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Native American Removal

By edproc Nov 29, 2013 1017 Words
Native American removal is something that is considered a dark period in Untied States History. Many natives spilled their blood on their land that was taken from them by our American Government, many people then saw it as there right to expand westward (Manifest Destiny) if we didn’t take over the land, the United States would most definitely be different.

The first major move of the United States government was setting up The Bureau of Indian Affairs. With this as well the US army established an outpost in Oklahoma to prepare for the relocation of the Cherokee and Choctaw tribes to the new established Indian Territory. This was all set up in 1824 and really got the ball rolling with Indian removal. The Bureau of Indian Affairs was set up by the department of the interior and their main goal was to oversee the administration and the management of the land set aside for the Natives. The bureau is in fact still around today.

The next major force in the migration of the natives was the Indian Removal Act, it was a law passed on May 28, 1830 by President Andrew Jackson. This provided the resettlement of Natives west of the Mississippi from 1830-1840. From that time over 60,000 Native Americans migrated. This removal led to many more Indian problems with the United States government. This led to the Seminole Wars that lasted from 1817-1858. Another thing that it led to was the very well known Trail of Tears.

The Trail of Tears was the forced removal of nearly 20,000 Cherokee from their lands in Georgia and the Carolinas from 1838 to 1839. The discovery of gold in Cherokee land in Georgia was a man factor in the removal of the natives. Many natives undertook the journey to the new lands under severe distress. About 15,000 Cherokee died of exposure and disease on the journey to the new land. The Trail of Tears is considered to be one of the most regrettable times in American History. The United States Congress designated the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail in 1987, in honor and memory of all those Cherokee men and women who lost their lives. This was a major turning point in the process of Indian Removal; it was a major sign of things to come. The war between the U.S. Army and the tribe the Nez Perce was yet another conflict that showed the forced removal of Indians no matter what. Chief Joseph the leader of the Nez Perce was a very well respected leader born in the Wallowa Valley of northeastern Oregon. In 1871, until the death of his father, he assumed leadership of the non treaty Nez Perce. White settlers coveted the traditional homeland of these Native Americans, and Joseph, seeking proof of Nez Perce territorial rights, met with Federal commissioners to discuss a treaty in which the Indians had supposedly ceded their land to the U.S. government. Despite the obvious deceit of the old treaty, President Ulysses S. Grant opened the Nez Perce lands to settlement and ordered the Native Americans onto reservations. White settlers moved onto the land and committed violence against the Indians. Against his will, Joseph was forced by his tribesmen to fight. Pressed hard by Gen. Oliver Otis Howard's forces, Joseph was convinced that he could not win and began a lengthy withdrawal toward Canada. Pursued by Howard and harassed by many small detachments, Joseph fled toward Canada and thrilled the nation, whose sympathies were with the Native Americans. During the fall of 1877 Joseph led his 500 followers into Montana. In the fighting he showed rare military genius and great humanity; he refused to make war on women and children, bought his supplies when possible, and allowed no mutilation of bodies. On October 1, as the Nez Perce paused to rest at the Bear Paw Mountains just 30 miles from Canada, they were surprised by Col. N. A. Miles with approximately 600 soldiers. With only 87 warriors, Joseph chose to fight. He would not abandon the children, the women, and the aged. After a 5-day siege, however, he said to Miles and his followers: "It is cold and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death…. Hear me, my chiefs. I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever." The 431 remaining Nez Perce were taken to Kansas and subsequently to the Indian Territory (Oklahoma). There so many of them sickened and died that an aroused American public demanded action. Chief Joseph was moved to Colville Reservation in Washington, along with 150 of his followers; the others were returned to Oregon. Joseph made many pleas to be returned to his tribal homeland, but he died on Sept. 21, 1904, and was buried on the Colville Reservation. The next major event of the Indian Removal was the worst and the bloodiest also the last. The Massacre at Wounded Knee was a major turning point in native relations with the United States it was a battle fought on December 29, 1890 at Wounded Knee, South Dakota that was the last major encounter between Native Americans and the U.S. Army. The Army had surrounded a village of Lakota Sioux while attempting to disarm a party that had been captured. The accidental discharge of a firearm led to panic, and the Army opened fire on the village, massacring nearly all its inhabitants. The battle is remembered today as one of the great injustices perpetrated against Native Americans by the U.S. government. The natives of our country have led a very interesting life once we forced them out of their land. It is something, that I do not think we handled very well, and I also think that the real reason we reacted like this is that we were scared. It is common that people who do not know much about a culture tend to be scared of the new things they are encountering. If we just tried to learn and understand, I do not think this would have turned out this way. We would be living among a much greater number of natives today.

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