Not So Different After All

Cross cultured, cross-linguistic, and cross-religion exchanges between Mary  Rowlandson and her native Algonquian captors contradicts the history of intolerance against indigenous people during the English colonization of eastern North America because of how her transition from hating indigenous people to sympathizing with them. In the beginning of her narrative, Rowlandson describes her people, who were Christian, as “sheep” to suggest them as innocent and as God chosen people. Whereas, Rowlandson describes the Native Americans as “wolves” and “hell-hounds” to convey them as heartless, predatory, and demonic creature. It isn’t until she gets captured by the Native Americans and starts traveling with them that Rowlandson starts to question her view on the natives, Rowlandson states, “I cannot but notice the strange providence of God in preserving the heathen: They were many hundreds, old and young, some sick, and some lame, many had Papooses at their backs, the greatest number at this time with us, were Squaws, and they travelled with all they had, bag and baggage, and yet they got over the River […] On that very day came the English Army after them to this River […] and yet this River put a stop to them”(Rowlandson, 15). Rowlandson relieves that the natives and colonist aren’t so different from one another as she perceived them to be. The natives wear the colonist clothes and pray to their gods for help/guidance, which later she begins to adapt to the lifestyle of the natives. Rowlandson learns that there is a reason why god protects both the natives and colonists alike.

In “The Indian Emperour”, Dryden depicts a similar situation as Cortez love for Cydaria was enough to change Cortez as a vicious prideful conquistador to a more humble wiser one, which in the end of the story Cortez relieved how the natives and conquistadors weren’t that different from each other. In the blog post called “A City upon Intolerance and Genocide”, Thomas Pham refers to a puritan women known as Anne Hutchison who believed people should look into one’s own intuition to find salvation as opposed to following the guidelines of the Christian institution, which angered John Winthrop. During 1637 she was put on trial, that was presided by Winthrop, Hutchinson said, “You have no power over my body, neither can you do me any harm…Therefore take heed how you proceed against me—for I know that, for this you go about to do to me, God will ruin you and your posterity and this whole state” (Pham, 2). This belief I think grew on Rowlandson in the form of saying people are entitled to believe on whatever they want including the natives. The natives don’t have to follow the culture, linguistic, and religion of the colonist since they are cable of following whatever they want just the colonist.

-Roger Ortiz

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