Narrative Frameworks and Erasure: Early U.S. – Indian Policy

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Narrative Frameworks and Erasure: Early U.S. – Indian Policy The invasion of New England in the early 17th century by European settlers saw a delicate balance struck between Native Americans and New English settlers. The settlers depended on Native Americans for their survival, and in turn Native Americans sought to investigate and contain the new element in their territory. In time, settlers seeking to expand westward used violence and brought disease that decimated native populations. European settlers claimed the land it as their God-given right, and declared themselves the first civilized people to occupy the land. The invocation of divine will is an example of one of the many ways in which Europeans sought to change the story about their relationship with Native Americans during America’s early history. They describe themselves as intellectually and culturally superior, as deserving of the land they call theirs. Jean O’Brien argues in her book Firsting that New English history utilizes narrative frameworks to erase Native American’s role in history United States Indian policy and history. This essay will argue that these frameworks utilize race and culture as divisive tools, as well as paternalistic ideals to claim power over Native Americans. Finally the re-scripting of events through diaries and other literature that describe Indian “occupation” rather than possession or nativity, or the “first” wedding in a New English colony to manufacture a status quo where the New English become native New Englanders, and where Indians become intruders in settlements rather than the land’s native inhabitants. In other words, narrative frameworks are a tool of erasure of Indian culture and society in the early history of New England. New English settlers used racial and cultural differences to drive a wedge between themselves and the “other” inhabitants of the

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