Before you read Examine the quote then answer the question: “Nothing lasts longer than a first impression.”

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Europeans Interact with Native Americans
Objective: Students will examine interactions between Europeans and Native Americans.

  1. Before you read

  1. Examine the quote then answer the question:

Nothing lasts longer than a first impression.”

  1. What do you think this quote means?

  1. Do you agree with the quote? Why or why not?

  1. Examine the quotes below by Natives and Europeans about each other then answer the questions. Use complete sentences.

Native description of the Europeans
Men of strange appearance have come across the great water…Their skins are white like snow, and on their faces long hair grows.”

These people have come across the great water in wonderfully large canoes which have great white wings like those of a giant bird.”

The men have long and sharp knives, and they have long black tubes which they point at birds and animals. The tubes make a smoke that rises into the air just like the smoke from our pipes. From them come fire and such terrific noise that I was frightened, even in my dreams.

Ojibwa Prophet

European description of the Natives

In sum, they took everything and gave of what they had very willingly. But it seemed to me that they were a people very poor in everything. All of them go around as naked as their mothers bore them...

All those that I saw were young people, for none did I see of more than 30 years of age. They are very well formed, with handsome bodies and good faces. Their hair coarse -- almost like the tail of a horse-and short. They wear their hair down over their eyebrows except for a little in the back which they wear long and never cut.”

Some of them paint themselves with black… and some of them paint themselves with white, and some of them with red… And some of them paint their faces, and some of them the whole body, and some of them only the eyes, and some of them only the nose.”

They do not carry arms nor are they acquainted with them, because I showed them swords and they took them by the edge and through ignorance cut themselves. They have no iron.”

Christopher Columbus

  1. Based on eyewitness accounts, do Native Americans and Europeans respect the new culture they have encountered?

  1. Are there examples of bias in the two eyewitness accounts? Explain.

  1. What conditions influenced the way in which Native Americans and Europeans viewed one another?

  1. Europeans interact with Natives. Read each account of interactions between Europeans and Natives and then write your conclusion in the box on the right.

IV: Answer using complete sentences.

Based on what you have learned, what generalization can be made about interactions between Europeans and Native Americans? Use specific examples from text to support your response.

Europeans Interact with Native Americans

Directions: In order to learn more about interactions between Europeans and Native Americans, read the following. Use information from the text to complete a conclusion about the quality and impact of the interactions between each European nation and Native Americans.



The Spanish arrived in Latin America in 1492 and were amazed at how much gold, silver, and precious gems the Native Americans possessed. They quickly defeated two powerful Latin American civilizations. The Spanish then forced Native Americans to work as slaves in gold and silver mines. While many of the Spanish were searching for gold, other settlers established ranches and plantations. There, Native Americans were used as slaves performing manual labor.

European diseases (chicken pox, measles, and influenza), hunger, and poor working and living conditions claimed the lives of large numbers of Native Americans. To deal with this loss of labor, the Spanish brought slaves from Africa to replace the Native Americans who died.

As part of their settlements, the Spanish established missions to convert the natives to Christianity. Native Americans were often forced to live and work in the missions. Some priests recognized how badly Native Americans were treated and asked the king to protect them. Though some laws were passed, they were seldom enforced.

As Spanish settlements expanded, six social classes emerged. In terms of wealth, Native Americans ranked fourth, only slightly above free blacks and slaves from Africa. Though no longer used as slaves, Native Americans remained poor in Spanish colonies.

Interactions between the Spanish and Native Americans were mostly (positive / negative)




Although the French claimed a large amount of territory in North America, they had a small population in the New World. As a result, French settlers did not pose as great a threat to Native Americans as Spanish or English settlers. French settlers traded manufactured goods such as cloth and tools for the fur of beavers. These furs were then sold in Europe for large profits.

Unlike the English, French colonists established close relationships with Native American tribes and in many cases adopted their local customs. French settlers encouraged Native Americans to trap large amounts of fur to meet the increasing demand for pelts (animal fur and skin) in Europe.

As the French traveled further into North America, they claimed increasing amounts of land. Together, conflicts over land and control of the fur trade in North America would eventually lead to war between France and England. This war would involve Europeans and Native Americans.

Interactions between the French and Native Americans were mostly (positive / negative)


With vast natural resources, the English found North America an ideal place to build new colonies. Although early colonists were mostly unprepared for the challenges of establishing colonies, they did receive help from Native Americans.

The English quickly established trade with Native Americans. In return for manufactured goods from England, the Native Americans shared their way of life with colonists. The English also brought diseases from Europe. By the early 1700s, about 90% of Native Americans had died as a result of European diseases.

Unlike Native Americans, the English believed in owning land. As the population of the colonies grew more land was needed. This led to war. The largest conflict was King Phillip’s War in 1675. Led by Metacom (referred to as King Phillip by the English), Wampanoag Indians attacked English towns and killed more than 600 colonists. After more than a year of fighting, Metacom was killed. His family and approximately one thousand Indians were sold into slavery in the West Indies (Caribbean). Others were forced off tribal lands. As the colonies grew, the pattern of expansion and war would continue.

Interactions between the English and Native Americans were mostly (positive / negative)


Native American Populations of North America

Before the arrival of Europeans, Native Americans had a thriving population. It is estimated that approximately 850,000 to 1,000,000 Native Americans lived in what is now the United States when the Jamestown and Massachusetts colonies were established. However, contact with Europeans would have a tremendous impact on Native populations.

Directions: Examine the data below showing Native American tribal population. Use this

information to construct a bar graph and answer the questions below.

Data Table

Indian Tribes Population In Early 1600’s
Maryland Tribes 4,745

New England Tribes 16,000

Powhatan of Virginia 9,000

Choctaw of Mississippi 15,000

Iroquois of New York 6,000

Cherokee of Georgia 22,000

Title: _____________________________________________

Maryland Tribes

New England Tribes

Powhatan of Virginia

Choctaw of Mississippi

Iroquois of New York

Cherokee of Georgia

0 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24


  1. What is the total Native American population shown on the graph? ________________

  1. It is estimated that 90% of Native Americans died as a result of European

diseases. Given this estimate, how many Native Americans were left from each group?

Maryland Tribes - __________________

New England Tribes - __________________

Powhatan of Virginia - __________________

Choctaw of Mississippi- __________________

Iroquois of New York - __________________

Cherokee of Georgia - __________________

  1. What impact do you think the loss of 90% of their population had on Native American groups?

4. How did the loss in Native population impact Europeans living in the region?

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