Native American Reservation System Essay

1272 Words6 Pages
The Native American Reservation system was a complete failure. This paper focuses on the topics of relocation, Native American boarding schools, current conditions on today’s reservations, and what effects these have had on the Native American way of life.
The first failure in the Native American reservation system was in relocation. Native Americans were forced to move to locations that were very different from their traditional homelands. Many times, these reservations were hundreds, if not thousands of miles away which resulted in the deaths of many Native Americans in transit. A tragic example of this was the forced removal of more than 15,000 Cherokee from their homelands in the southeastern United States to a reservation in Oklahoma.
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The political, economic, and welfare systems have all but destroyed traditional culture, family dynamics, and work ethics on the majority of reservations. These combined factors have created, in many, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness that eventually lead to drug and alcohol abuse. This in turn leads to few successful role models for the next generation who will have even fewer incentives to break the cycle.
Perhaps the biggest failure in the reservation system affecting current times is in the status of laws and jurisdiction. Communal land ownership and federal trust restrictions on land ownership and use inhibit economic development and many land allotments are owned collectively by groups of individuals. Multiple ownership makes it difficult to manage the lands and it reduces benefits to individuals. It is also nearly impossible to use the land as collateral for obtaining loans because of federal protection from encumbrances on trust
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With the exception of a few tribes who were fortunate enough to retain allotments rich with natural resources, the reservation system did nothing but hurt Native Americans. It not only stripped them of their traditional ways of life but it also separated many people from their families. It has contributed to innumerable cases of disease and death and has stripped many of their identity. Many live in an emotional state of limbo because they are not truly accepted in non-Native society nor are they fully accepted within Native society. This is exactly what the U.S. government has been trying to achieve from the beginning; the continuing disruption of Native American society with an endgame of total
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