1.How would you describe the initial contacts between the Spaniards and the Native Americans? How did each group view the others and how did that shape their initial cross-cultural encounters?
2. What happened to Cabez de Vaca? How did the Native Americans treat him? What key skills did he learn during his captivity?
3. What happened that dramatically changed the plight of Cabeza de Vaca and the other surviving Spanish? How did the Native Americans treat Cabeza de Vaca after he became a healer?
4. Who was using whom in the new relationship between Cabeza de Vaca the healer and the Native Americans? Did both sides gain from this relationship?
5. In the end, what was Cabeza de Vaca’s plan to conquer the Native Americans? Why wasn’t military force and slavery part of his plan?
6. Thinking about this issue in the big picture, how would you define the overall conquest of the Americas by Europeans? What did it mean for Europeans? What did it mean for the Pre-Columbian population of the Americas? What should we think historically about Columbus Day?
7. What question do you have for your peers about the book or the general transformation of the Americas from an indigenous controlled area to an appendage of Europe (the West).