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post 1 Terrence

What did it mean to native populations if they refused Americanization?

Americanization was an assimilation effort by the US government to transform Native American culture into European-American culture. The policies were design for the Native’s to adopt European-American customs and values, and to merge them with their own tribal traditions and customs. Some Indians viewed this as the beginning of their existence as citizens under control of the U.S. government. Other Natives refused this “Americanization” because they viewed these policies as the end of their traditional tribal identity as they know it, them giving up their tribal self-government and institutions, where tribal governments would have limited power to establish their own laws.

The Native population that refuse to adhered to the Americanization policy, land on the western portions of the Indian Territory were confiscated by the US government and they were resettle to Indian reservation. Congress passed “The Dawes Act”, designed to split up the tribes which in sense destroyed land that was the spiritual and cultural center of their lives. The Natives cultures sometimes struggling to understand these new changes that at times dominate each other, resulting in conflicts, misunderstandings and even violence. Dividing up the reservations into smaller parcels of land also led to significantly less Indian-owned land. This “Act” was disastrous for the Indians; them living under policies that outlawed their traditional way of life, while failing to meet and provide the necessary resources to support their businesses and families. Even hunting and fishing rights of the natives were sanctioned. Furthermore, the Natives were cheated out of their allotments or were forced to sell their land in order pay bills and feed their families, unable to be self-supporting farmers/ranchers.

On top of this disastrous “Act”, laws were passed to forced Native Americans to abandon their traditional way of life. Outlawed was religious ceremonies, traditional appearance, even a requirement for Indian men to cut their long hair “kill the Indian and save the man.” Schools were established that forced attendance and for the Indian students to speak only English, wear proper American clothing and to replace their Indian names with more “American” ones. Courts were also established on 2/3 of Indian reservation to enforce federal regulations that prohibited traditional cultural, religious practices and ceremonies.



Melanie Mason posted Aug 6, 2020 9:14 PM

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Did Helen Hunt Jackson’s book “A Century of Dishonor” result in any changes for Native Americans?

“A Century of Dishonor” was written to ring the treatment of the Indians to light. it speaks about how horrible they had been treated for years and years. not only by the people, but the presidents a well. led to the Indian Rights Association. when Herbert Welsh and several other colleagues read this, they went to whiteness it themselves. they traveled down to the Great Sioux reservation to see the Indians living conditions. what he found was ‘dumbfounding” to them. as it would be to anyone! there was no educational opportunities, health was declining, and there was nothing to build an economic base. after they returned, they founded the “Indian Rights Association” with 30 members.

Sources: “First Americans A History of Native Peoples”

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