Native Americans’ Policies Implemented to End Conflicts with White Settlers
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, about 250,000 Native Americans lived in the United States. However, new occupants came and colonized them, occupied their land, and forced them to move westwards. After that, the new settlers came up with policies seeking to assimilate the Native Americans into their mainstream culture. The guidelines set were to prevent the Native Americans cultural practices from being inherited by the next generations. Consequently, the children were compelled to attend new American schools where they adopted the new American mainstream culture (Brym and Lie 186). The religious leaders also felt that there was a need to assimilate the natives into the new religious culture. Therefore, it is imperative to discuss the Native Americans’ policies that were implemented to end the conflicts after the white settlers migrated to the West.
The American schools took in the kids and attempted to make them forget the memories of their previous Native life. In school, they received the American education and were required to wear “American clothes.” However, there was opposition towards their assimilation since there were people who claimed that the Native American were unique, thus a need to protect them (Brym and Lie 187). Therefore, it was the responsibility of the federal government to care and defend the Natives.
Americans began advancing towards the West during the Revolutionary War. People from the East and the South moved to the west since there was a promise of cheap and abundant lands compared to the East, where land was shrinking and was overpriced. The Southerners left their land as it was becoming less fertile due to poor management, which led to poor agricultural yields. Another reason why people were moving towards the west was to escape the high population that was rapidly growing since they needed more space, which was available in the West. However, the Native Americans occupied the Western side, and resisted the new settlements (Tucker, Arnold, and Wiener 460). Under those premises, there arose conflicts since the native felt that the Americans would take away their lands. In fact, after the struggle between the two groups, the Natives were defeated, colonized, and assimilated into the new American culture.
The Dawes Severalty Act specified that the American Natives give up their tribal lands and have individual ownership of divided pieces of acreage. The arrangement intended to integrate the Native Americans into a homestead settlement. However, the main idea was to open the lands to the migrating white settlers. Therefore, this meant the policies were tragic to the Indian-Americans since they would lose their land to the white settlers. According to the federal government, the Act was supposed to end the conflict between the two groups and amicably divide the lands (Olson and Raymond 67). However, the act failed since the settlers wanted to acquire more, and it was hard for them as they treated the natives as separate citizens, a situation that was making it difficult for them to acquire the lands, thus leading to conflicts. The US government would have negotiated land deals with the original owners instead of imposing policies that led to conflicts. Additionally, the government should have acted as the mediator between the two societies, ensuring a smooth coexistence between the two groups.
As indicated in the discussion above, the Indian-Americans initially owned the United States of America. In fact, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, new settlers from Europe invaded the land and settled on the Eastern side. However, due to population pressure and the need for expansion, the white settlers moved towards the West, where the lands were large and communally owned. Upon migrating, there were conflicts between the native and the new settlers that led to the signing of treaties and implementation of policies to end the conflicts between the two groups. However, it was not easy, as the natives were unwilling to give up their lands. Therefore, the Americans started assimilating them gradually to their culture, where in the process; they were able to acquire the lands they needed.
Brym, Robert J, and John Lie. Sociology: Pop Culture to Social Structure. Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2013.
Olson, James S, and Raymond Wilson. Native Americans in the Twentieth Century. Brigham Young Univ. Press, 1983.
Tucker, Spencer, James R. Arnold, and Roberta Wiener. The Encyclopedia of North American Indian Wars, 1607-1890: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO, 2011.