When the Europeans initially arrived in the New England, they found a patchwork of diversity and abundance. There was p-lent yin the land as along the shore there were witnessed tidal flats and salt marshes full of shellfish and waterfowl among others. They also found around 100,000 inhabitants who were Native Americans mostly Algonquians who were organized in small groups or tribes in the region. The inhabitants they found were mostly hunters and gatherers, and they practiced primitive agriculture of growing corn and beans among other crops.
The ecosystem of the native Indians and that of the New England were different as there was a shift of dominance of the New England in the region. The landscape and environment were radically transformed by the Europeans arrival in the region. The industrial revolution was integral in transforming the New England ecology by creating industries to urban areas and constructing canals to link cities. As Cronon writes according to the people of England, people owned what they made with their own hands (Cronon 61), which highlighted the differences of understanding of property ownership and rights. The environment was of value to the settlers, as the land was bountiful and rich for farming, and they settled near the water regions, where the climate was similar to what they were used to, back at England.
The Indians of before New England, survived off their land in a migratory manner, and this differed between them and those Indians of the Northern New England that depended exclusively on fishing and hunting, in reaction to an always uncongenial climate. Those of southern New England mostly relied on agriculture in their diet (Cronon 42). Therefore, these differences such as the application of small, controlled burning of forest in the northern New England, and the multi-crop agriculture among the southern populations affected the human population on local ecosystems, in a small and consistent manner. The New England environment shaped and influenced the development of lifestyles and society of the tribes, as they sought to accommodate greater crop and livestock stores for commerce, and safety against the harsh winters. Therefore, they cleared the forests in large areas and harbored illnesses that devastated the locals significantly (Cronon 86). Cronon further writes that the Native Americans applied and appreciated their land, as they manipulated their landscape in simpler ways, which eased the way lived on the land. They did this by living a nomadic way of life, of moving from one location to another habitat (Cronon 53).
The role of every gender in the Indian society is based on religion and culture leading to an oppressive culture. The women of this society are affected by low social status and treated negatively at times as compared to men. The women are required to devote themselves to their families and perform house chores. The women in the native Indian society were the farmers on the land, and the settlers considered them industrious, as compared to men. The men socially dominate the society and make decisions as well as work to provide for their families. They also use their physical strength to protect their families.
The native Indian concerns were not in owning the land, but they considered their properties to be the things that were on the land, as their own, during the varied yearly seasons. To them land was owned by a tribe and not an individual. Contrary, the settlers had clear ownership rights defining that people owned what they made by their hands (Cronon 61). They had defined property rights, and this was integral in their claiming to plots of lands as their own. They become critical to the Indians way of utilizing land because they viewed them as being lazy populations who had bountiful land, but remained poor. They associated this laziness to their failure to improve the land.
The Europeans used diseases that were unknown to the local populations as a means of weakening their resistance of them taking over their lands. The native populations were immensely destroyed by the diseases that they had no cure that reduced their numbers immensely, ensuring that their usage of the land could not be sustained (Cronon 85). These diseases affected the Indian society as they were left helpless and weakened allowing the settlers to claim their lands and foster them out of their homes.
The European had different ways of utilizing the land as compared to native Indians. The Indian birth forests as a means of utilizing it while the settlers cleared the land to farm. Furthermore, practiced domestic farming whereby the animals were reared in a fenced area while natives practiced nomadic lifestyle. For instance, Cronon highlights that the grazing practice used by the Europeans were detrimental as it led to the land being exhausted of its nutrients (Cronon 115).
The book by Cronon is a marvelous read as it is easy for people to comprehend it without necessarily being professional historians or students. He uses precise and clear arguments allowing the reader to be the judge or critic of the text. Therefore, I found his work a provoking text that influenced the way I perceived the world, as well as my atmosphere. It is an immense text for those interested in history and the environment.