O Brave New People: The European Invention of the American Indian

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University of New Mexico Press, 1998 - History - 399 pages
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O Brave New People explores the myths and preconceptions early European explorers brought with them to the New World and the ways in which such ideas have shaped misperceptions about American Indians to the present. Thinking he was in the Far East, Christopher Columbus labeled native inhabitants "Indians" in 1492, and so fixed a misnomer that carries with it a whole host of medieval and Renaissance European beliefs and legends.

The authors find in both graphic and literary sources evidence of evolving attitudes about the legends of paradise on earth and the invention of the notion of the noble savage. They reveal that long before Columbus's discovery, Europeans used the same imagery to convey subcultural traits belonging to a non-European "Primitive Other."

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The European Invention of the American Indian

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About the author (1998)

Moffitt is Professor Emeritus of Art History at New Mexico State University.

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