Why Did White Settlers Find It Difficult to Understand the Culture of the Plains Indians

1014 Words5 Pages
Why did White Settlers find it Difficult to Understand the Culture of the Plains Indians? White settlers from the east found it difficult to understand the culture of the Plains Indians as they had conflicting views on key factors of their lives such as religion, warfare and most importantly, land. The Whites believed their culture and were famously ignorant of what others thought, and so when they discovered the Indians with such extreme differences to their own, it was difficult to understand. Each thought that their own culture was the better of the two; ergo problems began to erupt as time went by. The Plains Indians had different views on warfare to the White settlers. For them, it was all about being brave, stealing horses and weapons, showing spiritual power and counting coup. For the White settlers, it was about land, money, glory and killing. The Indian wars, however, were not filled with bloodshed. It was considered braver to touch an enemy with one’s coup stick then to kill a man, as one could easily kill a man by shooting them with an arrow (or rifle) from far away without any danger to themselves. The Whites on the other hand viewed killing as a necessity, where a dead enemy is a better option. Despite warfare progressing with rifles and horses being widely available to the Indians, fatalities in Indian warfare remained low. The Whites also found the Indian belief of scalping an enemy horrific. The Whites believed that after killing an enemy it was disrespectful and unlucky to touch a dead enemy. Whereas the Indians believed that scalping an enemy would shame them and would not be allowed into the afterlife, so could not have revenge in the afterlife. Another difference in warfare was the Whites would have long wars and campaigns until the enemy was vanquished or a peace treaty was signed. Indian wars would be different. They wouldn’t go to war as a

More about Why Did White Settlers Find It Difficult to Understand the Culture of the Plains Indians

Open Document