In The Sign of the Beaver, what things did Matt and Attean learn from each other?

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The close friendship that develops between Matt and Attean becomes an education for both of them. As well as teaching Matt crucial survival skills, Attean also gives him an unprecedented insight into tribal culture and traditions. Most white people at the time viewed Native Americans with considerable suspicion and hostility,...

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The close friendship that develops between Matt and Attean becomes an education for both of them. As well as teaching Matt crucial survival skills, Attean also gives him an unprecedented insight into tribal culture and traditions. Most white people at the time viewed Native Americans with considerable suspicion and hostility, and this is the tradition which has surrounded Matt his whole life. Through his interactions with Attean, Matt comes to gain a profound respect for Native Americans, their heritage, and their way of life.

Matt teaches Attean how to read by using Robinson Crusoe as an instruction manual. However, Matt also learns something himself through reading the story, namely, that there is something not quite right about the imbalance in power and status between Crusoe and Friday. Attean also learns to become more trusting of white people through his friendship with Matt. Like Matt, he realizes that there is a shared sense of humanity beneath the outward differences of race, culture, and heritage.

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The Sign of the Beaver revolves around the unexpected friendship between Matt, a young white settler living alone in the wilderness while his father returns to pick up his mother, and Attean, a young Indian brave. They meet when Matt has a painful encounter with a beehive in the woods while looking for honey. Attean and his grandfather rescue Matt and nurse him back to health.

Matt attempts to give Attean's grandfather, Saknis, a book to repay him for his help but realizes that neither of them can read. Saknis decides that Attean will come to Matt's cabin for reading lessons so that he can read English. In exchange, Attean provides Matt with food and other provisions.

As Attean learns English from Matt, the boys develop a friendship. They spend their days in the wilderness hunting, where Matt begins to learn about the Indian way of life. He learns to respect the wilderness and to hunt, track and survive like an Indian. When Attean and Saknis, his grandfather, attempt to convince Matt to leave with them on a hunt because his father has been gone months and may never return, Matt teaches them about faith in family. Matt  insists that he will wait at the cabin for his father, who eventually does arrive back home.

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