SECTION 2 ACTIVE LEARNING ASSIGNMENT: The First Encounter

European Exploration, Perception of the Other, and the Columbian Exchange

How did Europeans perceive the new people they encountered and how were they in turn perceived?

For this assignment, you will be writing the narrative of a first encounter from two different perspectives, European and native. Use the sources in this collection to help you imagine what a narrative of the encounter might say from each perspective. Try to write about half a page, supported by details and ideas from the sources, for each side. Consider the following as you compose your narrative of the new people you are meeting:
  • What do you see when you encounter the other? 
  • How do your pre-existing cultural expectations inform and guide your understanding of these new people? Consider religious instruction, stories you have heard about similar encounters with these other people, their appearance and skin color, their food and animals, ships, weapons and daily life.
  • How will this affect your behavior toward them? 
  • What is your initial expectation for their relationship to you? 
  • How might the reality of your interactions over time challenge or change these original visions?