As in every society, constituents find themselves as a direct product of their economic environments; one must note the contrasting dependence levels and schemes of value between the European colonists and the Indians, during the 1600 s. As Indians began to witness European colonists come to America, at a more consistent rate, and begin settling nearer to them, trading goods was more frequent and created revolutionary "economic dynamics" in the new world. The Indian way of life went untouched for many years, however, once the Europeans landed the established survival skills of the Indians were inevitably transitioned to a dependent state on European goods. Indians eventually sought many of the things Europeans offered in trade, not for what the Europeans thought valuable about them, but for what those things conveyed in Indian schemes of value. The traded European goods could become rare and exotic to Indians, creating social and survival consequences. The act of trading, , from the Indians perspective, was a diplomatic gesture.
They had no intention of trading for the most profit because they were satisfied with the goods received. Europeans, however, came from a large market economy background, and therefore saw the trading as a way to always gain something on a capitalist level. Indians believed that the supply of furs and land were so great that they could afford to trade it away. Furs in particular became extremely popular in Europe, but because Indians didn't follow the market economy laws of supply and demand properly, the demand for the furs fell in Europe.
That demand loss created far more implications for the Indians because they traded the furs for crucial goods. Socially, traded goods to the Indians could mean vital political power if one possessed rare or exotic goods. In a painful time of epidemic diseases, political power took on another meaning: it meant a survival leadership role. With gained political power, allies could be made. Using the traded goods as a type of luxury gift, it improved social standings as well. A young male would need to present gifts if proposing to a woman to ensure himself that position for example.
These luxury gifts were a social lubricant to the Indians, and without them society could not function. Indians, like the Europeans, thought about fashion. Although the two styles were polar opposites, the importance of looking fashionable was prominent on both sides. Throughout the years, Indians began to wear European cloth as a type of fashion statement. Their clothing did not resemble the Europeans way of dressing, but they wore shirts and blankets that could only be traded. Along with clothes being traded, guns and metals were on the trading market, available to the Indians.
Equipment such as the stone tool for chopping down a tree was replaced with a European ax. Stone bowls were replaced with copper and metal ones to better cook for. Life became more efficient for the Indians, after such progression forward, taking steps backwards was not an option for them, so they continued the vicious cycle of European trading. The Indians saw all the benefits to trading with the Europeans and therefore anything they could do to keep that process going was essential. Indians did not group together as one large entity.
Instead, there were apart of different confederacy's, tribes, clans, languages, each had their own distinction. When a certain Indian group was trading with the Europeans, they had to go out of their way to find the trades because of the constant competitions surrounding them. An Indian group was faced with dealing with European market economies, supply and demand, but also they competed against other tribes to get better goods than the next group. The Indians, not understanding the full ramifications of what the market meant, had little choice but to participate in it and fell victim to: disease, demographic collapse, economic dependency, and the loss of a world of ecological relationships. With so many barriers between the Indians and the Europeans, it makes it very difficult to hypothesize a better outcome for the Indians. A full understanding of Europe's vast market economy would have been needed for the Indians to gain some sort of control to their spiraling downward fate.
If they had been able to manipulate the fur trade to a very limited supply, it could have provided some sort of leverage for them to sustain themselves. The competition between Indian tribes did not help any of their causes. The fact that each group was divided made it that much easier for the Europeans to come in and conquer and divide the land amongst themselves. Realistically the only way that the Indians could have understood how European society functioned was through language. If the language barrier between both society's hadn't been so wide, another form of coexistence could have protruded.
Indians learned the best that they could, especially through conversion of religions, about how to deal with the Europeans, but without more knowledge they were unable to be beat the colonists at their own game. The naivety of the Indians only hurt them, leaving them weak, vulnerable, and displaced as a people. The two society's differed in so many ways that instead of transcending to compromising level as equals, they fell short to a troublesome dependence level.