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Iberville, commandant of the newly constructed fort, declared friendly intentions of the French by smoking the ceremonial calumet with the visiting dignitaries.
For Indians, this ceremonial gesture was as serious as business ever gets: Smoking the pipe represents a sacred trust between the two groups of people, that members of each group are bound to help members of the other under any circumstance. Even though six outposts were established within the first few years, few “settlers” were willing or able to do even the minimal amount of work required to produce their own food.
Indians viewed them as children because they were puerile in their dependence on the mercy of others to supply them their daily bread.
However, few really celebrate this aspect of their heritage.
Fifty years ago, in North Carolina especially, there were large groups of people who saw themselves as Black Indians. Franklin Frazier discusses them in depth in The Negro Family in the United States.
When their wishes were denied, soldiers often turned to rape and other forms of brutality against Indian women.
For more than 20 years, the French interlopers regularly faced starvation.