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How the West was won - Essay Example

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How the West was Won There are many false beliefs in American history (Bailey 5). Perhaps, one of them is that the Indians were the anti-hero and the cowboys fighting the Indians were the heroes. These are evident in at least some of John Wayne’s cowboy films and in many stories in which the cavalry saved a day from the Indians…
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How the West was won

Download file to see previous pages... Bradford asserted the contrary: the American Indians were “a group subjected to genocide in the process of creation and expansion of the United States” (515). Further, the “American Indian genocide assumed varied forms: aggressive war, murder, land theft, ethnocide, and forced sterilization” (Bradford 518). Before Columbus, Indians in the United States were about “five million to ninety-four million, yet by 1880 disease, slaughter, slavery, and aggressive wars had reduced their number to three hundred thousand---and declining” (Bradford 519, citing the work of Sterba). Bradford pointed out that “in the aftermath of the Civil War, the might of the U.S. Army was directed toward Indian eradication, and one by one the tribes were pursued, cornered and murdered” (Bradford 519). The United States “acquired most Indian land prior to 1865 by fraudulent treaty negotiations and by legal perversions in its own courts” (Bradford 520). The United States “employed murder and threats to acquire one-fourth of the land within its modern contiguous boundaries for distribution to non-Indian settlers” (Bradford 520). ...
In homesteading, government provides “an incentive to rush” into one area (Allen 5). Through homesteading, “the sudden arrival of tens of thousands of people into a given territory destroyed much of the Indian way of life and forced the Indian tribes to accept reservation life or to join the union” (Allen 5). Based on the work of L. H. Legters, in addition to direct genocide, there has been “cultural genocide” which “cover actions that are threatening to the integrity and continuing viability of peoples and social groups” (Yellow Horse Brave Heart & DeBruyn 61-62). Quoting the work of Legters, Yellow Horse Brave Heart and DeBruyn emphasized that the West was won from the Native Americans or American Indians through cultural and real genocide that sought to erase a people’s identity and outright murder of native populations (62). Citing the work of several authors, Yellow Horse Brave Heart and DeBruyn pointed out that “when lands were found to be valuable to the government and Whites, more often than not, ways were found to take them and resettle Natives elsewhere” (63). Yellow Horse Brave Heart and DeBruyn revealed that “established in 1824, the Office of Indian Affairs, later the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), was part of the War Department and responsible for regulating tribes” (63). Further, “the BIA assumed the function of providing education for American Indians under its ‘Civilization Division’” (Yellow Horse Brave Heart and DeBruyn 63). According to Yellow Horse Brave Heart and DeBruyn, federally-operated boarding schools and forced assimilations were considered solutions to the “Indian problem” (63). Yellow Horse Brave Heart and DeBruyn stressed that “mission schools established as early as the late 1700s ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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