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Impact of American expansion on the indiginous Indian population.

Indian Suffrage Before the English arrived in the New world and began creating colonies, the American Indians lived in harmony and peace with natures. The American Indians were skilled hunters, farmers and used everything in their environment for survival or for essential necessities. They shared the land together and moved about freely in search of food. The American Indians never considered the lands their property because it’s belong to God and no one have the right to buy, sell, nor own it. However, Europeans has an opposite view of Indians beliefs, cultures, and use of lands. They viewed Indians as children, savage-uncivilized people in need of their protection and salvation (Carroll and Noble: 30). Therefore, they felt it is their responsibility to civilize the Indian and put their lands into good uses. Hence, American Indians suffrages and nightmares began. The impact of American expansion has turned upon the Indians and confronted them with social and economic crises never before experienced. As a result, many tribes torn apart, in many cases extinct, and their identity was lost. Indians also lost their original lands as a result of direct and indirect contact with the Europeans. The whites wanted more lands for their developments, and because of this greed, they created direct policies to clear the Indians off their lands. For example, one form of direct policy that the whites used to rob Indians of their lands was by signing treaties. Then later the whites broke these treaties and forced Indian off their lands by the Removal policy and claimed the lands as their property (Lowy: Lecture 11/96). There were many indirect methods that white used to rob Indians’ lands. They use bribery, threats, and among countless other things to trick Indians into giving up their lands. They were often tricked into signing the land cession treaties that they did not understand the negotiation and the language (Lowy: Lecture 11/6). In many ways, the United States policy toward Indian has been schizophrenic because the laws never completely nor attempted to give Indians an opportunity to progress and assimilate into American mainstream as an individual. From time to time, whites creates many policies, such as the reservation, relocation, and termination in an effort to assimilate the Indians into the American melting pot, therefore ending the Indian problem. But the only result of all these policies was to sink the Indian further into poverty, deprive Indians of their lands, and create a class of people who remained to protect their racial integrity. For example, most reservations do not have running water nor sewage systems. The numbers of unemployment, death, and disease rate were higher than that of the general population (Lowy: Lecture, 11/6). They were left to linger in poverty in virtual concentration camp condition while food and supplies promised in treaties were sold else where. Indians in reservation suffered from hunger, lacked clothing, and lived without proper shelter. Like removal scheme, reservation appeared to be practical and humane; Indians civilization is to be achieved through the segregation. But the fact is that reservation is a way to end bloody clashes between settlers and Indian warriors. It is also a policy to continue to oppress and terminate the Indian’s race. By putting the Indian away on reservations, whites will have more freedom to exploit the lands and built a transcontinental railroad through Indian territory (Lowy: Lecture 11/8). The Indian problem did not stop here. Then in 1950, to the federal government ignorance of the Indians situation, they implemented the Relocation policy to persuaded Indians to move to the urban for technology job training and better living. Once they arrived, they were dumped into ghetto housing, dead end job, and often training that failed to lead to professions and occupations. Also, this policy was originated so that the government no longer have to deal with the Indians and take the responsibility of past wrong. In 1954, Indian problems worsen when the government orginated the termination policy or withdrawing all of federal-Indians funding and supervision. As a result many Indians fall deeper into poverty, hopelessness, and it brought more confusion between the Native American and that of Euroamerican to the Indian. Under this termination policy Indian lost their right to tax exemption that was granted to them in treaties. The health, education, and untility services that they previously received at no cost ended. Termination policy has created a pocket of poverty for the Indian, forced them to sell their lands, and it robs Indians an opportunity to progress. To me, termination policy is an open door for whites to undermine and seize every last piece of Indians’ lands. The difference conceptions of land use between white and Indian created so much misunderstanding of Indians. Indians viewed lands as communally “owned and used.” Their relationship to the land was balance and harmonious; it is use for subsistence, not for profit, buy, or sell (Lowy: Lecture 11/6). However, because of these beliefs European viewed Indians as stupid and that they do not know how to put their lands in good use. Therefore, they felt justified in taking control of the land to “put it in good use” buying , selling, settling, and owned as private property (Valerie: Handout). They exploited the land in any way they could to profit from it. In 1887, the Dawes Allotment Act was passed to enable Indians to become self-supporting farmer, to assimilate, and to teach Indians the white man’s ways , by owning, exploiting, and profiting from the lands. However, the Act had worked badly for the Indian. Large number of Indians lost their allotment to outsider thought easy patenting, foreclosure, deceitful sales or leases, and by marriage (Lowy: Lecture 11/8). Allotment Act was to bring a rapid conclusion to the Indian problem, but it did not. Instead the way was open for exploitation of individual owners as each acquired a negotiable title and it the way to save government further expense in its relations with the Indians. According to Lemkin, “Genocide was the coordinated and planned annihilation of a national, religious, or racial group by a variety of actions. These actions included prosecution, destruction, and attacks on political, culture, {and so on} to undermine the foundation essential to the survival of the group as a group.” Indeed European used all these forms and more to exterminate the Indians. One of the worse forms of genocide Indians confronted is diseases. Europeans brought with them many unknown and incurable diseases that killed and destroyed vast numbers of Indian population. These diseases spread so fast that many Indians did not realize what was happening to their people. Beside diseases, European used military technology such as cannons, swords, and guns to scare and control the Indian. They brutally attacked and executed Indians to keep the tribes quiet and not to obstruct white’s expansion. The third form, legal and illegal methods of land seize. Whites use any kinds of methods to forced, trick, and rob Indians’ lands. Indians were forced to move to new and harsh environment where they greatly suffered and slowly vanished. The fourth form, religion genocide, where church and school were set up to teach and convert Indians to Christianity and missionary comes to Indians with superior attitude and in the name of God to force Indians to practice Christianity. Also, Indians prisoner cannot keep their hair long because of their religion belief (Lowy: 11/8). A fifth form, educational genocide, where Indian children were forced to go to boarding schools to learn whites’ morals and values. The children were severely punished if they did not speak English or follow the strict rules. A sixth form, economic genocide, Indians were deprived from using their own lands, while the whites over exploited the lands for profits. Whites also passed laws restricting Indians trading opportunities. Also, Indians lives were greatly affected by the extermination of buffalo. Yet, while Indians dependent greatly on buffalo for their main source of food, clothing, and many inedible by-products, the white destroyed them in massive number as hunting sport. A final form, cultural genocide, it explains how Indians’ languages, religions, values, and cultures was lost or drastically swapped. Thanks to the Red Power Movement and many other Indians movements, their efforts have strengthened the prospects for Indian self-determination in the political, economic, education and religious realm. They have helped to make Indian people more visible to the whites and whites began to realize that Indian was our first and natural citizen. However, the government in particular, owns it to the Indians to give them an opportunity to be a full participant in economic, political, and education. They need to put into practice and to bring to fruition some of the reforms and treaties with the American Indians that are long overdue.

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