Although the Indians in I Heard The Owl Call My Name, and in The Black Robe are primitive in the technological sense, they are neither simple or emotional people.
The Indians in both texts could be classed as primitive people - if we take primitive to mean technologically underdeveloped. The level of technology possessed by the white man is far superior to that of the Indians, yet the Indians in The Black Robe are happy to accept and use muskets, and in I Heard The Owl Call My Name they are familiar with motors, washing machines and modern building techniques brought by white man.
The Indians display their level of ignorance in regard to modern technology in The Black Robe, when the enemy tribe believed that muskets could only be fired once and once fired, they are useless. The Indians had little knowledge of modern materials or tools.
When comparing the Indians in The Black Robe to the Indians in I Heard The Owl Call My Name, we must take into account that The Black Robe was set two hundred and twenty years earlier than I Heard The Owl Call My Name, and white mans influence on the Indians in I Heard The Owl Call My Name was much greater.
Technology did not play an important role in the Indian's way of life. Traditionally, the Indians lived off the land taking only what they needed, and their hunting and building methods had served them well for centuries, therefore their need to develop new technology would not have been great.
The Indians are not simple or barbaric people. Their complex belief system and folklore related strongly to the environment and gave reasons for the existence of everything. In my opinion this often communicates a quality of wisdom about the Indians.
Although the Indians lead a simple natural way of life, it is not fair to say they are simple people. The Indians in The Black Robe can communicate with white man satisfactorily enough, considering they had little or no contact with any other white man. They are just as - if not more intelligent than most other people.
The war and torture committed by the Indians in The Black Robe could be seen as simple and barbaric but this is no reason to label all Indians as barbarians, one could argue all war is barbaric.
The Indians in both texts are not portrayed as emotional people. The Indians do not let their actions be blinded by emotion. To say the Indians are not emotional, does not mean they do not experience or display emotions, but rather they do not act upon impulse governed by emotion. They are logical, rational and intelligent beings. The Indians in I Heard The Owl Call My Name displayed their grief at the death of the weesa-bedó by having professional mourners who wailed for three days and nights. After Marks death, Jim also showed his grief and sadness when he cried. In contrast, the Indians in The Black Robe were not permitted to cry out when the enemy tribe tortured them, they believed if they did, the enemy tribe would have their soul.
The Indians are much more accepting and also less frightened by death than white man. As Mark remarked to himself in I Heard The Owl Call My Name, "Here death could not be hidden or pushed aside. Here death was normal." The Indians had no fear of death and accepted it as much as a part of life.
The Indians in both texts are very similar with only subtle differences setting them apart from other tribes. Both Indians could technically be classed as primitive, but they are definitely not simple or emotional people.