Native Americans Thriving Culture
Native Americans Thriving Culture History of the United States Since 1865, HIS 204 Dr. Darrell Rice August 22, 2011 Native Americans Thriving Culture “North America was not an uninhabited land when European settlers first came because there was already an indigenous and thriving culture of people” (Bowles, 2011, The Isolation of the Plains Indians 1850s-1890s, para. 1). Through the many treaties and wars, the Native Americans where forced to live on reservations, first the one big reservation until finally smaller reservations to isolate each tribe from other tribes.
Native Americans learned to live without the great buffalo herds and some to farm the land during their isolation. To overcome this isolation took many years of dedication from the American Indian to reveal their culture to future generations. Although Native Americans survived isolation there was a struggle from 1865 to the present, because many challenges where involved in ending the American Indian’s isolation, along with the major people involved in their struggle. First, Native Americans survived isolation through the different struggles from 1865 to the present.
In 1867, a treaty was being negotiated and the Indians refused to give up any more of their land, the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 removed soldiers from the Powder River country and new boundaries for the Crow Indian Reservation in Yellowstone Valley (Heidenreich, 1985). The removal of the solders was the results of Red Cloud’s War, the only war that the United States ever lost to the Indians (Heidenreich, 1985). Crow’s boundaries included the east and south of the river to the present-day Montana-Wyoming line in the Yellowstone Valley (Heidenreich, 1985).
Yellowstone Valley is an isolated area that the Indian tribes would visit but as whites would deplete surrounding resources the Indians where forced into the Valley. The Crow and Sioux reservations joined in the valley, making the hunting grounds a joint area for the tribes. Miners demanded protection from the U. S. army when gold was discovered in the Black Hills hunting grounds, even though the Indians were in their treaty rights (Bredhoff, 2001). “Custer, leading an army detachment, encountered the encampment of Sioux and Cheyenne at the Little Bighorn River.
Custer’s detachment was annihilated, but the United States would continue its battle against the Sioux in the Black Hills until the government confiscated the land in 1877” (Bredhoff, 2001, para. 3). The Black Hills of Dakota is another treaty of 1868 until the United States seized the land in 1877, to this day; the Sioux and the U. S. Government are in dispute of the land (Bredhoff, 2001). The Sioux Nation was awarded money for their land but refused the award and is an ongoing case (Giago, 2009). Every treaty that was ever made the U. S. government always seemed to break them, forcing the Native Americans into war and smaller reservations.
To this day, Indian Nations are still trying to reclaim their land that was taken from them by the United States government. For the Sioux Nation to reclaim the Black Hills in Yellowstone Valley would bring great victory for every Indian Nation in the United States and closer to ending isolation. As the Crow Indians were forced into selling their land in 1879, to build the Northern Pacific Railroad through the valley and part of the reservation in the gold section of the Yellowstone Valley, Yellowstone history had ended as the Indians resources had been depleted (Heidenreich, 1985).
Pretty Shield summarized the great change: Sickness came, strange sickness that nobody knew about, when there was no meat. …These things would not have happened if we Crows had been living as we were intended to live. But how could we live in the old way when everything was gone? Ahh, my heart fell down when I began to see dead buffalo scattered all over our beautiful country … And then white men began to fence the plains so that we could not travel; and anyhow there was now little good in traveling, nothing to travel for. (Heidenreich, 1985, pp. 7) Before the railroad wanted excess through the Yellowstone Valley, local farmers and Crow Indians would trade their supplies between each other. After the railroad, the Crows struggles during this time period brought heartache for their land and for the resources on the land. Furthermore, ending the American Indian’s isolation brings challenges to the tribes and others that support the Native American. Angie Debo, a historian, published the loss of Native American land and received threats to her life and was denied a University’s teaching position (Edmunds, 1995).
Debo’s investigation found misadministration of the Dawes Act and prominent Oklahomans had participated in this fraud (Edmunds, 1995). When Debo published her findings, Debo was helping the Native Americans in their isolation endings, but caused herself trouble and a teaching career. Historians using actual accounts as Debo published brought knowledge of the Native Americans sociality to the outside world, but also harmed her career in the progress. Other white historian where criticized for their sympathy toward the Indians, even when publication came from the tribes.
Preserving American Indian language could be done with the Native Class Act, to strengthen language and culture, while promoting teacher training on Indian reservations (Patrick, 2011). Indian Language is the central part of understanding the Indian culture (Patrick, 2011). “Teaching young people through their cultures and traditions helps them to learn well, because culture and traditions are the roots of their lives” (Patrick, 2011, para. 13). Encouraging native language to be taught would bring the Native American one step closer to the ending of isolation, as long as teachers are in the position to be trained.
Learning the native language will help the culture become closer and out of isolation. Each historian scholar, Native American or non-native, each has his or her own way of writing for the “Indian voice”. Indians have claimed that “academic” Indian history does not reflect Native American perspective; only what non-Indians think that is important in Indian people lives (Edmunds, 1995). Non-Indian historians seem to write about intertribal warfare, the fur trade, or an epidemic, but the Native Americans remember things that are memorial and would enjoy the historian to write about their memory (Edmunds, 1995).
A non-Native American writing the history of an Indian should listen to the speaker to hear the “Indian Voice”. Native American or non-native historian hearing the “Indian voice” would bring an ending to isolation for the Native Americans. Writing a book for children nine or older, a non-indigenous writer, Swain, capturers the history and life of the Dakota chief Taoyateduta’s biography, without forgetting some major events (Wilson, 2005).
Swain includes a quote in her book by Governor Alexander Ramsey who states, “The Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the state”, this quote is often ignored in other books, but to mention the U. S. Dakota War of 1862 is only referred to as “the war” (Wilson, 2005). Native Americans believe that if a non-Indian is to make money on the Native Americans history, then a portion of the profit should go back to the Native Americans communities. If the writer has concerns about the profits, then donate the profits to different organizations.
These donations would help out in many areas that the American Indian would profit from. The American Indian Movement (AIM) was founded in 1968, the origination was founded by Indians to protect equal rights and improve living condition for the American Indians (Wiese, 2011). Many AIM leaders were brought to trial by the U. S. government in the mid 1970’s for their activities within the origination (Wiese, 2011). The AIM carried out several protests, one against the Bureau of Indian Affairs for several days, and they seized the village of Wounded Knee, South Dakota (Wiese, 2011).
After the trials the AIM spilt into two groups and are still very active in their originations for helping the American Indians. The U. S. government tried to break up the origination by targeting their leaders, but it only made the AIM stronger. Finally, Native Americans struggle for freedom involving some help from certain people in their quest. During the 1970’s through 1990’s, Indian tribes controlled their own schools, law enforcement and courts when Congress passed the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 (ISDEAA) (Fixico, 2011).
Before the 1970’s, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) controlled the reservation tribes and their property by leasing the tribe’s minerals, water, and other rights to non-Indians (Fixico, 2011). Tribes demanded their rights and finely received them, taking away the government rights and putting them into the Indians own hands. When these rights were finally given to the Indian tribes, puts the Native American one step closer to ending isolation.
In 1980, Harry Blackmun a Supreme Court Justice wrote about the Black Hills case, “A more ripe and rank case of dishonest dealings may never be found in our history” (Giago, 2009, April 27, para. 1). It took over 60 years for the case to arrive on Harry Blackmun’s desk and when it did Blackmun was appalled at the United States theft and stated his disapproval in his brief. After Blackmun’s brief was written, Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ) introduced a Bill, but the lack of support from Sioux tribes caused Bradley to withdraw the Bill (Giago, 2009).
The Sioux tribes need to stick together for their supporters to stand behind the Sioux Nation, so everyone can work together. The Sioux Nation has many people on their side with the Black Hills decision and the elders are hoping for President Obama’s support. Many Sioux elders believe that now is the time to introduce new legislation for President Obama promised to listen to discussions on the Black Hills topic (Giago, 2009). Finding a powerful spokesperson to discuss and receive an approval for negotiating points from the President before introducing a bill into Congress (Giago, 2009).
These struggles of the Sioux tribes becoming one with supporters behind them could bring the bill in Congress into reality. Without the Sioux Nation becoming as one and without the tribe’s supporters the Native American Sioux would have to take what the United States government granted them. As stated by Woster (2009), “Sympathetic signs from President Barack Obama have inspired hope among Sioux spiritual and government leaders that some federal land in the Black Hills might one day be returned to Native American control” (para. 1).
The Sioux tribes in four states have picked up the pace on their meeting to find out what the tribes want and to find out how they want this handled, before going to Obama’s administration. It is crucial that the Sioux tribes find a land settlement option that that President Obama would consider. Obama is interested in the Black Hills legal and political history, what is possible, and the Sioux tribes repetition of the issues. When the Sioux tribes meet with President Obama and give their request for the land proposal and Obama accepts the request the Sioux tribes will have a victory in their favor for the next hurdle in Congress.
Now the struggles come from maintaining their culture in the memories and stories and traditions passed down from one generation to another generation, and many Pow Wow’s are preserving these cultures today (Bowles, 2011). These gatherings of the Native American are for intertribal conferences, feasts, councils, and to share with outsiders (Bowles, 2011). During a Pow Wow the Native American dress in traditional clothing, selling of crafts, and dance to the drum circle. The Pow Wow is a way to show the non-natives that this culture will not be forgotten (Bowles, 2011).
As a result, many struggles have accrued through out the Native Americans history and to this day the struggles still persist, ending the Native Americans isolation can further expand into Indian tribe choices with the help of some U. S. officials. Treaty being signed and then broken, Indians having full range of the west until they were put on one big reservation, then compounded into smaller reservations to separate the tribes, all done by the U. S. government. Certain historians trying to make a difference for the Native Americans, while their lives and careers are at stake.
Questioning where the profit belongs, non-Indians writing about history and lives of the Native Americans making a profit. Pow Wows, showing that Native American culture is still alive. With the Native American proceeding government officials help and tribe members banding together for their rights, tribal isolation will be a thing of the past. References Bowles, M. (2011). A history of the United States since 1865. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education Bredhoff, S. (2001). Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868). Seattle: The University of Washington Press. 56-57.
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