Better Than One Might Believe

To Lady Mary Rowlandson,

While many may be able to sympathize with you regarding the terrible loss of your family, I find your descriptions of the Indians to be continuously unwarranted and unbecoming of any good Christian throughout your narrative. I can see why it may be difficult for even a pious Christian such as yourself to initially forgive the Indians, but even as your story continues, even as you appear to grow more understanding of the Indians and their lifestyle, and even when they begin to show you kindness and welcome you into their homes, you still choose to think of them as little more than devils sent by God to tempt you with their lifestyle. I would kindly like to ask a well-educated Christian such as yourself where in the scriptures does our Lord say that the Indian is a devil and the lifestyle he lives is unfit for a Christian? If tomorrow every Indian chose to convert to Christianity and live a puritanical lifestyle such as yourself, do you believe that the conflicts would stop and a peaceful resolution would be found? I find such an occurrence difficult to believe, as even in your writing, you appear to group those Indians who have converted to our faith while dressing and acting like us into the same group as those who hold onto their old faith and reject everything about our lifestyle. I could hardly call one such as you a proper Christian when you are so quick to label any Indian, regardless of their faith, a devil.

Were the whites not at one time living a lifestyle arguably more degrading than the one they live now? Red skin does not prevent one from accepting the teachings of God, nor does red skin take away their right to own and protect their land. As one who has also lived among the Indians and personally seen the lifestyle they live, or in some cases, the lifestyle they have been forced into, I would ask you to reconsider your view of the Indians. Perhaps you chose to think of yourself and do truly believe that they are equal to us in the eyes of God, but there can be no changing the damage that your narrative can do to reinforcing the ideas of others that the Indians are devils and could never be equal to whites, not because of their faith, but because of their skin.

May God keep you safe.


William Apess

-Ryan Bucher

2 thoughts on “Better Than One Might Believe

  1. Your use of Christian ideas can strike a chord with religious readers. The rhetorical questions make the reader think and question their own beliefs which I think makes this post a literature of power.


  2. As starting your response with some sympathy, using Christian ideas as the comment above said is a hook for religious and educated readers. The development of your rhetorical questions in this post allows you to put some type of ‘looking glass’ method for Mary to reconsider her religion.


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