The Native Americans that paddled out to the first ships to come ashore in the New World were part of a momentous meeting. The peoples of the Americas, descendants of the last of man’s migrations eastward, had developed civilizations long isolated from Western influence. Separated for tens of thousands of years, neither native nor explorer knew of the other’s existence. And soon after, the colonial society that flourished throughout the Americas, greatly affected our understanding of this encounter and the pre-Columbian world.

Differences in world view, custom, way of life were so great that a true understanding of each other was never a real possibility. And in its absence, the colonial settlers were left with their own biases and motivations  when they interpreted the religions, customs, and rituals that they witnessed.

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