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The Establishment of Indian Reservations in the U.S - Term Paper Example

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Indian Reservations in the US Your Last Name Instructor Name Date “Indian Reservations in the United States: a look into the history and Lifestyle” The history and cultural background of the Native Americans and the varying political attitudes towards them during the course of the development of the United States as the modern economy it is today form an important part of the overall studies of American History…
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The Establishment of Indian Reservations in the U.S
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Download file to see previous pages The official start of the segregation of the native Indians began with the Indian Removal of 1830 which forced the migration of many of the tribes living east of the Mississippi river to the west side of the river1. In doing so the US government gained control of the best farming lands needed for the expansion of the European population and started off a trend of isolating the tribes and impinging on their basic rights in their own homeland which would lead on to have negative percussions for those people and tribes for the centuries to come. The treaties and forceful migration of the tribes was propagated as a means to provide them with their sovereignty and right to their lifestyle within the specified reservations. Even if one ignores the fact that many of the tribes did not regard these measures as anything of benefit for themselves and that military confrontations were often involved in ensuring their compliance with the legislations, there is still the question of the quality of the land that was allotted to them and the lifestyle options available to them in the reservations. Lands kept for Indian use were commonly considered as the least desirable by whites and were almost always located far from major population centers, trails, and transportation routes- all necessary elements for economic growth and communication with the mainland cities. The result was that the Indians were unable to find sufficient means to find sustainable livelihoods and find the resources to use towards social development for their communities. The appalling social conditions of the reservations were widely acknowledged by the end of 19th century but government initiatives of ‘forced assimilation’ (1887) and then nearly a century later the Termination legislation (1953)2 failed to bring about any major impact in the opportunities available to the Indians or the reservations as a whole. The Termination legislation put forward idea of disbanding the communities as independent political entities but that proved to be unpopular and was abandoned. Even though the Termination legislation was put into practice along with a wide scale relocation and employment program to provide financial and social assistance to the Indian youth who would be losing the close knit community atmosphere of the reservations, the low participation rate provided the government with one key insight to the lives of the natives. Despite the rampant social problems including unemployment, high crime rates, poor housing, lack of adequate child support and crime- the reservations are still thought of as a common cultural base for the Indians. The tight knit families and extended families live in close proximity and the cultural heritage is passed through one generation to the other. Languages, customs and traditions are protected in the circle of community; this wouldn’t be possible if the individual members were scattered as they are in urban settings3. Reservations have now become a part of the Indian identity and one they are not willing to part with easily- in some cases there isolation from the mainstream population actually makes them unfit for a life outside of the reservations and any opportunities ava ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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