Captain John Smith

Captain John Smith, Mary Rowlandson and Roger Williams each had their own views of Native Americans. Their difference in opinions, views and perspectives varied with time and personal accounts of each individual dealings. In 1607, John Smith was one of the first Englishmen to come to the New World and plant colonies in England’s North American territories. At that time, he traded goods with the Indians and learned their language and way of life which help make him responsible for the settlement and survival of Jamestown, England’s first permanent colony in America. Later that year he was captured by the Powhatans, where he changed his opinion of the Natives. He described them as demonic painted savages, doing rituals and magic. He used the quote, “As if near led to hell, Amongst the devils to dwell” (pg. 51); this clearly depicts a picture he wanted the readers of his material, to have concerning the Natives. It was clear to me that he once liked them and then not as much. This was similar to the way Mary Rowlandson viewed the Indians.
Mary Rowlandson, the wife of the Lancaster Church minister and God-fearing woman, whom also traded and dealt with the Native Americans many years with respect. Her views of Native Americans changed after her being captured when the Indians invaded Lancaster, during the King Phillip’s War, of 1676. Unlike John Smith, she had more reason to call them merciless savages, for they killed most her friends and family. Although these are the things war brings about, I totally understand how she felt; for if it was me journalizing my captivity, after seeing my family and friends gruesomely murdered, it would be hard to see the good in my captors. The one thing I especially liked about reading her journal was she expressed everything from what actually happened and also her emotions about what happened. This allowed me to form my own opinion of the Indians; whereas John Smith used a tactic which was to guide my feelings towards only his perception. Mary’s view seemed more honest, which leads me to Roger Williams, whom viewed the Indians in a like fashion as the other authors, before their opinions changed, by captivity.
Roger Williams, had problems dealing with his own kind because of the flaws he seen within the English Church. He also didn’t like how the Englishmen viewed the Native Indians and cheated them out of the rights to their lands. He spoke out against this mistreatment and was ousted by his own people, for his views. He was given refuge by the Narragansett Indians. In A Key Into The Language Of America he wrote, “There is a savor of civility and courtesy even amongst these wild Americans, both amongst themselves and towards strangers” (pg. 137). Vowing to keep things right, he properly purchased land from the Indians and made a colony of his own, which prospered. Earlier in the readings, I remember him saying that the Natives were more righteous and noble than the Englishmen. I liked reading his works because he didn’t allow what he heard about the Indians to guide his decision on how to view them.
In conclusion, all the Authors thought the Native Americans, were “Good People.” Different turn of events, changed and /or enhanced their views of them. It is truly up to the reader to form their own opinion of the Native Americans, and based on these authors experience, I would have to say the Native Americans were a Righteous people. All the authors came with preconceived notions, of the Natives and were able to trade and live amongst them.