Native American Genrosity
The Indian's civility and hospitality, both to his own kind and to strangers, has been a marked feature of his character from the coming of the white man to the present day. When Columbus touched the shores of the New World the friendly Caribs gave him hearty welcome. The heart's right hand of fellowship was stretched out in welcome and hospitality as explorers and settlers landed on American soil. Dignity, generosity, and courtesy marked the attitude of the Indian toward these new white strangers. The character generally attributed to the Indian is that of a savage, but this blemish came upon him through contact with the white man. Their ingenuous and trustful nature quickly degenerated as they were enslaved, betrayed, and slain. Advantage was taken of their ignorance and kindness. Then came on a race war unparalleled in ferocity and barbarism. The inexorable march of civilization regardless of ethics swept on until we heard the Indians' war cry and failed to see the diviner grace of friendship. The Indian returned with interest every injury and hardship, every bitter assault and wicked aggression. He paid in full all accounts in the coin of pitiless revenge. These shadows obliterate our thought of him as courtier and [pg 36]hospitable host. The Indian will divide his last crust and then go hungry himself that you may have his half of the crust. Had it not been for Indian generosity in furnishing supplies of food, the early settlers in both New England and Virginia must have perished with hunger. Every guest entering an Indian wigwam is met by all the graces of hospitality—in cordial greeting—in a splendid home feeling.