The La Relacion by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca - Crittical Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  2
Wordcount:  546 Words
Date:  2022-12-18


The La Relacion by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca is a document that was written in 1537 that provides his accounts and views about the Texas Indians during that period when he lived among them. Cabeza de Vaca had initially shipwrecked on the shores of Texas where he was rescued by the Indian people. The document provides detailed accounts regarding the people's appearance, social and cultural practices. The text, however, has its fair share of biases but Cabeza de Vaca appears to be a reliable narrator.

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In regards to their physical appearance, the Texas Indians had larger body structures. A good number of them appeared to be warriors who were well-armed with bows and arrows. "whether tall or little, it made them appear giants to us," Cabeza de Vaca. Nevertheless, they were not aggressive towards the writer and his fellow crewmen because they offered signs of friendship like giving them their arrows and offering them food. This was also an indication that they were resourceful. The writer indicates that they felt very wealthy after being given bells which meant that they lived simple lifestyles.

They also appeared to possess emotional intelligence at that point because, despite the language barrier, they continued to provide the sailors with the necessary resources after they lost everything they had to the sea. Also, when the sailor lost their men, the Indians sat with them and sincerely mourned the death of the foreigners. The Indians clearly showed empathy in the time of need. Their unhappy emotions were expressed using cries that could be heard from afar.

Their spiritual practices and culture also appeared to be unaltered even with the presence of the Christians because they stilled practiced human sacrifices. When the writer asks whether he could speak to the Indians and have them take them back with them to their villages, the Christians warn against it fearing that they would be sacrificed to the idols. They had a culture where celebrations were marked by dancing the whole night. Medicine men were also respected as they were allowed to have more than one wife and in the event of their death, they would be burned to become dust.

Socially, it appears that the Indian community was well organized. Men were mainly warriors and protectors who were also in charge of the running of the community. Women, on the other hand, were treated unfairly as they did all the hard work. They also loved their children and provided them with everything that they required. If a child in the community died, the community as a whole would mourn the death of the child. At the same time, a year after the child dies there would be celebrations to honor the child.


Cabeza de Vaca provides a detailed account of the time he spent at the shore of Texas and how the Indians played an important role in saving their lives. However, it is evident that the accounts do not mainly focus on the Indians, but instead, they focus on him and his crewmen. He also appears to provide accurate accounts of what happened in Texas as well as the new lifestyle he had been exposed to. Overall, Cabeza de Vaca does a wonderful job of providing his interactions with the Texas Indians.

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The La Relacion by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca - Crittical Essay. (2022, Dec 18). Retrieved from

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