top-rated free essay

America- congress

By Hana_111 Feb 24, 2014 1443 Words
In the beginning of the period the federal government did very little to aid the development of Native American civil rights in fact treaties and reservations along with other legislations only aided in diminishing the rights of Native Americans. However by the end of the period the Supreme Court had played an influential role in enabling the Native Americans to progress in developing the rights they had long been denied e.g. their desire to maintain their culture and access the opportunities of their land wholly. The activism towards civil rights for African Americans in the 1960s - 1970s consequently sparked activism from Native Americans; their desire for Self-Determination began to be further implemented, primarily by the strong support and rulings of the Supreme Court. This meant that by 1992 the independence that many Native Americans had enjoyed prior to 1865 had been partially restored. Despite congress not participating as greatly with the supporting of the rights of Native Americans it cannot be denied that by the end of the period it was the combination of the three branches of federal government that allowed Native Americans in their journey of furthering their Civil rights. From the period of 1865-1900 it was evident that the Supreme Court would not be taking an active role with regards to Native American rights as they were revoking all rights to Congress who took advantage of this and used this as an opportunity to assimilate Native Americans into society by stripping them of their rights. However, through trying to assimilate Native Americans Congress did attempt to make some brief attempts to better the conditions of Native Americans lives for example in 1877 the government spent $20,000 on the education of Native American children aged 5-18 and in 1869 the government set up Board of commissioners to help assimilate Native Americans however it was a very corrupt system and very few Native Americans benefited from it. This shows a very inactive period of time where more was done to restrict Native American rights by congress through the 1887 Dawes Act and Allotment which attempted to rapidly assimilate Native Americans with the promise of citizenship for those who abided but it was in turn was a major attack to their cultural rights, and the 1898 Curtis Act which was an amendment to the Dawes Act which applied the allotment policy to 5 civilised tribes who went on to lose their right to self-govern in 1906. Overall it is evident that in the beginning of the period that the Supreme Court played a passive role with regard to Native American rights which was a hindrance but a greater hindrance who was actively going about to restrict and remove as many Native American rights was undeniably Congress. This was because the other 2 branches of federal government the Supreme Court and The President saw Congress as being ‘guardians’ of Native Americans therefore felt no need to intervene. In the period of 1900-1945 the Supreme Court reinforced their role as being passive and allowing congress to take the leading with regard to Native American rights; this is expressed very early on with the Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock 1903 where congress had broken their 1867 Medicine Lodge Treaty and the Supreme Court supported Congress and their power to break treaties. However in 1948 the Supreme court begin to show some support for Native American with Harrison v. Laveen where the Mohawk-Apache Tribe members took their case to the Supreme Court when Laveen refused to let them register to vote, the court found in favour of the Native Americans which shows the Supreme Court taking some responsibilities for the Native Americans. On the other hand Congress continue to oversee the diminishing rights of Native Americans, this is firstly seen with the 1921-23 Leavitt Bill which threatened to remove the right of the Pueblo tribe to perform some of their traditional dances. Congresses determination to have complete control over laws and legislations with regards to Native Americans is seen with the Indian Reorganization Act in 1934 where Congress heavily modified Colliers draft before it became a law despite it being a relatively positive legislations it shows that Congress unlike Collier didn’t want to grant complete protection to Native Americans and wanted to provide them with limited protection. Overall it is evident that during this period of time the Supreme Court were beginning to show some signs of support toward Native Americans whereas Congress continued to exert their dominance over Native Americans by ensuring that any laws and legislations made by them met their standards and by having the Supreme Court hand over most of their rights with regards to Native American legislation thus Congress found it additionally easier to do as they pleased with very little opposition. The following period of time was from 1945-1969 where Congress was determined to exterminate the history of Native Americans, however at the beginning of the period it seemed as if they were making positive progress with the 1948- Bureau of Indian Affairs which tried to alleviate poverty by creating job placement centres in major west cities, this highlights the first time where Congress to an active interest in improving the economic rights of Native Americans. This was further followed by the 1946 Indian Claims Commission in 1946 which allowed many Native Americans to regain lands owned from the treaties but often instead of land financial settlements were given. Following this marks the complete diminishing of Native American rights with the 1953 Termination legislation which ended federal control of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and made them subject to the same rights and laws as whites; it also removed any recognition of tribes and treaties. To ensure Terminations success Congress passed a voluntary relocation scheme which was set up to lure Native Americans off reservations, this continued till 1968 where termination was ended but at this point Native Americans already had the highest levels of illiteracy, disease and unemployment. On the other hand the Supreme Court once again took the back seat with regard to Native American legislations as they allowed Congress to do as they pleased, this proved to be a hindrance as there was no opposition to the decisions Congress were passing no matter how detrimental to Native American heritage and rights. In addition to this any appearances the Supreme Court made seemed to either reinforce Congresses role as ‘guardians’ or slightly worsen the situation e.g. in 1968 where the Supreme Court refused to uphold their fishing rights which caused demonstrations by Native Americans in Washington. Overall it is evident that Congresses decisions had detrimental impacts on Native American lives as it put them rock bottom with no economic, social and political means to survive by and the Supreme Court did not better the situation by being so passive with regard to any legislations. The last period of time in which the Supreme Court proved to be the primary supporters for Self-Determination and in which they finally stopped being passive and took responsibility for Native Americans was 1969-1992. This is seen by many of the cases including the 1974 Oneida v. Oneida where the Oneida tribe successfully sued for the return of lands, and the 1976 Fisher v. Montana where tribal courts decided in favour of Native Americans with regard to cases on child adoption, as well as this there was the 1980 US v. Sioux Nation in which a total of $106 million was offered for the loss of their Black hills and the 1982 Seminole Tribe v. Butterworth which allowed tribes to set up gambling enterprises on reservations even if state banned it this allowed them to have a steady financial income but often was a conflict of interest for those with strong religious and cultural beliefs. These cases ultimately suggest that the Supreme Court was reinforcing legislations to ensure that Native Americans would no longer feel as though they were confined to the boundaries set for them by Congress but instead would feel as though their Cultural heritage was finally being recognised. On the other hand despite Congress making a greater effort in passing more legislations which would aid Native Americans like the 1972 Indian Education Act which increased funding to build and improve Native American schooling, and the 1975 Indian Self- Determination and Education Assistance Act where tribes were able to take responsibility for themselves, the damage they had caused was already so detrimental that no amount of legislations would allow Native Americans to fully recover, in addition to this the passing of the legislations made very little difference to the lives of Native Americans it was in fact its upholding by the Supreme Court which sent the clear message out to those opposing Native American Self-Determination that it would not be allowed to continue for any longer.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • 9th Philippine Youth Congress in Information Technology

    ...Umipig, James Edward L. Narrative Report About The Recent Y4iT BSIT - IIIA “Y4iT” Last September 19-21, 2011, we went to Manila (particularly Quezon City) for a seminar at the same time for a field trip. It was exhilarating to visit Manila once again, and the fact that we are going to one of the most famous universities here in the ...

    Read More
  • Made In America

    ... “Made in America” The trend towards outsourcing overseas and the slowly decreasing of American manufacturing has made it very difficult to find American-made goods, but not impossible. There are a few small businesses that are still dedicated to manufacturing goods in the United States, but in today’s society, they are hard to come b...

    Read More
  • White America

    ...ENG 280 04/09/2012 Song Analysis “White America” is a song in which Eminem creates many contradictions to show inconsistencies in the American social structure. This is important because it reveals critical flaws in the American society that gives false illusions to immigrants and U.S citizens that the United States plays fair in wars....

    Read More
  • An Agricultural Revolution in America

    ...because of the general negative financial situation affecting America. This led to large surpluses in crops that made food prices unstable and lots of food going to waste. One large part of the Agriculture Adjustment Administration was to actually pay farmers not to plant crops. This way, farmers could still receive the income their families ...

    Read More
  • America: Land of Opportunity

    ...America: Land Of Opportunity “We think of America as a land of opportunity”, and it was. Back between the 1600’s through 1774 America was a great place to start off fresh and move onto something new and exciting. Many people wanted to relocate to the America’s due to the great rumors, which it had lead on. Although there were many oppo...

    Read More
  • I Hear America Singing

    ...I Hear America Singing SUMMARY In the poem "I Hear America Singing" by Walt Whitman, the reader envisions a country of people working for the greater good of mankind. These people come together as part of the whole society developing industry and production. Each person has a different occupation, but each job is important to the bigger pictur...

    Read More
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist, There Are Many Parallels to America in the Novel

    ...recounts his life in America and the changes he had gone through in his American Journey. The use of an extended monologue makes readers view events through Changez’s perspective. Readers can also see that Hamid used a lot of parallel to present America, and Changez’s relationship with America also shown by these parallels. Initially, the c...

    Read More
  • Muslims in America

    ...Muslims in America America today is made up of many different cultures as well as people that are in them. Not only is America diverse by the different races of people but also by their culture. In America we have many different cultures and from those cultures come subcultures. Which is a group in society which does not follow the main s...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.