Fools Crow Essay
Throughout American history Native Americans have had a major impact on society. After the civil war many Americans considered settling in the west. A problem that arose was the presence of Native American tribes in the west. There has always been a border between Indians and white, but after the civil war conflicts occured quite often. The novel Fools Crow, written by James Welch, examines the lifestyle and interaction between whites and Native Americans after the war. The exploitation and bullying of Native Americans by white’s ultimately led to major conflict in the west.
The post civil war relationship between Native American and Whites is explored in the text of Fools Crow. This novel’s story fits very well within historical events on a number of levels. The novel coincides within the context of history. In the novel, author James Welch depicts a tribe that is dealing with the pressures and abuse from White people. Much like in the novel, as settlers passed through these Native American lands, they began to take advantage of the Native American way of life. Also, there has been a history of fighting between Native Americans and Whites due to the exploitation of the land and Native American people. The novel depicts characters such as Fast Horse and Owl Child, who fight against the white men trying to take over their land. This fight against the whites is never a peaceful one for the Native Americans. Although Welch makes the reader recognize this, a war between the napikwan and pikuni is never referenced. Violence between the Indians and whites was is visible in our history. Many tribes were being exploited by white men and soldiers. As settlers passed, Indian land was destroyed. For example, between 1850-1860 150,000 whites moved into Sioux territory in violation of treaty agreements. This exploitation is present even later in history. In 1974, during an exploratory mining expedition, miners entered the Sioux land, even though they had promised not to. “The history of the border white man’s connection with the Indians is a sickening record of murder, outrage, robbery, and wrongs committed by the former, as the rule, and occasional savage outbreaks and unspeakable barbarous deed of retaliation by the latter as the exception,” (“For the Record, pg. 38). Between the 1960’s and 1970’s, the Midwest was filled with Indian Wars. These wars were fueled by events similar to the ones previously mentioned. “In 1874 the Sioux tribe fought against General Sheridan’s solders. In 1864, Colonel John Chivington’s militia assaulted an Indian Camp along Sand Creek in the Colorado territory” (“America: A Narrative History”, 576-578). In contrast of peaceful and quiet relations, the governments relation with the Indians is full of shameful broken treaties and promises. The Native Americans knew of these exploitations but could do nothing about it. Chief Joseph, a historic leader of a large bond of Nez Perce, perceives the exploitation of Native Americans as such, “I have heard talk and talk but nothing is done. Good words do not last long unless the amount to something. Words do not pay for my hoses and cattle. Good words do not give me back my children. Good words will not make good the promise of your war chief General Miles. Good Words will not give my people a home where they can live in peace and take care of them selves. I am tired of talk that comes to nothing,” (“For the Record, pg. 36). The same deception is also in the novel, “We thought the Napikwans would leave us alone, for we had tried their way and it was no good,” (“Fools Crow”, pg 96). Through the novels text, we can see how the novel not only fits within the context of history, but also accurately describes it as well. Native Americans held their own rituals and values before the white men settled west. Life was peaceful throughout the west and tribes interacted with each...
Cited: * Shi, David. "For The Record." volume 2. New York City: W.W & Norton and company, 1999. Print.
* Tindall, George Brown. "America." A Narrative History. 8th edition. New York City: W.W. Norton & Company,inc, 1984. Print.
* Welch, James. Fools Crow. New York City: Viking Penguin inc, 1987. 391. Print.
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