Why were the natives afraid to baptize their children?

What were the risks associated with baptizing native children?

- Enslavement

- Cultural assimilation

Final answer:

Natives were hesitant to baptize their children due to the associated risks of enslavement and cultural assimilation imposed by European colonialists and the oppressive education system of Indian boarding schools.


The natives were afraid to baptize their children due to a myriad of socio-cultural and political reasons, shaped by the interactions with European colonial powers. In some cases, the fear stemmed from the potential enslavement of baptized natives, as in the Virginia laws of the 17th century, where being baptized could legally render an Indian a slave for life. Additionally, there were cultural consequences of baptism, specifically within the context of the Indian boarding schools, which forced assimilation on native children, erasing their traditions and forcing them to adopt Western ways of life. Parents were understandably resistant to this, as they considered these changes to be a threat to their culture and systems of belief. Moreover, the impact of the Puritan's approach to conversion after the Pequot War implied that the children needed to understand and discuss the Bible, adding another layer of cultural imposition and potential erosion of native traditions.
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