NTA but myths about elves and other creatures long predate European colonialism in the age of sail. Which actually raises the point that a lot of the tropes about spirituality and connection with nature weren't originally generated by contact with a new people group, but were a process of synthesizing existing European myths with this new contact. Europeans already had a romanticized or mythologized view of nature (probably a reflection of the separation from it being created in their society) that they brought with them. Upon seeing peoples who did not create such a distinct separation, these peoples fit into an already existing ideology about the distinction between society and nature and a template for human-like but not human magical creatures. A large part of the mystique of Americans for the early European explorers and settlers was the seeming contradiction of a society that was not seeking to "master" nature and bend it to submission under the yoke and plow, totally reshaping it to suit their class society. The mythologizing of the Americans was an attempt to reconcile this seeming contradiction, and were a reflection of the Europeans' assumption that such a society wasn't possible.
One of the directions this took was "actually they're not a real society because they don't cut down the forests to make farmland. They need to be civilized or killed." Which among other things is partly what this anon says >>31949
Another direction this took was "if these people can resolve the contradiction between human society and nature, maybe their society is better than ours or at least we could learn something from them."
Part of the motivation for the wars and exterminations was certainly that American societies raised a lot of difficult questions about European societies by contrast. This is of course a threat to the ruling class and the kneejerk response to destroy these people also created an opportunity to acquire vast quantities of resources, so it's hardly surprising that this was the direction they went. This is, after all, a culture that had already spent centuries burning heretics, Christianizing Europe, and otherwise supplanting the "indigenous" European cultures alien to Rome and a post-Roman Christendom, like the Goths or the Picts.>>31940
There were other rituals and so on that wound up as deleted scenes for time reasons. Some of them are more obviously inspired by IRL practices. IDK about smoking but it does include ingesting hallucinogenic drugs in a fashion very similar to an ayahuasca ceremony.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ud-0j4sU7Bs>>31947
I struggle to think of an example from popular media where indigenous people are portrayed as purely good while settlers are portrayed as purely evil, in a reversal of the tradition. There are plenty of examples of the opposite - injuns as mindless savages - even some recent ones. At most you usually get "wow it sucks that the genocides happened but what are you gonna do?" and usualy have some token white people who are sympathetic or helpful. It's not, like, portraying these people as uniquely important or better than human. It rarely even rises to the level of seriousness and mourning that you see given to the holocaust or other genocides. Films about e.g. the Rwandan genocide or crimes of Imperial Japan tend to frame the events as an unspeakable atrocity, so it's not even just "it only counts if white people died." There's something about the protracted genocide of indigenous Americans that the west (mainly the US and Canada) tries very hard to repress. Probably the fact that as a process it took centuries and became deeply ingrained into the culture as a necessary foundation for its present existence. So yeah of course any humanizing of these people is going to be met with a dismissal by whatever excuse is acceptable at the time.