Even though I mentioned my most memorable moment of Cabeza de Vaca’s book, Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America, and even enjoyed reading it, I would have to say the following: Bartolome’ de las Casas’ A Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies, was more memorable and seemed to etch itself into my memory bank, almost against my will, it seems. It’s not one of my favorite books, as the author exaggerated more than once, and what the book was used for later among other things. I would, however, rather reread Vaca’s than Las Casas’, but it seems I will remember Brief Account more.
As I have mentioned before, I take an interest in Indians. However, I prefer to call them Native Americans. The name Indians was just a mistake given by Columbus, who believed he was in India in Asia. Back on the main topic, though, this book had a lot to do with Native Americans and what was done with them. What Las Casas described and witnessed almost made me close (actually exit out as it is a pdf file) the book and be done with it. However, it was an assignment so I read the rest anyway.
Las Casas, one of the Christian Spanish priest, and a lot of Christian Spanish men made it one of the shores of North America. They began searching for gold, as this was their only goal, according to Casas. However, it became eviler than from just wanting gold. The Spaniards on the island of Hispaniola began to murder and enslave Native American women, children, and men. Why they murdered is still a mystery except for those Native Americans that tried to defend their families, each other, and themselves perhaps. Throughout the continental journey, the Spaniards would do the same. Some Indians met up with them first and declared a battle. It is still a wonder to such as many battles had to do with thousands of Native Americans and definitely not as many Spanish men. Yet, somehow, the Spaniards won every time. This is still unclear how.
Notice how I said, “…a lot of Christian Spanish men…”? Yes, they claimed themselves to be Christians. They even announced this to the tribes they would slaughter and enslave. They would demand the Natives to become Christians, but the Natives did not want to be Christians if being a Christian, like their soon to be masters/murderers, meant murdering and enslaving. The truth is, the Native Americans had no idea what being a true Christian was and all they saw was men murdering and enslaving their fellow tribe mates. They did not want to be in the same heaven as the Spaniards.
This makes me want to cry, honestly, and this is why it will be so memorable. These men claimed themselves Christians, tried to share their faith, but also enslaved. They gave Christianity a bad name to all the Native Americans. This caused the Native Americans to not accept Christ and be saved. It hurts me so bad that people are told that a friend of theirs is a Christian and that Christian does something very unChristian like. I am also guilty of this, but I pray that whoever knows about that does not base my going to heaven or hell by my works. Through Jesus, we are forgiven. We Christians stink. We are not perfect. Not even close. We try, but like the rest of the human race, we fall and sin. So please do not use us Christians as examples of how God and Jesus act and are like. Because we are not anywhere near as holy, just, and perfect. I wish the Native Americans knew this.