Tuesday, 9 February 2016
Settlers vs Natives
The image I have chosen, taken from http://nationalcowboymuseum.org/explore-the-west/ is representing white settlers migrating to the west and their encounter with a group of Indians. This meeting with the Indians may have been the first encounter the white settlers had with the Indians.
Here we see both groups of people have some kind of weapon, highlighting how both groups were wary of the other and they were both prepared to fight if conflict arose. both the settlers and the Indians hold very different weapons, the settler holding a sophisticated (for the time) riffle, and the Indian with a crossbow. the differences in the weapons I believe shows how different these groups were and how even though the world around them was fast developing, the Indians chose to continue to use older, less sophisticated weapons. This difference in weapons could suggest to the white settler that they are superior to the natives, a view that was often held by them.
The image depicts the settlers moving west and in this picture it seems as though the settlers see moving onto Indian territory, with the Indians that we see trying to protect what they believe to be theirs. We know from reading A Little House on the Prairie that the Indians did not take well to white settlers moving onto their territory, so the weapons held by them shows they were always prepared to confront any intruder and perhaps scare them away. The Indians probably believed that they were protecting what was rightfully theirs from the destruction that came with western expansion.
The image does not portray an actual fight, although, in my opinion, I see a fight about to occur. We know that there were tensions between settlers and the Indians as the settlers were keen to begin ranching and farming on native land, with the Indians attempting to resist what is sometimes known as 'Anglo migration'.
Indians often believes that the lad they lives on was not owned by one person in particular, but was common land for the whole tribe, and it was therefore the whole tribes duty to protect this land from the farming that came with western expansion. In this image, I see white settlers attempting to take over Indian land, with the natives doing their duty to protect what is theirs.
The Indian in this image seems to be holding up his arm, this can be viewed in two ways: that the Indian is calling over the other Indians to aid him in protecting the land and warning off the settlers, or you can see it as him trying to make peace with the settler. I choose too view it as the latter. However, this is unlikely to be the case as we know that tensions ran high between settlers and Indians, with peace and agreements not made lightly. The Indian is also still holding his weapon, indicating that peace has not been made. As modern day students, we may choose to believe the latter, however, the truth of the matter is likely to be that violence was soon to occur.
Finally, the white settler in the foreground of the image is depicted as being the larger figure. This may imply that the settlers were superior to the Indians. I was unable to find who painted this image, however,we can assume that it was painted by a white artist, with a potential agenda of portraying the natives as lesser people.