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Ethnic Group Evaluation - Essay Example

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Ethnic Group Evaluation of Native Americans Name of of University Ethnic Group Evaluation of Native Americans Native Americans have a history that goes back in this country before colonization. Native Americans were the first ones to live on the lands of North America and were the first to manage the lands, animals, and foods of these lands…
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Download file to see previous pages The plight of Native Americans is very sad and their fate was mostly due to a clash between cultures: Native Americans believed that land was not owned by anyone, and the whites believe that land was to be owned and possessed (Zack, 2012). This attitude also meant that Native Americans must be moved out of and conquered in order to “take” the land and expand their possessions (Zack, 2012). Immigration and Assimilation As stated previously, Native Americans are not immigrants to this country as they existed before colonization; they are more considered a conquered people (Zack, 2012). They are a conquered people because they lost many things at the hands of the people who invaded their world. Native Americans were forced off their lands, their children were sent to boarding schools to be civilized, and eventually Native Americans were placed on reservations and treated as second class citizens (Zack, 2012). In a sense, there was no assimilation because they were treated as though there was something wrong with them. Part of the challenge for Native Americans was that the federal government became involved with their plight. Boxer (2009) states that at the beginning of the 21st century, Native Americans made up about three percent of the total population in the United States, and most lived on reservations. Native Americans were forced off of their lands and moved to the West as the white man continued to take over the lands. There were also a series of treaties that were not honored by the whites and Native Americans lost the war – all of these issues meant that Native Americans would lose their lands. In 1831, the federal government became involved and John Marshall, then the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court stated that Native American tribes were “domestic dependent nations whose relation to the United States resembles that of a ward to his guardian” (Boxer, 2009, p. 7). The challenge for Native Americans was that this statement was interpreted in many different ways, and it created a situation where they were treated as children. Native Americans had to dress like whites, had to convert to Catholicism, had to learn to speak English, and had to assimilate into white American society as much as possible; in other words, they did not have a choice (Boxer, 2009). There were many governmental Acts that would take away reservation land and give it to the whites, although Native Americans were supposed to be protected (Boxer, 2009). Stereotypes and Myths French (2008) adds that Native Americans were treated as children because of the stereotypes that were around them. They were seen as child-like, their rituals were prohibited, and television created more stereotypes of Native Americans. One strong stereotype that has created a myth of what they are like is the drunken Indian that was created by movies (French, 2008). This myth has been widely seen on television in western shows that were created in the 1960s and it has not changed because people have a difficult time seeing past what the television creates as truth (French, 2008). Although fermented corn or peyote were used in rituals, when the rituals were prohibited, some Native Americans did turn to alcohol abuse; this could be another reason why the stereotype still exists. The myth is wrapped in stereotype behavior and as people have seen some Native Americans who seem to consume too much alcohol, the myth stays ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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