Racial History Report
I am writing this letter to you with the intent of helping you understand the finer points of what it has been to be a Native American throughout history. Our experience has been less than desirable since the 1400’s when Columbus arrived with his men and 17 ships. According to Churchill (1994), upon Columbus’s arrival, he was quick to enslave and exterminate the Native Americans; the Spanish colonists instilled their “superiority” through these acts. But it wasn’t just explorers that assisted in the demise of the American Indians, the European colonists killed 50%-90% of every tribe in North America from diseases such as Smallpox and Influenza (Delema, 2005). When the Europeans began coming over they viewed America as land for the taking. Native Americans were viewed as “savages” and needed to be eliminated (Delema, 2005). One of the more famous legislations intent on constraint of our race was the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which ultimately led to the Trail of Tears. (Cave, 2003) This act was created by Andrew Jackson, with the intent to move the Indian tribes west of the Mississippi. Most Indian Territory laid within the sovereign states borders and Jackson was negotiating with the Indians to move elsewhere, if they so choose. Jackson had stated in the act that it would not supersede any previous treaties that natives had with the United States, nor would Native Americans be involuntarily moved. They were supposed to be given a choice; but unfortunately Jackson turned a blind eye to the forcible removable of the Indians that transpired.
In the late 1800’s, the United States government put into place the General Allotment Act, which essentially removed Native American children from their homes and forced them to attend boarding schools to rid them of their customs and languages (Chen, 2009). These are just a couple examples of the breakdown of the Native American people purely to create a more assimilated nation....
References: Delema, R. (2005, Spring). Native American Genocide. History behind the News,. Retrieved from http://www.lcsc.edu/elmartin/historybehindthenews/spring%202005/delema.htm
Cave, A. (2003-12-01). Abuse of Power: Andrew Jackson and the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The Historian (Kingston), 65(6), 1330-1353.Doi:10.1111/J.0018-2370.2003.00055.X
National Indian Law Library. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.narf.org/nill/resources/icc.htm
Chen, M. (2009, October). Making Amends with Native America: The meaning of resolution. Colorlines. Retrieved from http://colorlines.com/archives/2009/10/making_amends_with_native_amer_1.html
Churchill, W. (1994). Indians are Us? Culture and Genocide in Native North America. : Common Courage Press.
Brookeman, C. (1990). The Native American Peoples of the United States. American Studies Today Online. Retrieved from http://www.americansc.org.uk/Online/brookman.htm
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