The Centrality of Relationship in Native American Thought Analytical Essay by Nicky

This paper looks at human and non-human relationships in Native-American studies.
# 145604 | 1,000 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2010 | US

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In this paper, the writer discusses that according to Calvin Martin's text 'The American Indian and the Problem of History', Native-American thought has always conceptualized human life in an integrated, biological and environmental fashion. This is a sentiment also echoed by Native author Donald Lee Fixico. The writer discusses that for Martin and Fixico this means that rather than creating a fissure or fundamental intellectual divide between the individual and the environment, like much of Western philosophy, or the non-human and the human, Native-Americans see the two as fundamentally coexisting. The writer shows that in Theda Purdue's text on Mixed Blood Indians, the tendency of the West to seek to define some entity as 'other' is not seen merely in terms of the human animal's relationship to the environment, but in terms of the categorization of the races that existed in the South.

From the Paper:

"According to Purdue, in the South, whites were seen as the more evolved `species' of human. Blacks were deemed inferior and more animalistic, as `others,' as were Native Americans. The mixed blood Native Americans of Purdue's thus had a strange, liminal status - neither as low as blacks, or even so-called mulatto blacks, but not fully integrated by any means into white society. Mixed breeds were often conceptualized as `closer' to whites than `full-blooded' natives, particularly if they were the children of men who had `gone native,' men who had children with native women because of kinship ceremonies they had established with the tribe. On the perceived Western continuum of humanness, thus natives or `natural men' were seen as closer to whites than some other groups, but European acculturization and blood ties were seen to make half-breeds more civilized. In contrast, native tribes did not view race primarily in terms of blood, even though they had occasionally, haphazardly internalized some racial norms of white society."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Fixico, Donald Lee. The American Indian Mind. New York: Routledge, 2003.
  • Martin, Calvin, editor. The American Indian and the Problem of History. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.
  • Purdue, Theda. Mixed Blood Indians: Racial Construction in the Early South. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2003

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

The Centrality of Relationship in Native American Thought (2010, November 17) Retrieved May 27, 2023, from

MLA Format

"The Centrality of Relationship in Native American Thought" 17 November 2010. Web. 27 May. 2023. <>