North American Indians have fired the imaginations of Europeans for the past five hundred years. The Native populations of North America have served a variety of European cultural and emotional needs, ranging from noble savage role models for Old World civilization to a more sympathetic portrayal as subjugated victims of American imperialism.
This comprehensive, interdisciplinary collection of essays offers the first in-depth, extended look at the complicated, changing relationship between European and Native peoples. The contributors explore three aspects of this relationship: Why and how did the cultures and histories of Europeans enable Native peoples to become absorbed into the reality of the Old World? What happened in actual encounters between American Indian visitors and their European hosts? How did continued and increased interaction between Indians and Europeans affect established imagery and preconceptions on both sides?