Many Americans, that lived in the nineteenth century held various different stereotypes of Native Americans. Some may think of Native Americans living in the forest among animals, shooting off bows and arrows, and having pow wows. They where considered to be uncivilized monsters, that had only one goal, to kill the white man. While they did hold pow wows and different ceremonies, and the Native Americans did kill many Europeans this is not the whole truth nor very close to it. Fredrick Jackson Turner and Sarah Deutsch give good descriptions and thorough background information on Native Americans in Western history. When comparing their essays to James Fenimore Cooper?s novel, ?The Last of the Mohicans,? where we can get a better idea of the Indian?s point of view. One can see many similarities between the opinions of Turner and Deutsch and the image that Cooper portrays. There was many ideas and beliefs that these early Americas thought to be true, when in reality they where very wrong.
Sarah Deutsch describes the sexual relations between the Native Americans, and in this description says that very often the women in the tribes would marry Anglos. Even though the situation is a bit reversed, this is also shown in the novel. The two daughters of the General fall in love with the two Mohican boys. So it is here too that we can see the Indians did have interracial relationships and marriages. Whether it was the men or women, we do know that it happened.
Deutsch also mentioned, “None participated fully in the Anglo mythology of the West” (98, Deutsch). Here she is saying that the Natives, among many other races, did not follow all the rules and ways of the white men. This is also shown in ?The Last of the Mohicans.? The Mohicans, like many Indians of that time, refused to follow the ways of the white men. This resistance destroyed many different cultures. The only way for any of the Indians to survive was to summit. This is mainly because they do not want their culture to be wiped out or extinct. There are only a few of their people left and they must try to keep them alive. The Mohicans have seen the destructive paths the white men follow and they realize they should do whatever has to be done to save what they have left. Many of the Native Americans in our history saw this as well. If they hadn?t there would probably not have been so many battles and massacres on the Indians. They had to continue to defend themselves while being outnumbered and overpowered by the white men. Eventually, they had to give in and follow their rules, but the Indians have not completely lost their culture or traditions, only by abiding these rules and regulations were the Indians able to retain some of there heritage. Many of the tribes are still thriving in many places and on various reservations today.
The Battle at sitting bull was a perfect example of greed and selfishness where the Indians where crushed just for the gain of the Americans. Sarah Deutsch comments on this in her essay. While comparing the white man?s view to the Indians one can see the difference. To the White Man, the Indians were in the way of him getting the gold he desired. “To Sitting Bull, it resembled more a rampage of greed and selfishness, of exploitation and rigid hierarchies, whether based on race, sex or both” (98, Deutsch.) The white man and the armies could have cared less if they killed an entire Indian tribe. In fact, they probably would have celebrated. They were on a specific mission to get what they wanted and they would not let others get in the way of their victory and triumph. In The Last of the Mohicans, the General and his troops are fighting the Indians and think of them as savages that are inhuman and destroyed them unmercifully.
They would take any action possible to get rid of these “savages” without even worrying about the hundreds of men on their side who are dying because of this ignorance and selfishness. Men of this caliber have gone down in history books as being heroes, but only because the books are written by the winners. Killing millions of Indians that are out numbered and bound to lose is not a very strong act of heroism.
When looking at the characteristics between the essays and Cooper?s novel, it is easy to spot the similarities. Fredrick Jackson Turner makes a few specific points on how he sees the typical Native American. He describes them living in the “wilderness,” traveling in “birch canoes,” and wearing a “hunting shirt and moccasin” (73, Turner.) In The Last Of The Mohicans, the characters depict men who are so familiar with nature that they can run through the forest at top speed, have perfect aim with their bows and arrows, wearing moccasins, and traveling in canoes. Being more involved with nature and good hunters does not constitute the views of these earl Americans.
Turner mentions in his essay “the Indian trade pioneered the way for civilization” (78, Turner.) He is speaking of how their trails became ours, and eventually turned in to our roads and even highways. This is shown continuously through out the book. The Indians would follow their trails own and paths and the general and his troops would be close behind, on the same route. The only way for them to get to the Indians was to follow their trails that would eventually take them to the place in which they lived. Travel to the west and the advancement of the frontier was greatly made possible because of the Indians. A fact that was commonly over looked by most people of that time.
Both Turner and Deutsch talk about the Anglos view of the Indians and how they saw themselves as being superior when compared to them. The Anglos thought of the Indians as uneducated, savage, and uncivilized. They put the Native Americans to work as slaves. They treated them like animals and did not, in any way, show respect for their people or their way of life. They saw themselves as being better than the Natives were. Really, the truth of the matter is that the men who tried to wipe out this great culture were the savage ones. There are many points in ?The Last of the Mohicans,? where this viewpoint is displayed. We hear the white men talking about the Indians in a demeaning manner and we see them slaughter unfathomable amounts of Natives. It is quite disgusting to see one group of people be so uncaring, deceitful, and evil.
The Last of the Mohicans is very similar to the two viewpoints of Fredrick Jackson Turner and Sarah Deutsch and gives great insight to the life of the Indians. Two well-educated historians have been able to give us accurate information on Native Americans in our history. The novel, ?The Last of the Mohicans,? also gives us a detailed image of what life was like for the Indians. Although it may be a bit exaggerated for the entertainment of the reader, it gives very insightful perception. Cooper, the author of this book, must have done his research when writing it, because it goes along very well with the facts and characteristics of Indians. Unfortunately the ignorance of many men destroyed something so great.