Although the primary source only presents one point of view of a
situation, the opposing sides belief is equally important. The dialogue "La Relacion" by Cabeza de Vaca; the experiences of William Bradford in "Of Plymouth Plantation" and the story of "Pocahontas", all express the importance of understanding both sides of a situation. According to the primary sources of these accounts, the actions and behaviors of the Native Americans were unjustified by reason and their culture was considered savage-like. After further examination of the recorded events, you can easily conclude that the Native American's behaviors were clearly an act of their culture or retaliation. Furthermore, the primary source's bias description of an event will often lead to other misunderstandings of a situation.
In Cabeza de Vaca's "La Relacion", Cabeza and his conquistadors
already had pre-conceived ideas of Native Americans. They considered the Indians a savage race with barbaric rituals to please the gods.
After Cabeza's men were inundated by the tides and near starvation, their only chance for survival was to ask the Indians for help. Their preconceived ideas of Native American sacrificial acts gave them second thoughts in asking for support. In the end, the Indians took them to their village them into medicine men where they learned the ancient healing techniques of the natives. This dialogue shows that preconceived ideas from the primary source can often lead to
misinterpretation of a group or situation.
In William Bradford's account "Of Plymouth Plantation", he and his fellow explorers also had preconceived ideas that the Indians were savage and barbaric. "The barbarians showed them no small kindness in refreshing them, but these savage barbarians, when they met with them, were readier to fill their sides full of arrows than otherwise." (Bradford's Online Page) As the explorers were out searching...