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Varieties of Acculturation It is absolutely necessary to remember that the intruders and teachers from the Eastern hemisphere did not all come upon
the Indians with the same qualifications and appliances, with the same motives and momentum, and by the same roads of culture. In addition to those who had the mental and industrial prosperity of the savages in mind, there was an unconscious and therefore more effective pedagogy from the first. The crowned heads of Europe as well as the chartered companies expressed the liveliest sympathy in the instruction of the natives; but the hundreds of men who came to America, leading a folk-life at home not a great deal higher than that of the Indian, but different by reason of iron, without the slightest attempt to play the teacher, contributed substantial additions to the curriculum. It was not so much the governor, the general, the one in authority who married among the Indians and infected them with the Iron Age as it was the common soldier, the skilled artisan, the hunter, the fisherman, and the laborer. In these classes exist remarkably the individualities and idiosyncrasies of different nationalities.
The old voyagers to America were amply fitted out. Captain Luke Fox (1635) dwells on this: “I was victualled compleatly for eighteene months.
My carpenter was fitted out from the thickest boat to the primpe nayle or tacket. The gunner from the sabor to the pistol, the boatswaine from the cable to the sayle twine, the steward and cooke from the caldron to the spoone.”
Every one knows the sailor and his ditty box, what marvels of folk-art the latter contains, and you may in any aboriginal collection from coast tribes pick out many specimens whereon he has been middleman from place to place.
As in the training of children, so in the training of peoples; some teachers encourage, others discourage; some succeed and advance culture, some fail and destroy the scholar. But the street education is always a success. Iron arrow blades, iron harpoon blades, iron fish hooks, iron needles, iron tools, such as knives, saws, axes, files, and chisels, were better than stone ones for the same purpose. These only encouraged and patronized
1 Hakluyt, Hawkins' Voyage, 1847, p. x.
aboriginal life and art. Compelling men to drop all old pursuits and thoughts and to take up new ones or those of women and overworking them destroyed aboriginal life and frequently the people; but the silent education of European folk-life was never destructive.
In order to tabulate what each stock of Indians in America received in the way of implements and instructions from the newcomers it would be necessary to obtain the names of the nations participating, to know intimately their culture status, and what each expedition actually brought, officially and unofficially, especially the latter. Columbus is said to have offered to the natives trinkets and hawkbells; but in fact he, as well as his contemporaries, thrust before their gaze and fancy and desire all his varied equipment. The conquerors had the mining and metallurgic apparatus of their day. So a knowledge of artisan Europe is demanded in this elimination.
Intrusion of African Culture
To a very great extent the common people of Europe and natives of negroid Africa mingled their blood and influence with Indian blood and culture. The latter taught the Americans their dress, trades, language, customs, and myths.
In the first quarter of a century Spanish America was Latinized and had been widely occupied by slaves from Africa. The blood of the Dark Continent runs in many streams on the Western hemisphere, and wherever you see that you must expect speech and industry to have been similarly affected. These effects have not been studied out, but they will be found extensive.
Mr Justin Winsor informs me that as early as 1500 Columbus suggested to Philip the alternative of securing negroes to work the mines of Hispaniola. The king decreed that only could negroes be carried to America who had been born in Spain or brought there from Africa and christianized. In Herrera we read that Ovando, in 1505, solicited that no negro slaves should be sent to Hispaniola, for they fled among the Indians and taught them bad customs and never could be captured. Yet
1 Hist. de las Indias, dec. 1, lib. v, cap. 12, quoted in Helps' “Spanish Conquest of America," chap. 11.
the king wrote to Ovando in September of that year, promising to send more negroes. In 1508 the Spaniards introduced negroes from the Guinea coast into Haiti to work in their mines by the side of and with enslaved Indians. The slave trade was regularly authorized by Charles V in 1517, and up to the period when ethnographic studies began to be made systematically, certainly during the next three hundred years, not less than five or six millions of negroes were directly imported into America, a number equaling the entire native population in both hemispheres of the Western World.'
Every now and then a museum curator is startled by receiving, from Spanish America especially, something that vividly reminds him of the Dark Continent. The chances are even that it had its origin there, and the transfer to this side of the Atlantic is easily accounted for. The marimba, the national musical instrument in the Central American republics, played by Indians, is of negro origin, even the name having accompanied it. Negro servants and mechanics accompanied the expedition of Ursua and Aguirré down the Amazon from Peru to the Negro, up this river to the Orinoco, and to the sea. It has been lately stated that some of the Amazon tribes have wavy hair.?
In 1575 John Oxman joined the cimarrones or marooners, fugitive negroes in the mountains of Panama, where they had a habitation called Santiago de los Negros. The history of the Jamaica and the Guiana marooners is well known. In 1593 Hawkins overtook a Portuguese ship of 100 tons bound for Angola to load with negroes for the river Plata. These negroes were marched from the headwaters of the Plata to Potosi to labor in the mines. In the same year he mentions a tribe of Indians at Cape San Francisco, Ecuador, led by a molato. To this narrative might be added the formation of the tribes of black Caribs and the performances of the negro Estévan at Zuñi in 1539. But this one proposition will cover the ground : It seems impossible to find a single expedition from the picture of which the negro face does not protrude.
1 On the infusion of language see Brinton in American Antiquarian, vol. ix, no. 6. 2 Bollaert: Hakluyt, 28, 1861, 106 et seq.
3 Hawkins' Voyage : Hakluyt, London, 1847, p. 236. Dallas : History of the Maroons, 1803.
4 Hakluyt: London, 1817, pp. 94, 181.
Intrusion of Aryan Culture In the sixteenth century the following branches of the Aryan family set out toward the New World: 1, The Spaniards, ostensibly for the whole of it west of the Portuguese boundary, really for the middle and the southern portions. 2, The Portuguese for Brazil. 3, The Dutch and French for South America, Canada, and Louisiana. 4, The English and Scandinavians for North America. 5, The Russians toward Alaska, overland through Siberia, taking with them Cossacks and various Ural-Altaic and Siberian contingents.
Frequently, we are told, it was the very dregs of these nations that first impressed their vices and diseases upon the native American life; but in this study it is important to emphasize the fact that these dregs were always from the artisan folk of their native homes, who came into most intimate relationship with savages having little prejudice against men who were lifted but slightly above them in total culture. The artisan folk were the Iron-age folk par excellence as against both the regulative class and the rustic class.
The Spanish intrusion into America as well as that of the Portuguese was for wealth, either of commerce or in the precious metals. They had with them two sets of teachers, two faculties, so to speak--the industrial and the spiritual-and the work of both was thoroughly done upon the pupils. Their ships were well provided with mechanics in wood, iron, and tackle. The southern Europeans of that day were handy workmen, as the relics of their crafts in old palaces and cathedrals testify. The iron tools offered to their native disciples could do excellent work.
At the outset the Indians were sold into captivity and iron put into the hands of every one forcibly. The first attempts to instruct them was the repartimiento de Indios, by which they were divided among the Spaniards, who had the profits of their labor without the right of property in persons. Next the encomienda, by which they were placed under the superintendence of the Spaniards. An encomiendero was appointed and bound to live in the district which contained the Indians of his encomienda, to watch over their conduct, instruct, and civilize them. They were then confided to missionaries and curates.'
1 Cf. Mrs Metcalf, quoting Mr Poinsett: Ex. Doc., xvi Cong., sess. II; also Ind. Affairs, 11, 409, and Humboldt's History of New Spain.
The chief agency, no doubt, in Latin America for making the Indians personally acquainted with industrial tools of iron was the “reductions” of Jesuits and Franciscans.
of Jesuits and Franciscans. The hoe formerly and aboriginally-if a sharp stick, a shell, or a bone may be dignified with that name-belonged to women. For a man to use one was a disgrace. It was the “reduction” and specially the lay brother there that interested men in agriculture, that made them personally acquainted with the ax, the saw, the file, the machete, either to effect more easily and rapidly old functions or to undertake those that were new or had been uncongenial.
In May, 1539, the Timucua Indians of western Florida were attacked by a company of Spanish horsemen; they fought with their bows and arrows, but having no armor two of them were killed. The rest got away and gave an alarm, which was spread from settlement to settlement by means of fires. This Spanish expedition proceeded northward into the Muskhogean, Uchean, and perhaps the Cherokee territory, subsisting on the country and putting its yoke on the natives. But it had been anticipated, for De Soto found in Cutifachique a dagger and beads that had belonged to Christians, evidently relics of De Ayllon's visits' in 1520 and 1524. Even De Ayllon had been preceded on the ground by the romantic Ponce de Leon in 1512.
This seems to have been the common experience after the first quarter of a century; the fame of the Spaniards had spread abroad and their coming forestalled. However, the endogamic family in the tribe acted often as a barrier to universal acculturation, and there are said to be tribes now living that the Iron Age has not even touched.
At the north the desire for fish and furs, the quest of the northwest passage, the purpose to enlarge the national domain and colonization to get away from persecution brought iron into the Western world, together with its allies and productions. So if you travel among the northern tribes you will there find both men and women engaged in old pursuits, getting better results with improved iron appliances. All of our museums are crowded with Indian collections from this area especially, but not one specimen in a hundred is genuinely aboriginal. Even an unsophisticated cabinet of unadulterated native ancient art is unknown.
1 Gentleman of Elvas, Hakluyt, 1851, p. 58.