Response #1

AnnMarie Mark

Professor Alvarez

English 255


Vindication of Rights: A Closer look at the Colonization of the Spaniards
Defender of the Indians
The Indians are one of the first people to experience slavery and colonization of their land by the Spanish colonists. The Spaniards used brutal methods in their conquest that are a disgrace to humanity. They slaughter the Indians because they have the upper hand. The indigenous population soon disappears because of illnesses that they are unable to fight, war, horrendous treatment and many killed themselves to escape all the pain and destruction. The Indians are a race that is submissive and tolerant. They possess an innocence that is easily dominated by the conquerors. We can not deny that these people are apart of a genocide because of their land and property along with the undying goal of the colonists to convert the Indians to Catholicism. The colonizer and the conqueror are one. The Indians are comparable to beasts in their eyes because of an undeniable greed. Fray Bartolome De Las Casas is considered today and in his time as the Defender of the Indians. In From Devastation of the Indies: A Brief Account De Las Casas writes:
Their reason for killing and destroying such an infinite number of souls is that the Christians have an ultimate aim, which is to acquire gold, and to swell themselves with riches in a very brief time and thus rise to a high estate disproportionate to their merits. It should be kept in mind that their insatiable greed and ambition, the greatest ever seen in the world, is the cause of their villainies […] And I say this from my own knowledge of the acts I witnessed. (De Las Casas16)

De Las Casas speaks of the horrible acts that he witnesses as the Spaniards inhabited the lands. He addresses the irony of the Christian man who in fact claims to be a man of God and yet greed is the reasoning behind the suffering and violence against this race of people. Their goal is to conquer and accomplish, but their accomplishments consist of unjustly ravaging these nations. Hispaniola now Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica which were all heavily populated nations, but because of mass affliction and torture these places became deserted. These once beautiful nations destroyed. The Christian man does not see that his behavior as being sinful, in his mind he is “civilizing” the people. The many acts of killing and carnage do not pale in comparison to any type of genocide that we learn in school textbooks, but yet it seems as though these people are a forgotten people. The immeasurable bloodshed of these inhabitants range in the millions and De Las Casas believes the number to exceed twelve million. De Las Casas loathes the horrible acts that were transpiring and would introduce his views on the atrocities by the Spanish on the indigenous population.

A Spoof that Reminds Us
The Mission by Culture Clash is a satire about the Spaniards who colonized lands inhabited by the Indians. The focus of Culture Clash is to show how the Europeans came to these lands and forced the Indians who are considered savages, to adapt to their culture and language. The Indians had no choice but to part from their native language and assimilate to the Spaniards or else they would be killed. They worked long hours of hard labor and were treated like slaves. In the spoof Father Serra represents Fray Junipero Serra who was known as a kind hearted man leading missions in California with the Native Indians. He was known for adoring the Indians and there were talks of him being declared a Saint until the Native Americans exclaimed that the mission was brutal and an unpleasant situation for the natives. In the excerpt below from The Mission, Culture Clash gives a vivid account of Father Serra along with the mentality of the Colonizers:
Father Serra loved his little savages. No Indian was buried before his time.
And, by the grace of God, he set out to make these naked creatures “Men of
Reason” […] I took away their pagan dances and gave them true culture! […] I
took away their primitive tongue and taught them Espanol.[…] And with a little
whip, the gun and the cross they respect me. (Culture Clash 2440-2441)

This passage from the mission is ironic and humorous at the same time. Culture Clash is touching on the fact that Father Serra is a man of God, but yet he deems the Indians as savages. The irony of the comment is that he sees these people as human but he feels that they should part from their culture and language and adapt to Spaniards. He feels as though the Indians in some right need taming and they need to conform to a culture where they will behave in a civilized manner. Father Serra desires that the Indians conform to an organized religion and they will dispose of their language and learn the language set forth by the colonizers. If they fail to adhere to the demands, they shall be disciplined to the fullest extent. The Indians have been robbed of their livelihood.
These events happened over centuries ago, but it still leaves me feeling uneasy because I can not imagine having my entire life and culture taken away from me and being forced to conform upon demand. The Indians are not the only ones that experienced this type of savagery, but no matter what the race it is despicable and immoral.

Stavans, Ilan, and Edna Acosta-Belen. “The Mission Culture Clash.” The Norton
Anthology of Latino Literature. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2011. 2440-441.

Herrera-Sobek, Maria, and Gustavo Perez Firmat, eds. “Fray Bartolome De Las Casas
From The Devastation Of The Indies: A Brief Account.” The Norton Anthology
of Latino Literature. Ed. Ilan Stavans, Edna Acosta-Belen, Harold Augenbraum,
and Rolando Hinojosa. Trans. Herma Briffault. 1st ed. New York: W.W. Norton
&, 2011. 13-20. Print.

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