When Swedes and English interacted face-to-face with the Lenni Lenape or Shawnee, they encountered in the fundamental differences, not only of language and culture, but of underlying worldview as well. The differences in worldview between Indians and Europeans informed early negotiations between the groups, which involved moving back and forth between differential understandings of property, language and writing, social customs, and notions of reciprocity. This activity introduces the concept of cultural worldview and allows students to understand how Native and European ideas of time, the spirit world, property and social relations differed from one another. Students are encouraged to speculate on how these differences informed both accommodation and misunderstanding between the two groups.
This lesson plan was created with funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Lindback Foundation, the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, William Penn Foundation, the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, and the Pennsylvania Abolition Society.