However, reading through some of the material left behind by actual European explorers and settlers such as De Vaca, Morton and Anne Bradstreet reveals a very different picture of how the Indian and white races compared.
In his narrative, De Vaca describes arriving at an abundant land, full of a wide variety of tall trees, which would provide the necessary lumber for construction, as well as fertile fields and a number of game animals. This land is sparsely populated, with a brief mention of scattered houses. However, this impression is a deception as he moves inland and southward. The land becomes largely populated and relatively barren, causing many, including the Spaniards, to go hungry for many days at a time. According to De Vaca, the Indians all along the initial portion of his journey harassed his party continuously, killing some of the men while others began to fall sick with some mysterious illness. He is careful to include the information that this harassment is brought about because the Governor refuses to return one of the tribe’s women. After a harrowing sea voyage of escape, the men are cast ashore again and this time make friends with the Indians, who show them how to survive on prickly pear cactus and permit the men to winter with the tribe.
Life with this tribe depicts the Indians as a compassionate yet practical race. During times of hunger, everyone goes hungry. The protection of the race begins when the woman discovers she is pregnant as husbands will not have sex with them until the child is two years old. It is continued in De Vaca’s account with the suggestion that children are permitted to suckle until age 12, also as a means of survival in a land that requires strong bodies and offers little sustenance. While men may come and go from a relationship with a woman without children, once children are born,