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Indians and Indian Policy - Essay Example

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Indians & Indian Policy
American Indians have a long history that dates back to pre-colonial America. These Indians lived freely and owned land in America up until the white race came to America…
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"Indians and Indian Policy"

Several authors have documented the treatment and relations between the Indian people and their government. This essay will explore and review three works on the Indians and policies applied to them. Overview One of the policies that were used against the Indian was the Indian termination policy which greatly changed the lives of Indians living in the United States of America. The US government in 1943, decided to assimilate all Indians into normal Americans. According to Philip, in his book on the termination policy, he talks of the effect of the policy on native Indians. This is because the living condition of Indian tribes in reserves was worse and the government had to find a way to change the lives of Indians into normal lives. The termination policy took long to enforce and eventually it gave way to recognition of indigenous Indians as Americans1. One of the people involved in change of policy was the then American President, Harry Truman who wanted Indians to be recognized as Americans. However, this was not the only policy that affected the Indian Americans in the United States since other polices were effected on American Indians. Cynthia Cumfer in her book explains the experiences that the Cherokee and the Tennesseans underwent in the USA. For instance, the refusal by Indians to be civilized led to the white administration colonizing their lands for different uses. During the presidency of Andrew Jackson, the government wanted to engage the Indians in a manner that could ensure equal rights were awarded to Indians. According to Jackson, Indians were naturally liberal and that they could not be considered as primitive and uncivilized. This is because he thought that if Indians could be taught on civilization then they would enjoy equal rights and privileges as the white Americans2. As a result, the government saw the need for integration of the Indians into main stream American societies. This policy ensured that economic equality and education handed to the Indians at the expense of Indian traditions and culture3. Another text that offers information on the Indian policy ands way of life is by Claudio Katz who elucidates on Thomas Jefferson’s presidency and anti-capitalism. Jefferson taught of giving Indians equal opportunity However, he also was of the idea of giving white Americans land inhabited by the Indians since this would lead to economic growth. His ideas lead to the policy of exclusion of Indians from different economic activities and this alienate the Indians further4. This is because the Indian land was given to white famers while Indians were integrated into white civilization at the expense of their culture. Different texts/books on American Indians paint a picture of improper application of governmental policies on Indian. Successive US administrations had an idea of civilizing the Indians and they went about using different strategies. However, from the text we witness that their efforts led to the discrimination of Indians and furthermore it eroded the culture of the American Indians5. For instance, the termination policy gave Indians the opportunity to be educated and have equal opportunities as white people. However, due to the slow and improper implementation of the policy, Indians were further marginalized and their lands taken away. These texts are accurate since they give a detailed view of the policies applied on the Indians and th Read More
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