Saturday, September 5, 2009

Race in Florida

Race has defined Florida since the first explorers arrived. The native tribes of the Calusa, Timucuans, Guales, and Apalachees were always viewed people who were not as valuable to society as the Europeans who invaded their land. Due to their primal ways of life, Europeans first overlooked the natives and described them in respect to the environment. After a period of time, explorers could no longer just associate these people with land. They learned more about how they performed everyday tasks, their religion, and skilled use of weapons. The more the explorers learned the less the two groups existed in peace. At this point in time, racial differences began to affect the way the Europeans treated the natives, which in turn, affected the way the natives acted towards the explorers. Due to frustration of having to work for success, colonists began blaming natives for misfortune. This blaming escalated into physical acts. The Indians could not just sit back and take this abuse, so they retaliated. Another issue that further separated the two groups was religion. The Indians believed in paganism and had their own systems of belief when it came to worship, sex, and marriage. The Europeans saw the natives’ religion and immediately sent missionaries, who were catholic, over to “save” them. The natives were set in their ways and the efforts of the missionaries were not accepted. The Europeans then sent Franciscan missionaries to the new world. These priest would not take no for an answer. They would force Catholicism on the natives using violence and even death threats. There goal was to eliminate culture differences between the two groups. They wanted to cloth the native people and teach them European acceptable behavior. Race has defined Florida in a way that states separate groups need to exist and accept one another. They must not try to change without the other group’s consent; otherwise, the racial clash creates tension, which leads to violence. In Florida, the Europeans never respected the natives beliefs and ultimately the native populations either died out or were significantly reduced.

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