Ronald Takaki, a History of Multicultural America

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Throughout history many ethnic cliques have experienced abuse and distrust from our American society. The people in America seem to be less understanding, and less willing to accept cultures different from their own, at least years ago. Groups such as the Indians, the African Americans, and the Immigrants, fall deeply into this category. The situations and struggles they have gone through are greatly explained in Ronald Takaki’s novel, “A Different Mirror, A History of a Multicultural America.” Although they have experienced a lot, particular financial and social configuration have changed, helping change our perspective of each civilization, for better or even worse.

When the New England people set off to America to, “cultivate the Lord’s garden,” [pg. 26] and farm arable land, they knew the Indian people had already inhabited the area, but did not fear them. When first viewed the Indian people were believed to be savages, living as uncivilized as the Irish. To the New England people, the Indians were in deficit of all it took to be urbane, lacking attire, writing, Christianity, and urban areas, and indulging in passion and lust beyond the New England belief. Even when the Indian population tried to help the New Englanders, by bringing, “food and rescuing the starving strangers,” [pg. 35] the New England appreciation only lasted so long. The two groups soon became hostile as the New England people tried to exploit the Indian’s food supply, and fighting broke out almost immediately. With the constant fighting the governor of Virginia, Thomas Gates, decided to have the Indian people be forced to labor for the New England people. This decision was not taken lightly, but yet powerfully and unsympathetically. Even the children were treated cruelly; they would bring them to the river where they would, “put the Children to death … by throwing them overboard and shooting out their brains.”[pg. 39] Eventually a peace treaty was negotiated by Captain William Tucker, but the wine served to the Indian people was poisonous, killing around 200 instantly. This was just the beginning of what was to come to the Indian people. The leader of the Cherokee tribe personally wrote a letter to President Jackson acknowledging the fact that his people will abide by the federal law, even though they had settled on this land first and established their own set of rules. This letter was ignored by Jackson, and instead the opposite occurred. Jackson wrote a letter to Commissioner J.F. Schermerhorn, in negotiation of the removal of the Indian people. When the Indian people denied this treaty they were forcibly removed from their homes, and embarked on a journey to a new land for them to settle. “The Cherokees were nearly all prisoners,” [pg. 46] stated by Reverend Evan Jones, they had no choice but to leave their homes or be killed for not. The journey in which they set upon was a long and very different weather than what the Indians were used to. Many Indians became ill from the trip, as well as many died. The idea behind this was to keep America “white” and free of people who were not what the New England people believed to be civilized, out of their new found land. The Indian culture was one of which the New England people were not familiar, and their need to expand their land, in search of new areas to populate and produce food, made them willing to do anything to obtain the area. The American people had this idea of a manifest destiny, in which the ideas of expansionism were expressed. This idea was a major goal at the time, and whatever needed to be done to achieved it would be. The government was the key role in the Indian removal, and maltreatment, but did this for their own personal gain. At the time it was more important for America to achieve what they wanted to achieve than to worry about who they were hurting in the process. This falls true with other ethnicities also. The Indian people were not the only ones treated unfairly for the...
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