La Relación,

The assigned excerpt from La Relación begins with the Spanish shipwreck on the
Texas shore. In his account of his rescue by Texas Indians, Cabeza de Vaca offers a
wealth of detail regarding Indian peoples. Your assignment is to write a two to threepage
essay that uses this excerpt as a resource for understanding American Indian history.
What conclusions can you draw about Indians in Texas, given the evidence found in this
text? Issues that you should consider include physical appearance, social organization,
subsistence (food, shelter, tools, etc.) and cultural practices (e.g., marriage and funeral
rites, celebrations, etc.)
In your concluding paragraph, evaluate Cabeza de Vaca as an observer. Is he a
reliable narrator? Does his account reveal any biases that raise doubts about his accuracy
as a reporter of Indian life? (Hint: Does he describe the Indians in negative ways?).
Remember that the goal of the essay is to provide a portrait of Texas Indian life.
To achieve that goal, do not provide a narrative (a retelling) of the Spaniards’
experiences. Focus on the Indians. It is only in your final paragraph that you will closely
examine Cabeza de Vaca.
NOTE: Please do NOT characterize the Indians as compassionate or giving. While that
may seem to be the case in the excerpt you will read, the coastal Indians later enslaved
the surviving Spaniards and abused them physically

Sample Solution