The Mohicans of Stockbridge

By Patrick Frazier | Go to book overview

15
SEPARATION OF CHURCH, STATE, AND INDIANS

Some emigrants to western Massachusetts probably believed that despite thirty years of exposure to Christian civilization, the Indians seemed incapable of becoming responsible, progressive New England citizens. Colonial America was not the place to entertain a different cultural approach to life. Many New Englanders could not understand the Stockbridges' reluctance to accept English culture lock, stock, and barrel, since that had been the stated purpose of the mission in the first place. What the colonials also failed to understand, however, was how hypocritical that culture appeared to Indian eyes when it preached Christian love but too often practiced godless greed.

Many newcomers to Stockbridge, as well as the second generation of the original English families, did not view Stockbridge as an Indian town or mission, nor did they consider themselves to be role models. The fight against the French was hardly over and the graves of slain Stockbridges barely cold when a group of colonials complained to the province that they were under "diverse inconveniences by means of the Indian inhabitants." They wanted a separate school for their own children and roads to accommodate their carriages. Since the Indians did not pay provincial taxes, the English inhabitants petitioned to "be allowed to transact all matters relative to the premises by themselves, exclusive of the Indians." The Indians, still clinging to the notion that the town was theirs, naturally saw no reason to vote money or labor for another school, and since

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