SOC 308 – Racial and Ethnic Groups
September 3, 2012
"Except for Native Americans, everyone else is an immigrant"- Vickie Whitewolf. These are very powerful words. Even though Native Americans were the first settlers’ of the continent, they were considered immigrants. This paper will discuss the issues these people faced, such as stratification, pluralism, discrimination, etc. It will also describe the role of politics, public policies and economics within this group.
The tale of Native Americans, like other ethnic groups, is a tale of deceit. It began when Christopher Columbus and his European friends first came to North America. Columbus assumed he reached India; therefore he had no problems with calling the native people “Indians”. These indigenous people taught the Europeans how to survive on their continent. They were experienced in hunting and gathering so they felt it was only fair to share their knowledge to help a fellow man out. In return these men brought diseases to these tribes and forced them into a type of slavery.
“As a conquered population, the subordination of Indians occurred through a highly conflictual process. An indigenous group invaded by a more powerful settler group can only capitulate or, more commonly, resist. This ordinarily makes for a high level of conflict and rejection of assimilation into the dominant group” (Marger, 2012). The North American settlers’ deemed the natives uncivilized and inferior (pertaining to technology). Contact and ethnocentrism is a factor of stratification but are not as important as competition and differential power. The land, as a valued resource, caused competition between Indian-white relations. The land was not viewed as private property. The Europeans’ technological skills are what gave them the advantage in war. “When the vastly superior arms of the colonialists were combined...
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