As visual portrayal for this topic, I chose this picture. The picture depicts the third journey that the Pilgrims started with ” The Mayflower” but the first time they actually reached America and did not turn back as a result of another ship called “The Speedwill” . As we learned from the film, their trip was not easy or pleasant. During the crossing of the Atlantic ocean, the travelers suffered through a huge storm and because there was not any navigation devices they fell off course and ended up in a totally different place than originally planned. This picture gives a nice overview of the voyage and how much did their destination change due to the unforeseen weather conditions. It gives a better understanding of the distance between where they docked and where Virginia is situated. It is easier to comprehend the distances on a map rather than orally speaking about them and because of those reasons I added this photo to my blog.
I was able to find a couple of reviews for this film after scanning the internet for a bit. Most of the reviews were really positive and viewers were amazed by the films depiction of the Mayflower story. People raved about the details put into making this film and the good quality of the camerawork and lighting of the documentary.
Firstly, I´m going to bring out the following quote from one of the reviews:
Link to the review:
“I did think that the actor’s costumes looked so very new and perfect, not what you would expect of people who were portrayed as poor, struggling and in desperate financial straits. “
I have to agree to the first part of the quote, I too found that the clothing items worn by the Pilgrims in the film were spotless, clean and looked brand new. I can understand the fact that those clothes were probably new and specially made for the documentary but nevertheless it cannot be that hard to destress the garments and make them look historically more accurate. In my opinion, this would have given the film more of realistic vibe and enhanced the quality.
On the other hand, the second part of the quote I do not agree with one hundred per cent. Even though the Pilgrims valued modesty and frugal lifestyle they still had some sort of money and were definitely not the poorest grupp of individuals living in England at that time. I do not agree with the statement that they were in desperate financial straits, their voyage was financed by the London stock company and before leaving England the Pilgrims sold the land they had owned. I am not stating that the Puritans were not poor but I am certain that they had enough to wear decent clothing and look acceptable.
Moreover, here is the second quote I have brought out:
Link to the review:
“One serious caveat: plenty of gratuitous vomiting during the sea voyage. I mean, disgusting ewwww factor. You TOLD us people died of disease but didn’t make the viewer suffer through it, couldn’t you just TELL us they puked? Or made do with one actual hurl and some gagging noises? Did we have to witness a dozen? “
To begin, I concur with the part of the quote where it is stated that the documentary did not show the diseases or the famine that killed over half of the settlers. As a matter of fact, I believe that those problems were a huge part of the Pilgrims story and the film gazed over the rough winter that became fatal to many and put no emphases on the diseases spreading and killing a lot of people as well. It barely mentioned those facts and went on talking about how the Indians helped the English settlers to crop and how the ´savages´ were actually not the cannibals some of the Pilgrims had imagined. In my opinion, when doing a documentary about this subject it is not right to overlook the scary part and not combine all the struggles the travelers had to go through to establish the settlement.
However, I did not find the seasickness shown in the film too much or over the top. The Pilgrims had never sailed for such a long period of time and the living conditions on the ship were awful to say the least. Having so many individuals in a small closed space on a ship in the middle of the ocean was not nice and probably even worse then what we saw in the film. I found the scenes to be very well made and definitely conveyed the point that this trip was not in under any circumstances an enjoyable journey to a new beginning or a nice voyage on the sea with a nice breeze.
To sum up, I believe that the documentary was accurate in a lot of aspects but left out some parts of the story I would have liked to see as I found those facts to be an important portion of the Mayflower story. Of course I am not a director and this is purely my humble opinion.
Origin of Native Americans
There are many theories as to who are the ancestors of Native Americans. Today there are three theories, that seem most valid. The first theory mentions the migration from Polynesia and from the northern parts of China. However the most rampant speculation is that natives crossed Beringia, a land bridge between Asia and America, which is now the Bering Strait some 30,000 years ago. It is clear that the migration went on for thousands years and not in one wave.
Different tribes and their way of life
There are many tribes located across the US. The most known tribes are the Navajo, the Pueblo, the Apache and the Iroquois. The Navajo settlements are located in the western part of the US: Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. The Navajo are with a semi-nomadic lifestyle and the people were hunters-gatherers before the Spanish contact. Their tribe is one of the oldest in the US with their specialty of silversmithing. Also the Navajo formed raid and trade caravans, which travelled through the country.
The Pueblo live in the same region as the Navajo. They were a static tribe with more permanent and compact villages, which were carved in the faces of cliffs. The residences are called pit houses. The Pueblo are notably skilled at pottery and architecture.
The Apache reside in New Mexico and in its surrounding areas. Its name derives from the word ápachu, meaning “enemy” in the local language. The Apache were a nomadic tribe and most of the tribesmen were hunters or farmers. They lived in a parsimonious house called tipi. Apaches lived with their immediate family in clusters with others.
The Iroquois live in the north-eastern region in the United States in states, such as Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania. Similar to the Pueblo the Iroquois were with a stationary way of life. They live in permanent villages in longhouses and today, the Iroquois have formed a confederation, which unites the smaller regions of the tribe.
Legend of Pocahontas
The legend of Pocahontas tells a story of a native American, who wished for peace between the indigenous and the colonists. Pocahontas was a princess from the Powhatan tribe. She saved a colonist named John Smith, who was captured by the locals. During her visit, she converted to Christianity, adopted a new name Rebecca and married to an Englishman. Other residents of the colony dubbed Rebecca a “civilized savage”, as they wanted to increase investment on the new continent. The incident showed, that native Americans could be civilized and converted to Christianity.
Northwest Ordinance of 1787
The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 was proposed by president Thomas Jefferson. The declaration recognized the territory of the US, within the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The act laid the bases of governing the Northwestern Territory. It stated that the territory is to be divided to districts and each district is run by a governor. The territory was the first region to abolish slavery. In addition, the act stated that each new state is equal to the older states, not inferior, as it was before the ordinance.
Indian Removal Act of 1830
This act was signed by Andrew Jackson in 1830. It granted the government to acquire the land of native tribes. As a consequence, many indigenous tribes were forced to relocate west. It is believed that over 100,000 people were moved to the Rockies for forced labour.
The central government of USA reclaimed more lands from the natives after the civil war. This action left natives with no income and poverty and famines followed suit. In 1868, president Ulysses S. Grant gave back many areas of land to the locals, in an effort to make peace between homeless natives and the government. Today there are 326 reservations for natives, some of these benefit from resources and others suffer from economic and social problems.
Indian citizenship Act of 1924
A congressman Homer P. Synder supported the act of giving indigenous Americans US citizenship. The proposal came to light after the First World War, where natives could serve in the army, but were not allowed to vote.
Trail of Broken Treaties of 1972
The Trail of Broken Treaties was a protest dedicated to the horrible living conditions of indigenous Americans. The protest swept the nation and protesters formed a caravan from Washington D.C to the Pacific coast. The rebels even conquered the Bureau of Indian Affairs. At the end, the protesters were heard and the government commenced negotiations to improve the situation of natives.
Today there are approximately 9 million native Americans in the US, which makes up about 9% of the whole population. However, the problems of native Americans are still apparent, mainly due to the inequality between Americans and the indigenous. These problems include lack of education for natives, living conditions and bad housing. Another issue is the emigration of natives from the reservations to big cities. As it is seen, the gap between the local tribes and USA is still visible.