How did the Europeans and the Natives mutually influence one another?

The meeting of two civilizations always involves an exchange of ideas, objects and ways of doing things that are later adapted to the tastes and needs of each culture. However, it was the Native way of life that underwent the most change, resulting in a breakdown of their society.
The Europeans
  • They adopted Native customs and were taught how to survive in the North American wilderness.
  • They learned how to make warm winter clothing from furs and moccasins from leather; how to use canoes, snowshoes, and toboggans to travel; how to preserve food and how to use plants for medicinal purposes.
  • They learned of new foods such as corn, pumpkins, and maple syrup.


The Native Indians

Positive Influences

  • They learned of new foods such as bread, peas, and salt.
  • They were introduced to woolen cloth and blankets.
  • They were introduced to iron tools and weapons and became increasingly dependent on them.
Negative Influences
  • The use of alcohol, unknown to the Natives before the arrival of the Europeans, had disastrous repercussions on Native society. 
  • The introduction of European diseases (smallpox, measles, influenza) killed thousands of Native people. 
  • The fur trade conditioned European-Indian relations along antagonistic lines and changed the Native way of life. 
  • Religious orders, such as the Jesuits, tried to impose Christianity on the Native populations.
Do the following questions on Topic 2: Mutual Influences