemology on the rest of the world, in this case the Native Americans.
The Spanish used a combination of military force along with disease and the cruelest forms of death to completely cripple the Native American empires. After some time, the Natives just stopped fighting back because they were mentally broken (as well as physically). The author says, When there were among prisoners some women who had recently given birth, if the newborn babes happen to cry, they seized them by the legs and hurled them against the rocks or flung them into the jungle so they would be certain to die there and also says, In the face of utter hopelessness, the Indians began simply surrendering their lives. Some committed suicide. This form of pacifism gave the Spaniards anything and everything they wanted in the New World without really having to fight anymore after a time.
The author says, the term the Spanish used to describe their campaign of terror, pacification. When disease or force of arms werent enough, like against the Aztecs, the Spanish were simply able to out smart the Native Americans and find other ways to take what they wanted. To the various competing Indian polities at the time the Spanish were simply another group, albeit an alien one, seeking to gain political dominance in central Mexico. As such, although the first people the Spanish confronted, the Tlaxcaltecs, could easily have defeated the conquistadors, they saw in them instead potential confederates against their tradition adversaries. The Church didnt do anything to stop this. They consider non-Christians, and more specifically Natives, sub-human so the Spanish conquerors didnt feel bad doing what they did.
This text shows the need for more critical thinking in the field of religion by telling us how many skewed views of history there are. There needs to be more study with un-biased views on minority religions. The author gave multiple examples of people who wrote books and still showed an extreme bias against the Native Americans.
This text shows a real similarity between Africa and Native Americans. Both had complex civilizations that were taken over and colonized by Europeans. It is amazing how similar both are in that disease and a superiorly equipped European army caused the downfall of some great empires.
Courtney from Study Moose
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