Essay Sample on the Difference between Native and Settler Relations to Land

Published: 2022-03-18 11:51:16
Essay Sample on the Difference between Native and Settler Relations to Land
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories: Literature American literature
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1495 words
13 min read
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Colonialism is still considered a somewhat broad topic full of all types of controversy. The reason behind the act, as well as the way it was executed, always brings forth a basis of an argument. With time, it becomes more evident that the perception of the whole matter depended on who was analyzing it and where his or her principles lie. However, the standard denominator remains the differing view that both sides had in regards to land. Most areas that were colonized were deemed by colonialists as uncivilized given their lack of literacy. The driving force behind the colonization was their lack of approval in natives' way of life. The colonialists wanted to spread education, but this came at a vast expense of the natives feeling invaded and ended up being forced into certain ideologies since the colonialists were better equipped when it came to technological advancement. This paper explores two texts that shed light on colonialism all the while exploring the significant difference in the way they each viewed land which was their primary source of conflict.

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In the book "Typee", Tom, the main character notes his full awe of the beauty that the natives had that merged perfectly with the way they worked together as a whole. He points out their seamless corporation even when it came to land ownership. Unlike the UK, his native area of residence, Tom could tell that the land had no specific division and instead it was communal. The only boundaries that were in place are that different tribes occupied different places in the same area. The Typee did not believe in personal land ownership. They used the land as a communal resource since the people of the region had inherited their property from their ancestors and it was considered one of the most unacceptable acts to pass it on to someone who was not of your tribe (Melville 56). This was unlike the West where people could sell off their land regardless of the origin. The notable difference was that for the Typee, the land was very valuable and sentimental, for the Whites, it was more off an asset than anything else. For the Typee, it was not an option to extract minerals from land since it was not only sacred but the mining would ultimately not be of any use to them. For Europeans however, the land was a commodity that was at human being's disposable for them to use it as a resource. The Typee people used their lands as a resource, but differently, they had respect for it so much that pollution was unheard of. It was considered a place where life is derived from regarding food and medicine (Melville 95). The westernized world focused more on artificial or chemical medicine. They were more focused on maximizing all that they could from land making it making it more from prone to pollution. In the book, however, it is not clear who is the slave and why the Typee want to keep around both Tom and Toby. However, the way they are treated is very different from the way settlers treated the natives. Tom is even given a personal manservant who caters to all his needs, and he is allowed to mingle with the people and even starts as a girl from the tribe. When it came to the settlers taking care of natives, they were very cruel and treated them like savages. That is why colonialism came with a lot of hatred from both ends since they always found themselves fighting. In addition to all these, even in as much as the Typee and the Happar were known to be very different people, they collaborated when the Typee approached them to keep Toby around. Toby thought that they were in a fight, but it was all a ploy to delay him from reaching the bay on time as a consequence he would not find any boats and would have to stay in the land (Melville).

In "Waimea Summer", when the narrator visits the land where his father had lived in Hawaii, he is shaken by just how much things are different. He aches to go back to civilization. He makes a note that his father had a lot of respect and sentimentality to the place and he accorded it to the way the Hawaiians have to the spirits (Holt 5). Much can be seen in the difference he sees in the place. To him, it is freezing, dark, and unfamiliar and in desperate need of a lot of changes but to the natives, they are, even more, worried that things are changing faster than they could have predicted. Most of the relatives and chiefs that the narrator meet can keep on reminding him that the place is deteriorating because they are not appeasing the spirits. They note that the previous generations such as their grandfathers were great ritualists and warriors hence the area was never prone to disturbance and everyone had his or her role to play in the living arrangement. The narrator also explains how much the people of the land did not need a lot but instead worked with minimal resources. They still used lambs as a source of light and all the other things that they worked with were very simple. They believed in the preservation of their land and anything that would disturb its peace would automatically lead to the spirits getting angry and punishing them. Once the narrator told them of his grandmothers, they were hesitant to let him go. They referred to him as one of their own since he came from the same place and ancestors that they were from. They had deep respect for people that belonged to them. They wanted to restore their culture and their previous ways of living. The fact that their narrator was part of their clan convinced them that he had a share of land and it was his obligation to stay with them (Holt). This was very unfamiliar to the narrator, and he did not wish to remain. In fact, he gets more scared as the place is too dark and he feels that perhaps that entire thing he had been told about the black magic of the area Waimea plus it being ghost-ridden was right. He was more used to a lot of civilization and ease in conducting work. He found their way of living very distressing.

The narrator was showed the actual contrast of the natives' perception of their land and the settlers. He had come from Honolulu a much more developed place and was more interested in the resources that he could derive from such untapped land rather than leaving it barren and just extracting plants. He felt this as under usage of the resource. He also did not understand why the natives insisted on living such simple lives and concluded that it must be from ignorance (Holt 196).

As can be seen, by both texts, the settlers had a problem understanding the natives. They felt a need to educate them more on how to live a better and improved lifestyle but the natives were content in the way they handled their affairs, and this is why there was a lot of conflicts. They were not necessarily the savages that most dismissed them as but were more peaceful and had a different understanding of life after many years of the same practices. The natives felt that settlers were more prone to misusing the land that they had in-depth respect. The natives' lack of personalization of anything improved their communal setup but the settlers were keener on disrupting it and allocating different sides to different persons and roles. Settlers, in the natives' views, were brutal and selfish. This is why they resisted change.

Contemporary resolutions to the injustices of colonialism

Colonialism and settlement negatively impacted the indigenous communities. In Hawaii, for instance, there was a massive depopulation because out of one million natives in the 18th century, only less than twenty percent remain today. Apart from that, the encounter with foreigners led to landlessness, political and economic marginalization and other horrors. However, by understanding the differences between the western civilization and the native population can we lean towards a peaceful resolution to the past injustices committed by the colonialists. Therefore, colonial powers should acknowledge these crimes and at least return the land to that was brutally acquired. Most importantly, the indigenous people should give equal access to education, health, job and empowerment opportunities. They should not live like refugees in their homeland. They should be granted economic and political freedom because nothing can be done to replace past injustices but only show goodwill and the acknowledgment of past wrongs. Likewise, the natives should also understand the socialization aspect of foreigners to understand the wrongful things they committed.

Works Cited

Holt, John Dominis. Waimea Summer. Honolulu, Hawaii: TopGallant Publishing Co. Ltd, 1976. Print.

Melville, Herman. Typee. 1846. Print.

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