Indians vs. Western Civilization

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Indians versus Westward Expansion

It was the early 19th century. The United States was in the process of expanding and rapidly growing. While expanding, the government had to push the Native Americans westward to acquire new land. The harsh and unjust treatment made a huge impact on the Native American nation. In both of the readings, Indian Rights and Chief Joseph Speaks, both Native American tribes speak of the unjust treatment from the U.S. Government with use of treaties. Both readings also speak of the role assimilation and isolation and the toll it took on the Native American society. In this essay, you will learn the differences and similarities of both of these primary sources.

The Indians tried their best to fit in so that they could be treated equal. In Chief Joseph Speaks, on his visit to Washington, D.C. he states, “ I know that my race must change. We cannot hold our own with the white men as we are. We only ask an even chance to live as other men live.”1 In stating this he shows the U.S. Government that the Indian Society is trying to assimilate. As in, Indian Rights, J. Dundy states that the Ponca Tribe Indians “adopted the general habits of whites …and without being guilty of violating any laws of the United States, they were arrested.”2 This goes to show the governments oppression against the pacifist Native Americans. In comparison, they talk about the way the Native American try to fit into the white society. But in contrast, J. Dundy unlike Chief Joseph speaks of the Indians trying to fit in because they want peace which should be an important supportive argument in the case against the Ponca Tribe.

In the process of expanding its ownership of land, the U.S. isolated the Native Americans. They pushed them out to settle the land and offered them treaties in order to pacify them. There were wars and fighting but the Indians could not stand a chance with the white men. Chief Joseph states, “I only ask of the government to be treated as...
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