Christianity is repeatedly referred to as the religion of Deerslayer and Hetty, and through Deerslayer in particular it is associated with being of European rather than Native American descent.
This religion is referred to specifically when Hetty visits the enemy (who are often referred to as the Mingos). She takes her Bible with her and quotes from it in order to convince the chiefs that they should turn the other cheek and practice forgiveness rather than seek revenge on her father and Hurry.
This is incident is also of note as the representative Native Americans are given one of the few opportunities to question how this value is not being put into practice by the white men who pay money for the scalps of women and children. Native American Traditions
By having Deerslayer as a central character, the novel allows for some scope to be given to a way of life that differs from a white European culture. Because he has been raised by the Delawares, some space is given over to portray Native American traditions with some reverence and interest.
The positive depiction of certain customs and ideals such as honor and pride is, however, at the same time outweighed by the stereotypical portrayal of Native American characters. The concept of treachery is often pointedly associated with Native Americans, for example, throughout the narrative and yet this is never fully deconstructed as mythical or at least equally applicable to the white characters.
The idea of the frontier is a central thematic concern in The Deerslayer. The Hutter family represents the settlers on the edge of the as yet unclaimed land, and Hurry characterizes a lawless trapper who is values money rather than ethics or morals.
The concept of ownership is referred to and, although it is barely interrogated as a problematic issue with regard to the rights of Native Americans, it lies at the centre of many of the adventures in this novel.
The theme of violence is also related to this microscale depiction of the frontier on the edge of so-called civilization as both Native Americans and white settlers are seen to be willing to be violent. This may be understood as elemental to a narrative that draws on the tradition of the historical romance and the genre of adventure stories.
The DeerSlayer: Theme Analysis