Europeans in North America.
Here's how it goes:
This is Ray Freeman with the MAKING OF A NATION, a V-O-A Special English program about the history of the United States.
Our story today is a sad one. It is the story of a clash of peoples, religions, ideas, and cultures. It is a story of strongly held ideas and a lack of compromise.
It is the story of the relations between Europeans and the natives who had lived for thousands of years in the area we now call North America.
Many different native American groups lived on the east coast of what would become United States. They spoke many different languages. Some were farmers, some were hunters. Some fought many wars, others were peaceful.
These groups are called tribes. Their names are known to most Americans...the Senecas, the Mohawks, the Seminole, the Cherokee to name only a few.
These tribes had developed their own cultures many years before the first European settlers arrived. Each had a kind of religion, a strong spiritual belief. Many tribes shared a similar one. The Indians on the east coast shared a highly developed system of trade. Researchers say different tribes of native Americans traded goods all across the country.
The first recorded meetings between Europeans and the natives of the east coast took place in the Fifteen Hundreds. Fishermen from France and the Basque area of Spain crossed the Atlantic Ocean. They searched for whales along the east coast of North America. They made temporary camps along the coast. They often traded with the local Indians.
The Europeans often paid Indians to work for them. Both groups found this to be a successful relationship. Several times different groups of fishermen tried to establish a permanent settlement on the coast, but the severe winters made it impossible. These fishing camps were only temporary.
The first permanent settlers in New England began arriving in Sixteen-Twenty. They wanted to live in peace with the Indians. They needed to trade with them for food. The settlers also knew that a battle would result in their own, quick defeat because they were so few in number.
Yet, problems began almost immediately. Perhaps the most serious was the different way the American Indians and the Europeans thought about land. This difference created problems that would not be solved during the next several hundred years...
And we get a religious clash, too:
the Indians did not understand that the settlers were going to keep the land. This idea was foreign to the Indians. It was like to trying to own the air, or the clouds.
As the years passed, more and more settlers arrived, and took more and more land. They cut down trees. They built fences to keep people and animals out. They demanded that the Indians stay off their land.
Religion was another problem between the settlers and the Indians. The settlers in New England were very serious about their Christian religion. They thought it was the one true faith and all people should believe in it. They soon learned that the Indians were not interested in learning about it or changing their beliefs.
Many settlers came to believe that Native Americans could not be trusted because they were not Christians. The settler groups began to fear the Indians. They thought of the Indians as a people who were evil because they had no religion. The settlers told the Indians they must change and become Christians. The Indians did not understand why they should change anything.
The European settlers failed to understand that the Native American Indians were extremely religious people with a strong belief in unseen powers. The Indians lived very close to nature. They believed that all things in the universe depend on each other. All native tribes had ceremonies that honored a creator of nature. American Indians recognized the work of the creator of the world in their everyday life...
No wonder the term "settler" is so important for those hostile to the presence of revenant Jews in their historic homeland.