Wednesday, December 03, 2008

So what is your image of the Pilgrims and their relationship with the Native Americans? I have this mental image of Pilgrims in black and white outfits and Indians in feathers and buckskins. And of course they all sit down to a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.

I had hoped that in reading this book, I would find things about the Pilgrims to be thankful for. The BAM challenge was to be about thanks and giving. I did not find what I was looking for, but this was a fascinating book.

Philbrick dispelled many of my preconceptions. Mayflower gave me a better idea about why the Pilgrims came to North America; what the difference is between Pilgrims and Puritans and what the relationship between the Native Americans and the Pilgrim interlopers was like. My history classes did not do justice to anyone from this time period.

Several things amazed me. First of all I had no idea how much we actually know about the Native Americans of New England. I am truly unaware of Native American history and culture. I wouldn't even know where to begin reading, if I wanted to know more.

Secondly, the Europeans were alarmingly convinced that they were the norm. This is an issue for most of us - we can only see the world through our own eyes. However, I am sorry that few of the people who came to this continent could see those who are native as actual people. Humans don't seem to learn quickly.

I wish that I found Philbrick's style a bit more compelling. However, I am more than happy that I have a better idea about some of our early history. So many books show me how little I know. Philbrick did a good job of teaching me more about my country. And for that I should be thankful.

No comments: