Native American Life On The Reservation Essay

Native American Life On The Reservation Essay

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The precursor of Native American life on the “reservation” began during the 19th century as “white” Americans continued their move westward from the eastern United States. As whites began their westward expansion they came in direct conflict with the Native Americans who were already settled in these areas. A reservation was an area of land designated by the U.S. government where different tribes of Native Americans were to live and be “confined” unless they got “permission” to leave. Life before the living on the reservation included the freedom to travel, to gather and hunt, and even to wander but that was radically altered when they were forced to move. Native Americans lost those “freedoms” and life for them became a struggle. The U.S. government believed that “National Expansion mandated that Indians and buffalo herds be replaced by farmers and cattle herds and was determined to confine them to reservations where they would be segregated, supervised, and educated in “civilized” ways, (Calloway, 9). The move to these reservations were a period of unfortunate hardship for Native Americans and most of them must have wanted to forget those unpleasant times and focus on better memories. What this meant for Native Americans was that life on the reservation was not a story for them because it was a life underserving of being narrated; it was a new life of suffering, misery, loss of identity, and assimilation.
One form of conflict between Native Americans and whites was the contrasting belief of traditional family and societal roles. Indigenous men’s’ roles in their society was based on warrior and militaristic values. Their achievements came from heroic deeds in conquering their enemies, such that old warriors who were asked for t...


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...r way of life and the move to reservations compounded these issues even more. The government took advantage and used Native peoples as they deemed fit to shape their agenda of Westward Expansion. What was considered being worthy of written documentation during these times by Native Americans was not the struggle and despair of life living on the reservation but more of days gone by. During times of unfortunate circumstances, most people are reluctant to express or talk about their experiences but instead would prefer to forget about it. Most Native Americans at the time felt this way and that their lives on reservations were not to be discussed and not worthy of being written about because this new life was miserable. It was a new life of suffering, sadness, loss of identity, and assimilation. A new life that was not a “story” to them and not worth of being narrated.

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