In 1863, Albert Bierstadt completed The Rocky Mountains, Lander’s Peak, a painting which fantasizes the Rocky Mountains and portrays the Indians as “noble savages” (The Humanities pg 1047-1048). In the foreground of the painting is a green meadow populated by Native Americans. Some of the Indians are shown sitting down, while others are gathered around the spoils of a recent hunt. Beyond the field is a glassy lake, fed by a foaming cascade from the mountains. The land then gradually rises in wooded ridges and sunlit cliffs, ultimately culminating...
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...ccessfully within the confines of that culture for centuries before Europeans ever arrived on the American continent.
Even though Americans had different opinions about the way the government should handle the Native American tribes, the myth accepted by most people was that the Indians were uncivilized and wrong in their way of life. Americans also believed that the government needed to take action, whether by obliterating the Indians entirely or by integrating them into society. In the end, both well-intended policies and actions of violence proved devastating to the natives. Many Indian tribes were either exterminated or relocated in horrible ways (The Humanities pg 1050-1051). While American nationalism increased during the nineteenth century, the first American culture was wiped out because it was deemed to be a hindrance to progress and advancing civilization.
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