“Our general … liberally bestowed on them necessary things to cover their nakedness, whereupon they supposed us to be gods,” (932). A common theme throughout the stories of voyaging and discovery is the interaction with natives. Often they are portrayed as barbaric and less civilized. Their customs are misunderstood and seen as primal. As told in the stories, the travelers are viewed as Gods by the natives however it is interesting to consider whether this were the case. Only the experience of the travelers is presented, and it leaves one to desire the other side. Did the natives really look to people such as Francis Drake as Gods or did Drake see himself as a God in relation to these people. Did he take on the responsibility of instructing and educating them without being asked? Did he fail to also learn from them?
The travelers witnessed as the women “tormented themselves” by “tearing their flesh from their cheeks” (933) in a ritualistic sacrifice. Instead of allowing the women to perform this ritual, the travelers interrupted them to read scripture. Despite the fact that the natives speak a different language and were unlikely to comprehend what they were saying, the travelers took it upon themselves to “educate” them. The women had presented an opportunity for the travelers to experience a custom of their culture, to observe and learn, but the travelers felt a need to “help” them instead.
Later, this same ritual is described “with lamentable weeping, scratching, and tearing the flesh from their faces” (934). This is the second time the word “lamentable” is used to describe this ritual. It is interesting word choice, and shows the obvious bias by the travelers. During this occurrence the travelers physically restrain the natives from clawing at their faces and provide them with lotions and ointments to “cure their diseases.” It seems that the travelers took it upon themselves to correct the actions of the natives, instead of observing. Both times they do not describe how the ritual is carried out; there is a greater focus on how the travelers help the natives as opposed to describing the ritual. This leads to the question: who thought the travelers were God? Was it the natives or did the travelers designate themselves as superior beings. Either way it greatly reflects the attitude the British had towards themselves and natives to the areas they traveled.