Native Americans Essay, Research Paper
Native American s
Native Americans have almost been exterminated in the many genocide s and have
been neglected by the federal government. As the United States government exercised
more control over the lives of the Indians, increasing efforts we made to force Native
Americans to abandon traditional cultural practices and adopt the way of white society .
Religious beliefs consituted (and still constitute) one of the major examples of cultural
differences separating whites and Native Americans. The Native American religion has
been misunderstood, maligned and misapproiated. Definitive analyses of particular Native
American religious traditions have been written by non-Indians, who lack any lifelong
experimental basis for their analyses. Many times the Indian is embarrassed and baffled
by the white man s allusions to nature in terms such as crude, primitive, wild, rude,
untamed and savage. (Standing Bear) More than anything the hostilities between the
Europeans and the Native Americans was a clash of cultures. Native Americans believed
that the land belonged to the spirits of the animals who lived on it. White people believed
that one person could own a piece of land and that person could do whatever he or she
wanted with it.
The Trail of Tears, Indian wars and other events occurring in the 1800 s
show what the Indians were put through, and how the white men killed them without
mercy. In the Indian wars, many Native Americans were labeled hostile and massacred
by the union army. The way of conquering them is much more easy than of civilizing
them by fair means, for they are a rude, barbarous, and naked people (U.S. General) The
lure for land to farm and develop brought a steady stream of white settlers in to many
Indian territories. Other lures, gold, mineral wealth and natural resources induced many
whites to move into Indian lands. For some Americans, the solution to disputed land
claims was simple. Indians were merciless savages and as such had no rights of
ownership to the land which they lived on.
During The Trail of Tears Native American Indians were forced to march up to
800 miles from their homelands to Indian Territory which is modern day Oklahoma,
under cruel conditions. During the Trail of Tears , over 4,000 Cherokees alone died, out
of the 15,000 moved. Native Americans died due to disease, exposure, and starvation.
Smallpox had little resistance, killed almost all of the Massachust tribe and two-thirds of the
Wanpanoag. The major tribes that once flourished over all of North America were
whipped out, with only a few small reservations to live on. The reservations where Native
Americans were forced to live on were usually harsh, in hospitable regions where no one
else wanted to live.
The Native Americans fought many battles and outnumbered the United States
army for many years before defeated by the federal government. Many bloody battles took
Place due to the demand of Indian territory by the white Americans. The Union army was
a ruthless enemy. They attacked many harmless villages, and killed many Native
Americans in the massacres of Powder River, Sand Creek, Little Wolf, and wounded Knee
The Native Americans had won many battles against the union army but they also lost so
many warriors that they were forced to surrender. Reservations and Indian territory were
taken over and settled by the white men. Even when the Indian territory was reached, the
United States government was not satisfied. The United States signed close to three
hundred treaties with Native Americans between the late eighteenth and late nineteenth
centuries. Many treaties, were written in confusing legal language barely intelligible to the
average white citizen who understand english. As the United States government exercised
more control over the lives of the Indians, increasing efforts were made to force Native
Americans to abandon traditional cultural practices and adopt the way of the white society.
Many important Native American war chiefs fought in many bloody battles against
the United States army. Native American war chiefs were not like leaders in the United
States army. Indians did not have absolute power by virtue of rank or title, they led by
reputation. Every Native American tribe has had its share of celebrated leaders. Leaders
were chose for their warrior skills, their grasp of military tactics, and for exhibiting
exceptional bravery on the field of battle. Since, Native Americans did not have a written
language, however, the stories of some chiefs have been changed and embellished over the
Red Cloud was a very important chief during the Bozeman Trail War of 1886 to
1868. Red Cloud rose to be head chief of the Itescicha tribe because of his bravery and
leadership skills in battle. In 1868, Red Cloud signed the Great Plains Treaty. He made
trips to Washington to speak for his people. Red Cloud lived his life out on a reservation
preaching for peace.
Sitting Bull was a major leader in many battles between the United States army.
Sitting Bull was a skilled hunter and warrior who killed his first buffalo at the age of ten.
He proved to be a strong warrior. He became a war chief who led the Sioux nation into
many successful battles. Sitting Bull along with Red cloud fought in the Bozeman Trail war
between 1866 and 1868. Sitting Bull was also a leader in the wars for the Black Hills, and
lead his tribe in the Little big horn Battle along the Washita River in 1876. Sitting bull
dedicated his later years to encouraging his people to preserve their traditions and spiritual
American Indians have not vanished from the United States, even thought many
people think that many of the original inhabitants have been driven away. The State of
Maine is still the home of approximately 2,200 Indians, most of them belong to one major
tribe the Passamayuoddy. The land that was left to the Indians was established as a
reservation by the state of Massachusetts. Many of the men are employed as lumbermen
or workers in local paper pulp mills. The children attend their own schools on Indian
township reserve. The schools are taught by Catholic nuns, a tradition dating to the early
eighteenth century when Catholic France was an important European influence in the
area. Many Indians press strongly to preserve their history and heritage.
In 1970 census numbered over 28,000 Native Americans in New York giving them
the second largest Indian population of any state along the Atlantic seaboard. More
Indians live in New York State today than even before. Indians in New York belong to
two of the major language groups on the East Coast the Iroquois and the Mohawks. Almost
70 percent of the Indians in the state live in the cities and surrounding urban areas. Many
live and work in Syracuse, Buffalo and other cities in central New York . Indians are
employed in many of the same jobs as non Indians, in factories, mines, hospitals and
schools. Casinos have generated immense profits for a small percentage of Native
American tribes, enabling them to become more self sufficient and to improve their quality
of life. The children largely attend integrated schools in local school districts, rather then
the all-Indian schools.
Native American s today are still signing treaties and trying to get land back that
once belonged to them. Native Americans are also strongly teaching there religion and
beliefs to their children, who will someday pass the tradition on to their children.
Native Americans have almost been exterminated and have been neglected by the
Federal government. The clash of cultures between Europeans and the Native Americans
caused a great deal of hostility resulting in the killing of a highly developed culture
Native Americans tried hard to fight for their land and preserve their heritage. The Native
Americans were overwhelmed with the size and strength of the United States army. Many
great Indian leaders fought and died for their nation with great dignity. Today many
Indians are passing on the traditions of the Native American culture.