The New World; a place with endless resources and interesting new things and new people. The Native Americans had been living there for years but the Europeans arrived to a land more abundant in resources than they had ever imagined. There were two types of people in the New World when the Europeans arrived: the Europeans and the Native Americans. These two groups had entirely different, almost opposite, ways of handling the environment and coping with the challenges they encountered. The Europeans utilized the land by exploiting it for resources while the Native Americans believed in giving back what they took from the environment, according to Warren Taylor, a Pamunkey Indian.
Native Americans appreciated the land, they worshipped Mother Nature and respected the land. One of the most prominent practices for giving back to the environment was their establishment of a shad fish hatchery. They created a system in which they would take the sperm and egg out of shad that they caught during spawning season and would mix them in order to help the fish reproduce. One the eggs hardened and the fish had hatched they would finally be introduced back into the environment. The Pamunkey Indians created the first ever shad fish hatchery (Warren Cook). Practices like these allowed the Native Americans to remain sustainable and to continually represent their respect for the environment, even in a society of industrialization and exploitation of resources.
The Europeans had a very different approach when they came to the New World. They had never seen a land with so many abundant resources, resources seemed so abundant and never ending that the Europeans began exploiting them and using whatever they could. They cut down trees for everything they needed and cleared land, leaving them with no protection from the harsh environment. They used trees to make fences and homes, different types of native plants for roofs, etc. By the mid to late eighteenth century, the colonists were using one acre of forest per day per family. This was not a sustainable practice and was resulting in an enormous amount of deforestation. They were using many more resources than the Native Americans were using or ever had used at one time.
The Europeans also came to the New World in a raw environment that was almost untouched where there wasn’t a huge human impact on the environment. The Native Americans had been in the New World for hundreds or thousands of years, yet there was very little trace of them that could be seen when the colonists got here. However, after less than two years of being in the New World the colonists had turned the river into a dumping ground. Anything they did not need they would throw into the river, including human waste. It was things like this that caused mass epidemics, because they would then use and drink that exact same water. (Seidel)
The Native Americans have severely changed since the colonial period. After a trip to the Pamunkey Indian Reservation it became apparent that the Pamunkey Indians have modernized, although maybe not as much as many of the American people. The Pamunkey Indians now have modern homes, although they are generally small and typically trailer like, they drives cars, and leave the reservation for employment. However, the Pamunkey Indians still believe in giving back to their environment; they still have a shad fish hatchery that is ran and operated every year. They are still doing some farming and have not completely assimilated to using different types of chemicals on their fields. The most impressive of it all would probably be that the Pamunkey Indians have not industrialized. They have managed to keep their reservation natural and if they want to go to most stores they have to go off of the reservation. They do not have factories and large industries on the reservation in order to make goods; they generally make them by hand via traditions or they go off of the reservation in order to buy them.This keeps their environment clean, pristine, and beautiful.
The American culture has also changed over time. The tour of the Baltimore Museum of Industry effectively portrayed this change from a mostly agricultural society to a society in which there were factories and cities were the most common place for people to live. Society became largely about cheap labor and the effectiveness of production rather than farming and agriculture. Even today, most parts of the country are not based around agriculture; they are still based around the effectiveness of what we can do and produce, even if it isn’t based around factories and cheap labor.
I promise that I have completed this assignment in the spirit of the Washington College Honor Code.
Cook, Warren. Personal Interview.14 September 2015.
Seidel, John. Lecture. “Environment and People in the Chesapeake: An Archaeological and Historical Perspective”. 17 September 2015.
Taylor, Warren. Personal Interview. 10 September 2015.