• Why Did They Do That? An exploration of explanations as to why Europeans behave as they have towards Native People

      Kaliss, Tony (2015-03-06)
      The purpose of this paper is to encourage deeper understanding of the Native- European interaction by focusing on the question of Why Europeans acted as they did towards Native peoples. I encourage this because I'm not satisfied with the answers I have seen to this question, because answering it is central to understanding the Native- European interaction, and, lastly, because exploring and answering this Why has become timely and essential. Being dissatisfied, it follows I provide my own Why answer--and I do so below. However, it became clear in developing this paper that just as important, perhaps even more so for encouraging a deeper understanding, is an exploration of the process of how this basic question has been approached. This led me to several other Why questions: Why hasn't the basic issue of European motivations been more fully explored, considering the enormous amount that has been said and written about the Native- European interaction? Why have so few writers, Native or non-Native, even asked Why? Why do people begin to ask Why at a certain point in time and not another? And why are the Why's offered inadequate--in my opinion? All this led me to structure the paper as follows. First are some comments about levels of knowledge. Second, I report on a survey of the works of 14 writers in which it might be expected that the Why question would be taken up, which means discussing both the absence and the presence of Why answers. Third, I critique the several Whys I did find. Fourth, I give my own Why answer. And Fifth, I suggest some reasons why the Why question has not been more asked or explored.