Goods and Services for Native Americans and the Modern Society Question One

Goods and Services for Native Americans and the Modern Society Question One

Question One

How did European trade goods affect Native Americans’ lives? Was the acquisition of these trade goods worth Native Americans’ changing their lifestyles?

The trade between the Europeans and the Native Americans was a representation of a significant development regarding the former limited exchange that took place in the traditional native society (Trigger 1197). Both the Europeans and the natives faced different challenges in their bid to develop a new commercial structure. The Europeans were faced with challenges of distance, culture, and language. The available means of transport was ocean shipping all the way from Europe to North America (Salisbury 441).

Initially, the trade between the Europeans and the Native Americans had positive effects on the traditional population since it led to increasing both in volume and in the variety of goods that were offered for trade (Salisbury 442).  Trade was not a new concept for the Native Aboriginals, but with the arrival of the Europeans, a complex trading regime was introduced with a vast array of new goods. The trade also led to the introduction of new crops, livestock and advancement in new technologies into the Native American societies. The result was a change in the Native American crops. The trade also had adverse effects on the general health of the Native Americans since the European brought with them some diseases such as influenza, smallpox, and measles (Patterson and Thomas 218). These diseases had far-reaching effects on the native population as they did not have immunity to them. The result was a decline in the population in some of the indigenous societies since the diseases spread fast due to the contact between the Europeans and the Native Americans and sometimes between the native tribes themselves.

Acquisition of some of the trade goods was essential for the Native Americans to maintain the trade and to obtain the benefits that resulted from the trade. For instance, the Native Americans recognized the importance of beaver pelts in acquiring European goods (Pajer-Rogers 17). The result was an increase in their trapping and a transformation of how they hunted beaver with tools such as knives and nets purchased from the Europeans. However, acquiring some of the trade goods resulted in a change in the culture of the Native Americans. For instance, the acquisition of some of the American Indians adopted the use of European firearms such as the lead shot at the expense of their traditional bows and arrows. This resulted in the dependence on European products on a daily basis by the Native Americans which led to the change in some aspects of the traditional cultures forever.

Question Two

Goods and services in the modern society that we have adopted and made our lives easier, but have also caused harm to us or our environment

The modern society is characterized by improvement in different aspects of technology as people work towards satisfying the welfare of the society. Most of the advancements can be seen in the field of agriculture, medicine, and information technology among others. The use of advanced machinery in production and agriculture has improved the production capacities across cultures that employ the use of such methods (Kuiper et al 511). This has resulted in increased production and more environmentally friendly agricultural techniques resulting in a reduction in soil erosion and greenhouse gas emissions. However, the adoption of goods such as genetically modified products has had some negative effects on the health of populations using such goods. Some of these products are associated with harm to the environment and the general health of the population.


Works cited

Kuiper, Harry A., et al. “Assessment of the food safety issues related to genetically modified foods.” The plant journal 27.6 (2001): 503-528.

Pajer-Rogers, Ian. “The Politics of Survival: Indian and European Collaboration in Colonial North America.” Inquiry Journal (2005).

Patterson, Kristine B., and Thomas Runge. “Smallpox and the Native American.” The American journal of the medical sciences 323.4 (2002): 216-222.

Salisbury, Neal. “The Indians’ old world: Native Americans and the coming of Europeans.” The William and Mary Quarterly 53.3 (1996): 435-458.

Trigger, Bruce G. “Early Native North American responses to European contact: Romantic versus rationalistic interpretations.” The Journal of American History 77.4 (1991): 1195-1215.



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