I thought that Mr. Takaki did a brilliant job at describing all the hardships the Native Americans had to endure. Mainstream media and education is always showing us history from ” the white man’s point of view,” but thanks to Mr. Takaki we can view history from a different perspective. We have always been taught that the Europeans had discovered America and were the ones we should all give credit to. Thanks to Takaki we realize that the Native Americans were actually the ones to first colonize America. Native Americans are also portrayed in the media as being savages and ruthless killers, but we realize that the Native Americans were actually forced to kill in order to protect their land and their people. We learn that the Europeans were the ones to attack first by stealing, killing, and taking away Native American land. Another common misconception about Native Americans was that they were uneducated, but we soon realize that this is false. We learn that Native Americans highly valued education and actually had institutions similar to schools where their people were taught many valuable life skills. They were taught how to farm, hunt, cook, and build. Native Americans also had highly advanced technology for their time. They developed bows and arrows as a more efficient way of hunting as appose to the spear. They also built durable structures similar to pyramids and were the first to ever develop fences to protect their crops from domesticated European livestock. Thanks to Takaki we can see who the true Americans are and unravel America’s true history.
In chapter 2 of “A Different Mirror” Ronald Takaki discusses the first sight between the Native Americans and the Europeans. He described the Native Americans as being frightened by the approaching group of people. The Native Americans saw a new group of people that they have never seen before. They saw men with hairy pale skin and light hair and eyes. The Native Americans grew especially cautious of the spears the men were hold which appeared to them as long vicious claws. The Natives began to get confused since the Europeans spoke a completely different language unfamiliar to their people. The Natives went on the defensive and hid from the fast approaching Europeans. As the Natives came out from their hiding places they discovered that the Europeans had taken nearly all of their boats. After this encounter the Natives learned that the Europeans are not their friends, but their enemies. This conflict between the Natives and the Europeans will spark a bloody battle that will last for centuries. Takaki also goes on to discuss how the English not only targeted the Indians, but also the Irish. He describes how the English use violence to take control over the land and control the Native people. Takaki tells us that the English believed that they were doing nothing wrong because their religious ideology allows them to treat other cultures as lesser people since they do not hold the same religious views. The English believed it was a God-given right to take land from savages. The English would eventually wipe out both the Natives and the Irish populations to nearly have their original numbers and take many of the survivors back with them to England where they would work as slaves. At the end of chapter 2 Takaki shows us who the real savages are and how practically all of the European’s actions were barbaric and unjustified.
In chapter 3 Takaki discusses both the social and racial issues that occurred during the early colonial periods of Virginia. He describes how indentured servants would be promised a fresh start in America only to be discriminated against and be treated poorly by the wealthy English. These servants would end up working for individuals for long periods of time only to make enough money to pay off their travel expenses. During the same time these indentured servants were working for the English, African Americans were also beginning to be shipped over to America to work as slaves. The English would soon realize that their slaves were disliking the way they were being treated and began to become frightful. The English knew that their white slaves had the right to bear arms, but their African American slaves did not, as a result they began to ship more and more African American slaves into their Country and less white slaves. Towards the end of chapter 3 Takaki shed some light on t he issue of slavery during the time of our founding fathers with Thomas Jefferson’s hypocritical views. Takaki noted that Thomas Jefferson claimed that he wanted to abolish slavery but ironically he owned a large number of slaves. Jefferson’s idea to put an end to slavery was to ship all the slave children to St. Domingo and just let all the men and women die naturally, but that never happened. Jefferson also believed that blacks were unintelligent and could never reach the level of intelligence of that of whites.
In chapter 4 Takaki mentions some of the nasty battles between the Native Americans and the American government. After discovering that the Muscogee have killed 200 whites including women and children, the American government wanted revenge so they went on the offensive and killed over 800 Indians. After the violence had died down the American government passed a law in 1805 which allowed Indians to have their own land to farm on. Many Indians were not so lucky such as the Cherokees who had to leave Georgia or obey unfair laws such as the Indian removal act which made it difficult to live productive lives with adequate resources. Many Indians were forced to move westward, beyond the Mississippi river. This forced relocation was known as “The Trail of Tears” manly because of the enormous amount of casualties in which 4,000 Ch erokees died due to rough conditions such as free zing climate , brutal terrain , hunger, and disease. Many Indian tribes however found land that was excellent for survival and prosperity. Tribes such as the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole discovered land that would eventual be highly sought after due to it’s cultivation of cotton. Over time these Indians began to farm in the tradition of white settlers, and in some cases even owning black slaves.
In chapter 5 we learn that African Americans in the north were set after the American Revolution following the victory of the Union, but many were still enslaved in the south. In the north many free slaves could not find work and were struggling to survive while also facing discrimination and racism. These free slaves would also face segregation as the whites would not allow the blacks to be near women to avoid interbreeding. The segregation would continue to negatively impact blacks in terms of work and education. In the south blacks had it much worse and were enslaved to work in the fields from dawn to dusk. The southern slaves owners would soon begin to label African Americans as sambos .Takaki describes sambos as being “childlike” or “irresponsible.”
Source: “A Different Mirror” by Ronald Takaki