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Native Americans When Whites started to come over to America, they didnt think twice about taking over the Native Americans land. As it says in Strangers to These Shores, Columbus first impressions of the Arakawa Tribe in the Caribbean reflected ethnocentrism I knew they were a people who would better be freed and converted to our Holy Faith by love than by force they are all generally of good height, of pleasing appearance and well built They must be good servants and intelligent and I believe that they would easily become Christians, as it appeared to me that they had no sect. (# 1, pg. 223) People from other cultures were always trying to convert the Native Americans to their ways. Whites were the minority for several years, yet they still tried to sell the idea that there way was better. Whites were viewed by the Native Americans as liars, cheaters, and hostile people. These two groups had a hard time trying to mix cultures. The Native Americans couldnt understand the Whites way of treating the land, animals, and each other (hangings, prison, etc).
The Whites couldnt understand why the Native Americans didnt want to be Christian, and why they didnt want to join their enlightened way of life. A bit later, violent wars between each group became common, and the ending result is that the Whites won. Whites gave the Native Americans puny areas of land (that was already theirs) to live on, and the whole history of this just make me disgusted. The tribe out of Wisconsin, Menominee tribe, is the states oldest continuous inhabitants. They have lived on the land for over 5, 000 years. (# 2 pg. 1) Their language is the dialect of Algonkian language.
The tribe is considered to be a woodland tribe. Most tribes east of the Mississippi are woodland tribes. Before the Whites destroyed the land and animals (cannot help my contempt), their income was based on gathering, hunting, fishing, etc. These activities required lot of land. Therefore, they inhabited area from the upper Michigan in the north all the way to Milwaukee in the south, west to the Wisconsin River and east to Lake Michigan. They covered, all together, about 9. 5 million acres.
French later arrived in 1634 in the Wisconsin area to add beaver trapping to the Menominee's way of life. Through time, beavers were becoming scarce and the Menominee had to travel to find them. Also, trading became important to the Menominee because they were becoming dependent on the French for really cool things that they could barter for like guns, pans, blankets, beads, etc. After a while, they were so dependent on the French for supplies and stuff they forgot how to do things the old way. Then along came the British. The Menominee people soon realized that they could get better deals with the British, than with the French.
This lasted until the British were remove from the area after the War of 1812. Americans then had authority of the area by 1814. Later came the treaty era. Over all the Menominee tribe signed ten treaties and transferred 9. 5 million acres to the U. S. government.
Land for settlers were needed. The 1849 treaty had a clause to relocate the Menominee people to Crow Wing, Minnesota. This treaty was flawed, and the government then offered a new treaty that removed the removal clause. Finally in 1852 the Menominee people relocated to the section of land known as the Wolf River, and they have been there ever since. It is a great area with an abundance of trees, streams, wildlife, and lakes. The current population of the Menominee people is 3, 270, living on 233, 881 acres.
Today the Menominee people earn their income from the logging industry. The people run the sawmill and the cutting of the timber. This operation currently employs 350 people. The Menominee people run a successful operation because of their Sustained Yield Management Plan.
This management plan prevents clear cutting and put limits on the amount of board feet that can be taken in any given year. The Menominee management plan is known all over the world and millions of observers come from all over to study it. The Menominee's government is labeled as a sovereign nation, the only higher constitution than their own is the United States constitution. The Menominee people have legislature consisting of nine people, and the governing body is elected by the voters. Its purpose is to uphold all tribal affairs. Native Americans have always viewed their environment as sacred.
Their belief is they are just a small part of the great continuous circle. Everything is apart of this circle and if one part is effected it will ultimately effect the other parts. Native Americans dont see the land as something to take advantage off, everything they take from the land they perceive as a gift. It is traditional to give a prayer of Thanks as well as leaving a gift. Some prayers are to help the animals spirit to complete its journey to the afterlife, and also thanking the animals spirit for giving up his life to help others survive. Tobacco was a typical offering because the Native Americans viewed tobacco as a strong medicine that is satisfactory to the Creator.
Prayers followed by an offering of tobacco will be heard by the Creator. Prayers and offerings were also made when Native Americans used plants, trees, and other materials from the land. Everything had a spirit and they were given the same honor, by saying a prayer of thanks. The Menominee people believe in all of this as well, as well as continually being cared for future generations. Native Americans have almost been exterminated in the many genocides 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 constituted (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 misappropriated. 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 mans 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 2.
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 3.
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 years.
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 4. lead his tribe in the Little big horn Battle along the Washing River in 1876.
Sitting bull dedicated his later years to encouraging his people to preserve their traditions and spiritual beliefs. 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 5. the all-Indian schools. Native Americans 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. In 1980, the Native American population as about 1. 4 million and in 1996 it was up to 2. 3 million. The book Strangers to These Shores states Some of this increase reflects a rise in the number of people claiming Native American ancestry who had not heretofore done so; but in addition, the Native American birthrate is almost twice the national average. However, the Native Americans are, out of all other minorities, are the still the poorest people based on income, employment, etc. There are success stories though.
For example, the Choctaw tribe of Mississippi are a part of the fifteen biggest employers in the state, because of their five auto-part factories, and their greeting card operation. All in all, they have an eighty- percent employment rate. The most serious problem facing Native Americans today is alcohol abuse, which plays a key role in their high mortality rate. Native American people between the ages of 25 to 34, have a rate of terminal liver cirrhosis about fifteen times the national average. Death from alcohol related causes are five times the national rate. In spite of the stereotype of Native Americans alcoholism, there had been no research proving this to be fact.
Other problems facing Native Americans is land rights. Big companies are in constant battle with the Native Americans because they still want their land for personal gain. For example the Navajo tribe is living on land that contains 2. 5 billion tons of coal, and 55 million pounds of uranium deposits. Companies successfully moved most of the Navajo people to government type housing, and today the matter is still unfinished. In conclusion, I hope that this paper has given you some insight on the life of the Native American people. I realize that this topic is so broad it is hard to talk about all the aspects of their life.
Overall, Native Americans have suffered enough discrimination and whatnot, so hopefully in this century, we can learn to live beside, respect, and accept Native Americans. Bibliography: Vincent N. Parrillo, Strangers to These Shores. New York: Allyn&Bacon, 1997.
Baird, Robert. "Going Indian: Discovery, Adoption, and Renaming toward a 'True American, ' from Deerslayer to Dances with Wolves. " Boulder, Colo. : Westview Press, 1996. pp: 195 - 209 Kilpatrick, Jacquelyn. Celluloid Indians: Native Americans and Film / Jacquelyn Kilpatrick. Lincoln, Neb. : University of Nebraska Press, 1999. Internet site; web Lesson 1, pg. 1 Internet site; web Lesson 7, pg. 1
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