, Research Paper
Discrimination Against Native Americans in AmericaDuring our country’s brief history, America has prided itself as being the forward moving, upward culture throughout the past, present, and upcoming times. But our “great” nation has for centuries scorned the true Americans, weather it be by forced labor for children,relocating the entire society, or not keeping health care promises. Native Americans havebeen on the outside of our society since the beginning, virtually enslaved and trapped inthe laws and regulations of the new America. At the time of the creation of the U.S.A, Native American tribes were considered foreign nations with which treaties needed to be made. Native Americans were not considered American citizens because The United States Senate had ruled that Amendment 14, an amendment stating that all living on US land would be granted citizenship, did not apply to the Native American tribes. From the beginning, citizenship for Native American tribes was given in treaties for land. In return for their land, the Indians would gain American citizenship. In 1830 the American Senate passed the Indian Removal Act, and many tribes were forced offtheir land and onto government reservations. No longer were they able to trade their landfor citizenship. The Government took what they needed, and left the scraps for the NativeAmerican tribes. Eventually, treaty making with the tribes ended in 1871 with the passage ofa new act, the Appropriations Act (16 US Stat. 544), which made it legal for congress tolegislate without the consent or the agreement of the Native Americans in that area. Nolonger did the tribes have any say in the activities or their freedom. The tribes becamepawns in the political struggle for land and expansion of America, and the rights of theNative Americans were ignored. The civil rights of Native Americans in our country’s pastisn’t much better, either. Since the Native Americans were not thought of as US Citizens,neither were they treated that way. Many laws were written by the US Government that trappedthe Native American people into the stereotypes of the whites . One such law was passed inCalifornia, April 23, 1850. This new law severely limited the rights and freedoms of NativeAmericans in California. The new act made it easier for whites to take the Native Americanminors into their care, keeping any profit the child made until the boys were 18, and girls,15. And it became easier for white Americans to convict Native Americans, since their ( theNative American’s) testimony was automatically ruled out as false. In 1896, The US Supremecourt held the Talton vs. Mayes case, stating that the Bill of Rights didn’t apply totribal governments. Native American tribes govern themselves, and don’t acknowledge the USas their government, therefore the court reasoned that the Federal Constitution didn’t applyto the tribes and people within them. This case didn’t attract much public interest untilthe 1960’s, when the freedom and equal rights movements were in full gear. Senators of theUS were shocked to learn that the Constitution didn’t apply to tribal government. In 1968,Congress passed the Indian Civil Rights Act, a new law that protected the rights of theindividual among Native American governments. Finally the Native Americans had equal rightsin America. Today, tribes living on reservations act as semi-independent nations. The US maintains a government-to-government relationship with these tribes, and most tribes with reservation land are on the land as a result of treaties. All Native Americans that live on reservations currently receive birth to death medical and dental care. Although this may seem to be a blessing, still 31 percent of Native American’s income is below the poverty line, and a welfare check doesn’t lift a family above the poverty line. Many tribes are now dependent on tourism. Legalized Gambling on the Native American reservations employs
300,000 Native Americans. Although many are profiting from the gambling industry, 1.7 million are not involved in the Gambling industry. At the Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation, 8 in 10 residents are unemployed. This poverty also affects the health of Native American families. One in five Native American families live in a home without a toilet or telephone. Also, the rese!rvations lack running water or electricity. Native Americans are 4 times as likely to die ofalcoholism, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is six times the national average. Alcohol isresponsible for half of all crimes committed on the Lakota Reservation, and can be seen asthe cause of child abuse, infant mortality, and suicide. What is even more alarming, is theleadership that isn’t there. The Department that oversees National policy towards NativeAmericans itself agrees with the funding cuts being made. Funding for alcohol preventionprograms has been cut in the recent years, and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbit, believesthat cutting the funding only worsens the problems, for other departments of the government. “It will do no good to cure these devastating cuts by sacrificing other department programsbenefiting science and the environment” Babbit said. Until we can see the true problem ofdiscrimination and concentrate on fixing it, unlike Bruce Babbit and others like him, all wewill do is dance around the flames. Until we get ourselves burned, and discover just howaloof we are from the true Americans, we cannot begin to understand and help overcomeboundaries set long ago by the new America. We view ourselves as a nation who lives by thecredo expressed in the beginning of the Declaration of Independence, “All men are createdequal”, but a review of the federal government’s treatment of its Native Americans livinghere belies what we profess to hold as our most important value. Clearly we have a long wayto go… Outline1) Introduction2) Tribal rights, past denials and past disappointments. a) tribal rights, independent nations inside America. b) tribal treaties broken, a long trail of many tears. c) tribes rights decreasage… no longer a treaty needed. 3) Civil rights of the individual, citizen or not?a) the laws that bind.. California Senate. b) Bill of rights, and individual people. c) equal rights, but late coming… 1968 freedom movements. 4) Modern tribes, times and trials of division. a) reservations, gambling, and poverty. b) department leadership that wasn’t 5) conclusion… where we are headed and what direction we need to aim. A Perfect WorldA perfect world would be,the perfect place,to cry, dream, or screamin the solitude of spaceA perfect world would be,drug and cancer free. All desieases curable,no death besides the natural. A perfect world would be,where everyone was free. Equal rights, equal liberty. No matter race, religion or society. A perfect world would be, where food for all was free. No hungry children stealing bread, No need for soup kitchens or Army’s rations. A perfect world would be,a place of worldwide equality. Equal levels of income & technologyNo starving 3rd-world countries. A perfect world would be,a place of peace among countries. No single armies assembledno enemies to fight. A perfect world would be,a place of universal harmony,each person a citizen of the earth,dividing oceans no barrior in peace. A perfect world would be,full of universal love and freedom. Differences celibrates, greviances forgiven,blind love seeing no hate. A perfect world would be,all these and more,unending love, respect and peace,a wish for Planet Earth.