Puritans Essay, Research Paper
When the puritans came to America, they were greeted by Native Americans who were empathetic and understanding of their reasons for leaving the strict religious scheme outlined by their society in Europe. The Native Americans were fearless of their visitors until they decided to ravish them of the land that they had inhabited for hundreds of years. The white trash had sleazily driven them acre by acre to the point of living off scarcely enough land to survive. Despite this mayhem, a Native American steps up out of the ruin as a great religious leader, diplomat, and man of respect, representing his tribe, the Senecas, extraordinarily well.
All throughout the essay Speech to the Missionaries Red Jacket is a great religious leader to his people. The white missionaries were short-sighted people that thought that they could somehow transform these futile savages into tolerable human beings. Despite these pressures, Red Jacket is firm in supporting his people s beliefs and not giving into the missionaries. When they try to tell Red Jacket how predominant their religion is, he fires right back at them and drills holes in their religious ethics. Among his arguments, he emphasizes that they don t have any set religion. Catholics, Lutherans, and Protestants alike were all religions of the white man. How could there be so many religions for one Great Spirit and one Good Book? Red Jacket believes in the spirits that his people worship because there is one and only one Great Spirit.
After tearing apart the white man s religion, Red Jacket shows his leadership as a diplomat when the missionaries propose that the Indians adapt their religion. He knows that his people would never even consider adopting such a thing, yet he proposes a compromise anyway. Understanding the effect that the whites could have on the future of his people, he sets aside a small part of his huge vanity. He proposes that his people will consider adapting their religion if their white neighbors, the ones they had developed animosity for, became more honest and less disposed to cheat the Indians. Even though there wasn t a chance that it would ever happen, Red Jacket is willing to put it out there as a compromise anyway.
The third major leadership quality that Red Jacket exhibits is respect. The whites take over the Native Americans land, deprive them of the buffalo and other vital resources, and finally try to force their religion upon them. Where most people would stand up to the mistreatment and fight malignantly, Red Jacket dismisses such actions. Instead he sets these grudges aside and treats the white missionaries just like they were his brothers. In his essay he even addresses the whites as such.
In this way, Red Jacket is playing his cards wisely. After the whites ancestors wiped out a great majority of his people through killing and disease, it didn t leave many of them left. It s an unfortunate fact, but if he would have directly stood up to the missionaries, there would have been conflict. With thousands, possibly millions of whites, Red Jacket s people would be wiped out for good.
In conclusion, Red Jacket brought together his leadership skills to form a strategy and good tactics in opposing the missionaries religious beliefs. It was his respectfulness that kept the situation within reason. Finally, Red Jacket s diplomatic nature turned the whites away and kept the Senecas religion well alive and thriving.