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French and British Relations with the Native Americans

The British had no respect or kindness for the Native Americans of the New World. Far from respecting the Native Americans right to land, freedom, and health the British did not even recognize the Native Americans as people. The Native Americans were thought to have the soul of animals. Therefore, the English's view of the Native Americans was that they were little but unorganized, argumentative, filthy, torture loving savages and were comfortable with wither their elimination or migrated absence.

The French on the other hand took a different view and therefore their relationship with the Native Americans. They told the Native Americans that while the British were there for colonization and land the French merely wanted to get rich and get out. Their interest was in the fur trade. Besides that the French were very interested in Native Americans culture and customs. The French took the time to learn the Native American languages, learn their habits, and really meet their people. In some cases, Frenchmen even married Native American women and were integrated into the tribes.

One Native American tribe that was no friend to the French however was the Iroquois. The Iroquois first mer the French when a Frenchmen, Samuel Champlain, travelling with another Native American tribe, the Ottawa's. There was a skirmish, and the Ottawa's persuaded the reluctant Champlain to use his musket on the Iroquois. When the Iroquois heard the gunfire, they believed that it was an intervention of the gods. They were frightened and fled. When they later learned the truth, the Iroquois were angry and humiliated at being tricked and never forgave the French. From there after, the Iroquois always sided with the British in battle, although there was no Iroquois affection for the British either. They called George Washington Conotocarious.

The contrast in the French and British perception of the Native Americans may be partly due to the tribes that each nationality had contact with. The French met the more friendly Native Americans of Mississippi and Missouri and the British made contact with the less friendly and more suspicious Native Americans of Virginia.