Native Americans, Essay Example

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Words: 368

Essay

Purpose of Reservations

The reservations were designed to have Indians live within specified zones because there was a great deal of immigrants coming to the U.S and there was an increase in conflict between the immigrants and the Natives.  In return for Indians abiding by this rule, the United States promised to provide them with food, goods they may need, money, and protection from attacks by other tribes and white settlers. Also, the policies within the reservation reflected the beliefs of the missionaries. According to Cowger, by forcing the Indians to live within determined constraints without the choice of nomadic hunting was the best way to civilize the wild savages. (Cowger, Thomas W, 2006).

Life on the Reservation

Many Indians found life on the reservation to be very difficult. The first outrage for Indians was when they were forced to live on certain plots of land. This alone made it difficult for Indians to continue their traditional way of life. Many of the Nomadic tribes lost their way of life because they could no longer hunt and gather food.  Some of the farming tribes found themselves on plots of land that were not suitable for farming. Often hostile tribes were forced to live in close proximity to one another; which often resulted in disaster.  There were about 310 reservations in the U.S. (Beaulieu, David, 2000) As a result, many Indians faced despair, alcoholism, and disease on the reservations. Life on a reservation could be compared to today’s third world country.

Loss of Culture

Once on reservations, Indians were encouraged and often forced to adopt American ways. They were discouraged from speaking tribal languages and practicing tribal religions. If Native American children attended reservation schools, they were forced to wear American attire. Boys were even force to cut their hair. All of the children were given American names. Also, Indian children were reprimanded if they were caught speaking their native language while at school. (Illia, Tony, 2006).

References

Cowger, Thomas W., Dr. Thomas A. Bland, Critic of Forced Assimilation. American Indian Culture and Research Journal 16.4 (2006): 77 – 98.

Beaulieu, David. Comprehensive Reform and American Indian Education. Journal of American Indian Education 39.2 (2000): 29-38.

Illia, Tony. Tribal Schools Go Modern. Journal of American Indian Education (2006):47-49.

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