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Indian Comparison

Indian Comparison

John Hicks document is much different compared to D.H. Montgomery’s document about the Indians. First off, Hicks document is very racist compared to Montgomery’s document. In the second paragraph, Hicks states, “Racial traits may account for a part of this failure…” The failure in which Hicks is talking about is that the Mayans and the Aztecs in Mexico and the Incas in Peru are much more successful than the American tribes. However, they are not in comparison with the best tribes that Asia and Europe have ever cultivated. Hicks believed that the Indians were not civilized. The only positive thing that Hicks said was that the Indians taught the Europeans how to live in America. The Indians taught them how and what to plant, what streams and trails to use, but most importantly, what wealth the land possessed. The Indians went through many cold and harsh winters where sometimes they even had to fast. The men basically were unwilling to perform any labor around the homestead, and left it upon the women’s shoulders. The women were regarded as slaves to the men, and they performed everything except for hunting and war, which they left up to them men. Hicks regarded some of the Indians as nomads and others were known to live in villages, but he did not include anything else about how they lived. Since the women were always engaging in physical and manual labor, it was very hard for them to have a fully developed and properly nurtured baby. One out of every thirty babies survives infancy.

Montgomery’s document basically talks about the civilization of the Indians. He goes into detail about how they lived, what they did daily, and what they believed in. Montgomery said, “The Indians did not really occupy the land: they simply possessed it. To them it was mainly a hunting ground to roam over or a battlefield to fight on.” A trait of the male Indians was known as the “scalp lock”. The lock was the Indians sign of defiance and honor. The Indians lived by hunting, fishing, and farming. The women did all of the work around the wigwam, but she was not regarded as a slave in this document. The moccasins were great pieces of footwear for hunting, and everyday life. The snowshoes were also important pieces of footwear for hunting in the winter. The birch-bark canoe was also an Indian trademark. It made the Indians the masters of every lake, river, and stream in their paths. Each tribe of Indians had a chief, but they had little power because councils decided all of the important matters. “Wampum” was a belt that was made with strings of beads and shells. These “wampum” belts were made after every council, so that the other tribe members would know what went on during that meeting. The Indians were held by customs that were handed down from their forefathers. They could not do certain things that they wanted to. Their fate and destiny was predestined. Each clan had a “totem”, which was usually a picture of a wild creature. The totem was known as the seal of their clan, and it was used frequently. Every Indian believed in the “Great Spirit”, who was all-powerful and wise. Another important trait of Indians was that they never expressed their feelings with words. They painted what they felt on their faces. Lastly, as a child, the Indians were taught to despise all pain that they felt, and the woods were the Indians way of learning.

From reading Montgomery’s document, the true civilization of the Indians shines through and their real lives are present. In Hicks document, there was nothing written about their civilization and that the Indians were just nomads who lived in the wild uncivilized. Montgomery’s document gives a great explanation of their lives and how the Indians lived and survived.


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