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The Confiscation of Cultural IdentityThe intermingling of contradictory cultures is perhaps nowhere more identifiable to Americans than the encounter between Native North Americans and the European settlers Within this encounter there exists a close first-hand glimpse of how these indigenous people lived These accounts are filled with personal feelings and biases toward the native groups However within these biases there arises an interesting incite into not only the manner by which Native Americans lived but also how the European outsiders viewed their way of life The preconceptions based upon existing accounts of Native American contact were a considerable factor in the belief systems maintained by Europeans before direct contact had ever taken place The result is a cycle of cultural identification that displaced a native culture into a position of resentment among the European settlers These captivity narratives were more than simply descriptions of an unfamiliar culture captivity narratives were political and socializing tools used to promote the Native Americans in a certain identity based upon much more than personal experienceThe initial reports of captivity were not met with the same slants that the eventual accounts would render They were done to put Indians into a social context Stereotypes of the Indian emerged when colonization of the New World succeeded exploration and it became necessary to have fixed views so that the Indians could be dealt with These stereotypes varied with the aims of the colonizing nations and were based on preconceptions and in turn were used as evidence to confirm and hence to perpetuate Placing Indians in a context was part of the infestation of European culture The European stereotyping had many consequences toward the eventual take over of the continent The creation of an Indian identity served to promote the European way-of-life as the morally correct model made legitimate actions and intentions of colonial and American policy toward Native American groups created a social fear of Native Americans and Native American interaction and
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