Essay about Native American Culture : Native America

Essay about Native American Culture : Native America

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Changes occurred throughout Native America as the result of an influx of a new people and culture into the land. The Europeans brought their ideas of property, legal systems, and social responsibilities into this world which disseminated into the culture of Native America. Throughout the years, Native America has changed. The current lifeways no longer resemble those before contact as the integration, both direct and indirect, of European cultures and ideals resulted in an altered lifestyle. Some of these changes are small. For example, most dancers now use metal cans instead of turtle shells for shakers on their legs during traditional dances. However, other changes are much larger as they reflect the years of hardships and oppression the people of Native America have dealt with since the introduction of the Europeans. Even with the multitude of changes, Native America has been able to keep traditions, languages, and their overall identity alive and a part of their lifeways.
The pre-contact lifeways of Native America varied greatly as there were several different tribes and language groups. They ranged from the Coastal to the Great Plains to the Pueblo People. These people differed in their languages, social hierarchies, and religion. When the different groups of Europeans came, they were affected in both similar and different ways. The most noticeable similarity was the devastation of native people by disease. On both the east coast and the pueblos, English and Spanish explorers brought with them diseases that the people of Native America had no immunity for. The diseases spread rapidly and killed thousands of native people. Their deaths, although not intentional, allowed for the further expansion into Native America as the coa...


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...f debt and the loss of land. In the late 1960s, the American Indian Movement (AIM) sought to end the discrimination of native people and gain economic independence. Previous to AIM, Europeans and later the United States Government, Indian policies focused on the end of tribal cultures through the complete assimilation of native people into white culture and earlier genocidal practices. The United States, Britain, and France were accused of infecting blankets with small pox or other diseases and then giving it to the native populations in an attempt to exterminate them. In the 1930s, the United States government initiated a policy known as termination. Its purpose was to eradicate Native America’s financial dependence on the government and obtain their lands. They did this through missionary schools for native children and legislation which terminated several tribes.

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