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Native Americans and Native American Policy in American History

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Michaela Roskopf

on 30 April 2015

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Transcript of Native Americans and Native American Policy in American History

Civilization Before European Contact
The Spanish
First to arrive at the "new world"
Explorers wanted gold, military base, and to spread Christianity
Brought disease, which was terrible
Most successful in the American Southwest
Bartolome de las Casas: recognized that some of the Spanish Treatment with Indians was terrible and spoke for Indian rights
The English (pre-17th Century)
Up to Revolutionary War
Native Americans and Native American Policy in American History
Before the Europeans, there were about 2-10 million.
After new diseases were introduced, about 8 in 10 died of disease
exchanged knowledge about growing food for guns
mutually beneficial for a while
Upset Indian society
men spent more time hunting than with agriculture
new European ideas about land use
tribes began to fight over best hunting grounds
Overall relatively peaceful
John Smith was captured and rescued by Pocahontas (Powhatan's daughter) but this was probably a ritual
John Smith left to go back to England--> relations worse
stole crops
killed them
Chief Opechancanough led a rebellion that ultimately failed, but did kill the Virginia Company
Indians ultimately forced to sign a treaty that made them stay in the West
No "classical civilizations"
No metal, guns, wheels, written language, or domesticated animals
Did have farming, complex social/political structures, trade networks
Population: 2-10 million. After new diseases were introduced, about 8 in 10 died of disease.
Ways of Life:
Lived in Tribes
Used natural resources based on location
Organized into confederacies/leagues
based on lifestyle
single creator God who is above all other deities
Land is a common resource that is shared, not owned
Class Distinctions
rulers were from same families
often matrilineal
a grant by the Spanish Crown to a colonist in America conferring the right to demand tribute and forced labor from the Indian inhabitants of an area.
Some Puritans tried to treat the Indians fairly, but similar to the Chesapeake
Puritan Views:
saw them as heathens in need of salvation
tried to stop people from joining Indian tribes
No overarching Indian leader
Pequot War
some Pequots killed an English trader, attacked a village and burned it
not really a war
opened up the Connecticut river to settlement
extremely brutal, shocked even the Puritans
King Philip's War
led by Metacom
marked by brutality on both sides
2 years
1,000 of 52,000 Europeans and 3,000 of 20,000 Indians died
Battle of the Great Swamp was a massacre of the Indians
Middle Grounds
French interaction with Indian population adapted to Indian cultural expectations: they treated chiefs with respect & fostered peaceful relationship
English colonists eventually learned to do so as well, after it had been proven that Indians stood on comparable military ground
French and Indian War
A series of wars between Great Britain & France in a North American theatre between 1689 and 1763: King William’s War, Queen Anne’s, King George’s War, and the French and Indian War.
Iroquois Nation
Confederacy of multiple tribes, controlled Northern land between the Mississippi River & Appalachians
Involved in the latter three conflicts, associated with GB
Many other allied tribes were involved, on both sides, and suffered many casualties
Royal Proclamation of 1763
English decree that forbade Colonists from expanding past Appalachians
Often ignored & resented by colonists
Pontiac's War
Named for Ottawa leader Pontiac who had an important role in starting the war
Effort of various Indian as a response to British occupation of the Great Lakes region & the failure of the 1763 Proclamation
Indians besieged and destroyed various forts in the area
Showed Indian military prowess- the war ended as a sort of a stalemate, although Indians suffered more casualties

American Revolutionary War
Indians primarily sided with British - about 13,000
Indian communities, especially the Iroquois Nation, were divided with the conflict
Post-Revolutionary Policy
'A Conquered People'
Popular belief was that Indians were conquered, diplomacy was on settlers’ terms.
Washington & Knox attempted to make treaties with Creeks and allied tribes & prevent settlers from passing into Indian land. However, that failed, and settlers in large part ignored the treaties and conquered the land.
Washington had the intent to ally and maintain an economic relationship with Indians, eventually exposing them to Western culture and do imperialism

Louisiana Purchase
Jefferson purchased land from Napoleon, which was in large part Indian land
Continued imperialist policy: Jefferson imposed an autocratic rule on the purchased land, and sec. of state Madison claimed “it may be fairly expected that every blessing of liberty will be extended to them as fast as they shall be prepared and disposed to receive it.”
War of 1812/Tecumseh's War
Indiana territory had been sold in the Treaty of Fort Wayne in 1809
Tecumseh opposed it on the grounds that it was land owned in tandem by all tribes that made up its occupants, and yet not all were involved on the treaty and thus declared war
The war was a heavy loss for Tecumseh and his associates; they would continue to attempt war and fail for several years after
Indian Removal Act of 1830 & Trail of Tears
The Indian Removal Act was passed by Congress under Jackson’s presidency & enforced the relocation of all Indians in the Southeast to the land west of the Mississippi, termed “Indian country” by the government, out of desire for Florida land.
The passage was termed the “Trail of Tears,” and it encountered little resistance other than a war from the Seminoles; people viewed this war as Seminole aggression.
Indian Intercourse Act, 1834: required people to have a license to move into Indian Country
Westward Expansion
Gold rush- settlers would move to California & disrupt native populations, esp. with disease
White settlers moved into the territories and requested government protection; in 1851, the gov’t began to enforce concentration, assigning definite boundaries for each tribe
This was problematic, as Indians needed to move to hunt buffalo & were generally not proficient farmers, and Indian resistance to containment provoked more hostility
Post-Civil War: Assimilation
1867: Congress creates a “Peace Commission,” providing small reservations for Indians with intent to bring them to their idea of civility & teach the to farm
Congress sought policy to end tribal life in the 1870s
1871 saw the end of treaties with Indians as foreign policy
‘Indian schools’ opened, with the intention of teaching white culture and weakening tribal culture; these schools were supported by the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Dawes Severalty Act of 1887: land was distributed among families and citizenship was granted to those who “adopted the habits of civilized life”
Intentional extermination of buffalo to damage Indian culture & sustainability
Indian Relocation Act of 1934
Reform that supported self-rule and autonomy instead of assimilation
Indians still distrusted the government & the land provided was still partially barren
Indians remained among the most impoverished groups in America
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