The Native Americans Devastating Journey

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Chase Beickel

Professor Christopher S. Case History 2200

May 1, 2012

The Native Americans Devastating Journey

As odd as it may seem, I believe that Native Americans had the most difficult time being accepted in America. From the very being European immigrants viewed Native Americans as a threat and colonial immigrants overstepping their bounds. They viewed Native Americans as inferior and started almost every altercation. Most Native Americans viewed land as tribal, that it should be shared, and that the Earth should be treated with respect. Native Americans faced many obstacles from

immigrants from the time they began to migrate in the 1600s throughout the 1900s. Their land has been taken away from them throughout the years and they have been segregated and treated poorly. Native Americans cultural identities had to be sacrificed in order to allow them to assimilate, even a little bit.


Native Americans were diverse in how they settled, it depended more on where the tribe lived. On the East Coast most tribes had strong roots in agriculture, hunting game on the side. Tribes such as the Oneidas lived in what were called longhouse, which usually accommodated two families, one on each side with a fire in the middle for both families to share. ( Oneidas) On the Great Plains many tribes were nomadic and they hunted herds of buffalo, following the buffalo for most of the year. The Native Americans who lived in the Great Basin area and the plateau Indians, agriculture was poor so the tribes that occupied this area were primarily gathers who hunted for small game. The Plateau Indians also fished along major salmon rivers living in semi permanent villages. (The Ethnic Dimension pg. 21) In the southwest the Navajo and Apaches dominated their specific areas. Both tribes were nomadic hunters known for raiding settlements. They lived in teepees and brush shelters in the mountains. Also in the southwest many tribes lived in urban societies and were able to grow certain agricultural products. On the Pacific Coast there were two different groups that settled. In the South Pacific Coast there were many nomadic tribes that were primary gathers. In the Northern Pacific Coast there were tribes who were primarily hunters and fishers, these groups were unique in that they believed in private property and built gable-roofed plank homes. (The Ethnic Dimension pg. 21) Native

Americans throughout America were extremely diverse in how they settled and except for the tribes on the North Pacific Coast most believed that no one man owned the land and that it should be shared.


peaceful Indians they found this as an opportunity to force them to sell their land and move away from European settlements. (The Ethnic Dimension pg. 25) One of the most important examples showing that Europeans just wanted to push Native Americans off of the good land and segregate them has to do with the Cherokee. The Cherokees were willing to lose their cultural identity just to be accepted by whites. They created a written language, built a legal system, built “white” homes, and even took on the Christian beliefs. However, the Whites were more interested in their land and they still were forced to move on a reservation in Oklahoma. (The Ethnic Dimension pg. 63) Europeans were not interested in assimilating Native Americans but rather to segregate them in hope that they would die off. Native Americans had no really value to the US government; between 1776-1877 the Native American population had dropped from 600,000 to nearly 250,000. When the government realized they were not going to be able to completely destroy Native Americans they did everything in their power to take their cultural values. Congress authorized government agents in 1884 to help local missionaries to suppress Native American religions. They formed boarding schools for Native American children, punishing them if they spoke their native language. (The Ethnic Dimension pg. 196 & 197) Putting Native


land or it would be sold to white settlers, which in the end white settlers bought 75 million acres either from the Native Americans or the government. (History 2200 pg. 7&8) This was another way to take cultural identity and steal Native American land. Throughout the last 400 years Native Americans have had one thing their cultural identities, lands, and rights taken away from them.


(The Ethnic Dimension pg. 327) Casinos on reservations have increased the revenues of reservations to nearly 17 billion in 2008, providing much need employment for many Native Americans.




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