Savages aka “Colonists”

Rowlandson’s narrative only confirms the history of genocide that occurred in North America. She not only failed to comprehend what the Natives went through, since they were also victims of constant captivity and slaughter, but then she justified it by adding on her Puritan ideologies. It further relates to how the colonists used their religion to hide their true intentions; wanting a new world where the natives aren’t around and that their race should be the only dominant one. She says, on the Twentieth Remove, “I can but stand in admiration to see the wonderful power of God in providing for such a vast number of our enemies in the wilderness, where there was nothing to be seen, but from hand to mouth…But now our perverse and evil carriages in the sight of the Lord, have so offended Him, that instead of turning His hand against them, the Lord feeds and nourishes them up to be a scourge to the whole land”. This is one of many instanses where she asserts her own entitlement, due to the way she was brought up in society, to undermine the people not sharing the same belief system as she does. My perspective of that statement is that the Natives are so “evil” that it should be something disproved by God but because God is so “amazing” he rather takes care of the Natives. It’s as if she tries to show herself and the Natives as one by justifying their lifestyles in the wilderness however it’s always through a backhanded compliment.

Rowlandson’s rhetoric makes it difficult to sympathize with her situation because even as a captive she already has a biased opinion on the Natives and the audacity to look at a community of Natives, some that were also mothers, and refer to them as “demonic” or “savages”. There’s also that assumption that she had no power to begin with but rather it was her husband that “brainwashed” her; since women were still being oppressed but that’s not the case here. Her rhetoric makes it clear she’s not an idiot and that she knew what impact her diction could have. Ultimately, I sympathize more for her children for they did not have the opportunity to develop their own ideologies away from the Puritan mindset. This mentality of “who should be number one” still becomes evident in the contemporary world since the fight has never finished; it’s just merely transformed as to what we see as a social norm; a norm that white people are still dominant and anything outside of that idea will make the world stop turning. The Natives are still being run off this land and the current issue of the Dakota Access Pipeline further illuminates history repeating itself.

-Kristy Frausto

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One thought on “Savages aka “Colonists”

  1. I find it interesting that you mention it is assumed that she had been influenced strongly in her beliefs by her husband but instead of her husband do you think it could have been possibly the society she is from. You mention she is an intellectual thinker which is established but because she has learned social prejudice does social influences mean that she was actually aware. Can she not be just ignorant and still intelligent? Towards the end of her writing she transitions from viewing the Native people as savages to seeing them as people with their own cultures which we can kind of see when she says, ” in dressing herself near as much time as any of the Gentry of the land; powdering her hair and painting her face, going with Neck-laces, with Jewels in her ears, and bracelets upon her hands”. She clearly is associating them with the ‘civilized’ people and therefore she is demonstrating the she may have just been naive to these problems because she had never considered the other side.

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