How did the European and Native American view of land ownership differ? Why would this be a source of a problem between the two groups?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Europeans and the Native Americans had very different views on the concept of land ownership. This is part of the reason why there was some conflict between these two groups.

The Native Americans didn’t believe in the idea that people could own land. The Native Americans believed that nobody owned the land. Instead, they believed the land belonged to everybody within their tribe.

The Europeans, on the other hand, believed that people had a right to own land. They believed people could buy land, which would then belong to the individual. That individual would then be free to do what he or she wanted to do with the land. Thus, the Europeans believed it was acceptable to fight for land and to take it away from the Native Americans if they won the battle. They also believed they could make or impose treaties on the Native Americans that would give the Europeans control or ownership of the land. This was a concept in which the Native Americans didn’t believe or follow in their culture.