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Neal Salisbury, Manitou and Providence

Neal Salisbury, Manitou and Providence, 110-135

Q1. I was surprised at the initial good faith shown by the natives to the settlers. I was also surprised by the degree to which the natives were willing to trust the settlers, in exchange for trading agreements. The relationship between the natives and the settlers, which was unequal from its inception and in its subsequent outcome, is a powerful illustration of the danger of putting material goods at a higher priority than territorial security and upholding ones values as a people.

Q2. Given the later animosity between the two sides, the agreement was extraordinary: both sides agreed to aid one another if attacked, to return any tools that were stolen (reflecting European notions of personal property and thus an important point for the English), to disarm during meetings, and to turn over any Indians suspected of assaulting settlers to the English (while the English did not agree to submit themselves to Indian justice).

This suggested that the English did not see the Indians as their political and social equals. Additionally, Massasoit, the Pokanoket leader or sachem, was given special status because he was designated as the colonys special Indian agent and a subject of the English king. No reciprocal subjection was demanded of the settlers, for any of their leaders. The Pokanoket accepted these unfair terms because of their desire for trade, reciprocal gifts, and greater prestige.

Q3. The Pokanoket viewed the Pilgrims as being part of a regional trade pact, bound by a network of hospitality agreements. The Pilgrims found such demands to be very threatening and discomforting. They demanded to only interact with the sachem, or leader, or his representative, and used the excuse that the corn shares were too limited to offer overnight stays, as expected by the natives as part of their customs..

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