American Treatment of the Indian Tribes

Better Essays
American Treatment of the Indian Tribes

The American Indian lived a life being one with nature. In their way, they understood the ecological demands of the land and knew that if they took care of the land the land would take care of them. They possessed an untouched wisdom living in harmony with the environment. They hunted the land for buffalo, which provided food and clothing for the ages to come. In time they would almost become non existent at the hands of the “white” man. They would come to lose their land, lose the buffalo and lose their self being and their way of life.
Towards the end of the 1800s the Indian territories were reduced by about 95 percent. The U.S. government along with greedy white settlers was the main reason behind this loss of land. The government placed treaty upon treaty on the Native Americans and would not uphold to any of them. Some treaties were made to guarantee safety and permanent reserve for the Indians, but they were not followed through. In most cases the Indians were driven off the land by white settlers looking for gold or rich farmlands. The U. S. government broke some of the treaties by expanding through the promised lands looking for valuable minerals and making way for the expansion of the railways. The U.S. Government in seeking rights to control the land and its natural resources reverted to “legal” manipulation. In cases were they were met with resistance, the Army was called in to settle the score.
The relocation of the Indians from lands east of the Mississippi River to the West represents a dark phase in American history. In the first treaties signed, there were promises of stability for the Indians. One of these sagas is known as the “Trail of Tears”. This relates to the removal of the Cherokee Indians by the U.S. Army from their native lands in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. During the journey they were held in camps and then forced to travel over 1,000 miles during adverse weather. This trail led them to the Indian Territory, which is now Oklahoma. This was a catalyst towards the devastation of the American Indian culture...

... middle of paper ...

...mises such as owning their land “as long waters run and the grass shall grow.” The Indians would have continued to live "until the end of time" if the white settlers had not intervened. The white settlers created conditions that threatened the existence of the Indians. By the late 1800s, most of the tribes had now been almost completely abolished. The Indians were either beaten into submission or succumbed to the many contagious diseases brought on by the settlers.
By the start of the 1900s there were less than one quarter million Native American Indians in the country. These numbers dwindled from over half a million in the early 1880s and over five million since Columbus first set foot on these lands. Most of the Indians now were living in the small reservations. Beaten, tired and humiliated, they lived in poverty, alcoholism, and unemployment. They were now forced to live off the government as wards of the state. Once the rulers of the West they now a lost culture, having lost their identities and sense of being. Although the freedom of their ancient way of life has been lost, the religion, culture, legends, and spirit of the Native American Indian will always endure.
Get Access