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Indians
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Season(s)

123

Yours [stories] must have been fascinating with the Indians. They're so mysterious, so natural!
— Anne Hale in The Vow

The Indians [1] are recurring characters in Salem. Various tribes are allocated in neighboring areas to Salem, Massachusetts and occasionally come into contact with the Puritans, to exchange goods, but very often to fight each other.

Description

Though cultural features, language, clothing, and customs vary enormously from one tribe to another, there are certain elements which are encountered frequently and shared by many tribes. These are the dress in light handmade clothes from the skin or fur of hunted animals, wearing certain hairstyles such as braids or ridges depending on social status, paint certain symbols on the body or getting tattoos (especially shamans and warriors), following the guidance of a shaman and worship Nature as the highest expression of the sacred.

Early European American scholars described the Native Americans as having a society dominated by clans. Subdivision and differentiation took place between various groups. Upwards of forty stock languages developed in North America, with each independent tribe speaking a dialect of one of those languages.

Throughout the Salem series

Season One

During a dinner at The House of the Seven Gables held in honor of Captain John Alden returning from the war after seven long years, the conversation turned to the Indians when young Anne Hale expressed her fascination with indigenous tribes; The girl was immediately contradicted by her mother, who considered the Indians nothing more than dangerous wild animals. At that point, John Alden affirmed that the Indians are in all respects equal to the settlers, with Cotton Mather's disappointment when John questioned the existence of the soul. When the diners began to talk about souls and witches, Magistrate John Hale said he was worried about raids and scuffles by French troops and Indians rather than witches, trying to stem the damage caused by the dangerous direction taken by the conversation. (The Vow)

Memorable Quotes

Anne Hale: "I believe there is only so much you can learn from books. Experience is our true teacher. Don't you agree, Captain Alden?"
John Alden: "Well, that depends on the experience."
Anne Hale: "Yours must have been fascinating with the Indians. They're so mysterious, so natural."
Mrs. Hale: "Natural? "Unnatural," I'd say. Soulless savages."
John Alden: "I assure you, ma'am, the Indians do have souls, if any of us do."
Cotton Mather: "If?!"
The Vow
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John Alden: "After the battle of The Great Swamp, I was left for. But I was found by the Mohawk. In all honesty, I don’t think I’ll ever understand why they saved me. It is a mystery to me to this day. The scar your old man found he said was from feeding a familiar? That was from digging a ball of lead out of me and healing it with their medicines. They treated me with kindness and respect. And their holy men took an interest in me; I’m not even sure why or what he saw in me, but if he hadn’t…I’d be dead. So I lived amongst them. I shared their food and their shelter. I even hunted with them. One day, me and a few braves returned from a hunt to find the village had been burned to the ground. The women and the children, they’re all scattered like dead, fallen leaves, all slaughtered.  A red fog descended upon me, and it did not lift until I ran through those woods and killed every one of those bastards."
Ashes, Ashes
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Cotton Mather: "You dare to call yourself magistrate and treat your fellow man like that?"
Magistrate Hathorne: "Indians. Godless heathens. There is no law against driving a hard bargain. Finally, I plied them with port. By the time the night was through, they gave me all the furs they trapped that season in exchange for two dull axes and a moth-eaten blanket."
The Beckoning Fair One
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Gallery


Trivia

  • Although not very extensive, the "Indians" are a recurring theme in the series. They are the reason why John Alden went with the militia at the beginning of the first season and are also cause for alarmism to the Puritans that consider them wild and soulless.
  • Only two Native Americans have been characterized so far: the Shaman and his daughter, Sooleawa.
  • Several times on the show and in interviews it was specified that the Native American tribes present in the show are the Mohawk tribe. However, historically speaking, the tribes in the area of Massachusetts were those known as Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and the Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah.

Historical Facts

  • The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America and their descendants.Pueblos indígenas (indigenous peoples) is a common term in Spanish-speaking countries. Aborigen (aboriginal/native) is used in Argentina, whereas "Amerindian" is used in Guyana but it's not common in other countries. Application of the term "Indian" originated with Christopher Columbus, who, in his search for Asia, thought that he had arrived in the East Indies. The Americas came to be known as the "West Indies", a name still used to refer to the islands of the Caribbean sea. This led to the names "Indies" and "Indian", which implied some kind of racial or cultural unity among the aboriginal peoples of the Americas. This unifying concept, codified in law, religion, and politics, was not originally accepted by indigenous peoples but has been embraced by many over the last two centuries. The European colonization of the Americas forever changed the lives and cultures of the peoples of the continents.
  • Although the exact pre-contact population of the Americas is unknown, scholars estimate that Native American populations diminished by between 80 and 90% within the first centuries of contact with Europeans. The leading cause was a disease. The continent was ravaged by epidemics of diseases such as smallpox, measles, and cholera, which were brought from Europe by the early explorers and spread quickly into new areas even before later explorers and colonists reached them. Native Americans suffered high mortality rates due to their lack of prior exposure to these diseases. The loss of lives was exacerbated by conflict between colonists and indigenous people. Colonists also frequently perpetrated massacres on the indigenous groups and enslaved them.

References

  1. Although should more correctly be referred to as Native-Americans or pre-Columbian population, they are referred to as "Indians" by the characters in the show due to historical accuracy.

See Also