“The Voyages and Explorations of Samuel de Champlain”

I really enjoyed the reading. I thought that the author, Samuel de Champlain, did a really good job explaining what he experienced in Quebec. Champlain was known as “The Father of New France” and was a French explorer who explored and established the city of Quebec. He is Huegenot and not interested in the missionary work. He is French protestant. Champlain described Quebec as one of the best places for putting buildings since it was “filled with nut trees and vines” (175). In this article, Champlain is biased towards Native Americans with whom he had good relations based on what he said. Also, he describes some of the natives, based on his experience, as “savages” who were acting just like animals.  He says, “these people are so much in want that sometimes they are driven to live on certain kinds of shellfish and to eat dogs and the skins with which they protect themselves against the cold…If someone should show them how to live, they would learn very easily.” (176-177). In other words, this shows how Champlain wanted the readers to feel empathy for the natives to work with them. I think the point of Champlain’s article is to encourage the readers, who were mostly French, to work with Native Americans since he says they are weak, safe, and willing to do anything to have a meal for survival. More importantly, there is a possibility to do trade and invest in the Native Americans’ resources since they have “soil that is very fine and good for cultivation.” Also, he advertises for their cultural dresses that are made from “furs, like elk, otter, beaver, bear, sear, and roe…racquets …which they attach to their feet, and in this way, they can go in the snow without sinking in” (178). This shows how Champlain is advertising for the clothes that the natives were making.

Champlain in this article describes the natives as “savages” and in need of help but I think there is a propaganda. Champlain was mainly trying to convince more French to be allied with the natives and start a trade with them. He makes the reader feels empathy but we do not really know whether the Native Americans really welcomed Champlain and wanted to start a trade with the French people. Also, I don’t see a lot of evidence about seeing “savages” as people who are in need of help from the colonist. Since they’ve been living there for years, I would expect most of them to adapt to the environment and develop more techniques to deal with the coldness.