When European explorers and colonists arrived in the Americas, they brought with them a variety of new materials and products that the American Indians had never seen before. Native hunters were eager to exchange prepared deer skins and other furs for colored scraps of cloth, metal tools such as axes, hoes and knives, and commercial items such as metal pots. This desire to obtain European products changed old trade patterns and caused many tribes to set aside their bows and arrows in search of European firearms, gunpowder, and pellets. The introduction of these new materials and products had a profound effect on traditional Native American art and craftsmanship.
The Indians began to use these new materials to create tools, weapons, and other items for their daily lives. They also began to rely on European items for their daily needs, which caused the tradition of simply hunting for food to lose importance. Unfortunately, the arrival of Europeans also brought with it a third major change: slavery. European colonists needed workers to help them build houses and clear fields, so they offered commercial goods such as tools and weapons to certain American Indian tribes in exchange for other Indians captured in tribal wars.
These captured Indians were then enslaved and bought by European colonists. Before 1700 in the Carolinas, a quarter of all enslaved people were American Indians. The practice of enslaving native peoples eventually ended, but it had already caused many tribes to move in order to escape the slave trade, which destroyed some tribes completely. The conflicts between European colonists in America and American Indians had largely to do with land; the Europeans wanted it, so they either took it or bought it from the natives.
However, because Europeans and American Indians had very different ideas about what it meant to buy and own land, these agreements could cause as much conflict as they prevented. At the simplest level of personal property, American Indians owned what they did with their bare hands. Unlike Europeans, they did not accumulate goods and freely shared tools and other useful possessions with friends and family who needed them. Other goods such as beads and trinkets could serve as a sign of a person's rank or skill, but they were also frequently traded or given away as gifts.
American Indians also tended not to be as possessive about their possessions as Europeans. A family could own the land on which their house was located, and women owned the land they cultivated. But houses, agricultural fields, and villages were frequently moved, so land was only owned while it was being used. Collectively, villages had rights to large territories that they used to hunt, fish and gather food, medicinal herbs, and raw materials for construction or tools.
These rights changed depending on the use and the people who used them. For most purposes, all the people in a village shared the use of their land. Between different villages, land-use agreements had to be made or defended. When Europeans bought land from the Indians, they did so according to their own standards of land ownership that the Indians did not share.
In Europe, hunting was the sport of the rich rather than a key source of food; therefore, Europeans saw vast hunting grounds that seemed uninhabited and unimproved. The English justified their claims by arguing that Charles II had authority over a continent of pagan peoples who had not heard God's command in Genesis to subjugate the earth. The arrival of Europeans had a profound impact on traditional Native American art and craftsmanship in Indian Land, South Carolina. The introduction of new materials changed old trade patterns and caused many tribes to rely on European items for their daily needs.
Unfortunately, it also led to slavery which caused many tribes to move in order to escape the slave trade. Finally, land disputes arose due to different assumptions about what it meant to own land between Europeans and American Indians.