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Culture Clashes Between the Native Americans and the Settler
Transcript of Culture Clashes Between the Native Americans and the Settler
By John Freveletti and Jenna Kollins
Culture clashes with Native Americans have been going on since the 1500's, and continued in the 1600's with the pilgrims. These clashes and conflicts continued onto the 1800's during westward expansion. Although westward expansion was beneficial to the country, it caused extreme and unimaginable devastation to the cultures of Native Americans that continue to be problems today. (JK)
At first Native Americans and white settlers made attempts to get along. The story of the pilgrims, with Squanto and Samoset being so key to their survival, is well documented. But the white settlers relationship with the Indians started to become more strained. This is because of the way the white settlers started settling the land. These Native Americans had been living here for hundreds of years, working with nature and the environment to live in perfect harmony. Then the settlers cultivated the land in such a way that was unsuitable for Indian life. Indians fished in the streams, hunted wild game, and gathered sea food. Settlers cut grass for feeding cattle and horses, and pigs destroyed Indian clam reserves. This destruction was only the beginning. 1 (JF)
After the Jamestown settlers landed in 1607, French and British settlers started laying claim to territory in present-day West Virginia that had been in Indian possession for many years. The tribes were forced west, and many of them were destroyed by constant warfare and and catastrophic disease. Peace was now fragile at best, but trade with Europeans was still very attractive, enabling the Indians to acquire guns, steel hatchets, cloth, and kettles. Indian nations that relocated to the Ohio Valley made a lucrative fur business by trading with both the French and British. But the peace, once again, would not last. 2 (JF)
The British passed four treaties which opened the Western Virginia frontier to European settlement. But both sides had differing views on what land the treaties were supposed to grant. The Indians thought that it was the crest of the Alleghenies, while the British thought it meant all of Western Virginia. One of the main factors in the treaty disputes was the Native American's concept of land. They had no concept what the European individual and legalistic style of land ownership. 3 (JF)
Wars and Conflict
Several wars and conflicts further degraded the Indians relationship between settlers. In 1754, the French and Indian War broke out. Most Indians sided with the French, because they were more focused on trade than the British, who were taking Indian land and wanted to continue settling. After a string of British victories and the fall of Quebec, the war ended in 1763 with the Treaty of Paris. The removal of the French from the territory temporarily calmed tensions between the settlers and the British. But the victory gave the British land rights to all the land east of the Mississippi River. This would spell trouble in the future. (JF)
The Native Americans were on their own against the British, and the tension finally boiled over in the summer of 1763. Ottawa tribe chief Pontiac led raids on British forts and villages, and captured all British forts west of the Alleghenies. The British retaliated, destroying Delaware and Shawnee forces at the Battle of Bushy Run in in Western Pennsylvania. Fearing any more conflict, King George III issued the Proclamation or 1763, which prohibited British settlement west of the Alleghenies.4 The next five years were relatively peaceful on the frontier. In 1768, the Indians and British signed the Treaty of Hard Labour and Fort Stanwix, stating that all territory between the Ohio River and Alleghenies belonged to the British. Once again, settlers poured in. This caused even more strife. (JF)
Revolutionary War and Indian Implications
After the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774, in which the Indians signed treaties that gave land rights south of the Ohio River to the British, the Native Americans were eliminated as a force from the frontier, clearing the way for peaceful settlement. Until the Revolutionary began, that is. Most Indian tribes remained neutral for the first two years of the war, but by 1777 most Indians supported the British and began attacking settlements.5 Throughout the war, Indians on the frontier attacked forts and frontier settlements, causing havoc. (JF)
End of Hostilities on the Frontier..for now.
After the Revolutionary War officially ended in 1783, settlers again poured into Western Virginia and territory that is now Indiana. Indians raided villages founded by frontier settlers in an final attempt to drive them out, and General Anthony Wayne was sent in to end the hostilities. He defeated the Native Americans at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 in present-day Ohio.6 The Treaty of Greenville effectively ended Indian hostilities and removed all Indian claims to western Virginia. (JF)
Battle of Fallen Timbers
Attempts at Peace
Not all of the white colonists and settlers acted so harshly, however. Several key figures in American history made honest and significant attempts at preserving Indian lands and culture. This was one of the most pressing matters facing George Washington during his time as President. White farmers and settlers were so eager to settle on the rich farmlands of the Chickasaws, Cherokees, and Creeks that they often did so illegally. In order to try to keep peace, Washington met with Seneca chief Red Jacket and gave him a silver medal as a token of respect. Thomas Jefferson wanted to integrate the natives into white society by teaching them how to farm in the European fashion and how to make goods they could sell. Sadly, most whites and Native Americans had no interest in these plans, and by the year 1800 over 100 million acres of Indian land had been seized. 7 (JF)
Chief Red Jacket
Conflicts From the 1800's and Beyond
Although the Indians tried to get along with the settlers as best they could, there were still multiple conflicts that often resulted in physical violence and bloodshed. This was caused for a number of reasons, a big one being the language barrier between the Indians and the white settlers, as the Indians were often being tricked into signing a treaty that took away their land. (JK)
The War of 1812
After the War of 1812, the US government created 200+ treaties that involved Indians giving up their land. The Shawnee leader, Tecumseh, fought for Indians to keep the land that was rightfully theirs. By 1811, over two dozen Indian nations were following Tecumseh. However, if they wanted any chance of winning, they had to form an alliance with Great Britain to give them weapons and protection. The Indians fought alongside the British in the war, but heir efforts were in vain as they ended up losing. 4 This was also an extremely big blow to the Indians, because now that their alliance with Britain was over, they had little means of protecting themselves. (JK)
Westward expansion caused extreme conflict for the Indians and white settlers. The settlers went out west seeking good farming, and better opportunities for their families. Instead they got a lot of hardships, but this did not stop them from taking land away from the Indians. (JK)
The Homestead Act
The Homestead Act of 1862 had the best of intention of trying to expand the new country. It promised 160 acres of land to any settler who would farm and take care of it for 5 years. 5 This sparked settlers interest because not only was it a huge plot of land, it was free as long as they took good care of it. However, they soon ran into trouble when they realized they were not the only ones who wanted this land for farming. Indians that had lived there much longer than the settlers had also wanted to call this place home. (JK)
The Dawes Act was approved on February 8th, 1887. This document was meant to give the Indians their land back their land that had been taken away from them during westward expansion. This act gave each individual Native American a plot of land, which some argued was not a good idea. Sincere individuals reasoned that if a person adopted white clothing and ways, and was responsible for his own farm, he would gradually drop his Indian-ness and be assimilated into the population. It would then no longer be necessary for the government to oversee Indian welfare in the paternalistic way it had been obligated to do, or provide meager annuities that seemed to keep the Indian in a subservient and poverty-stricken position. 6 Although this act was created with the best of intentions, it did little to stop the white settlers from moving in on Indian land and destroyed what little they had left of their culture. (JK)
Where Are All the Buffalo?
In the Great Plains, numerous Indian tribes relied on buffalo for lots of things. They used their hides for clothing, meat for food, and bones and horns for jewelry. However, the buffalo started to die out for a number of reasons in about 1850. These reasons included a significant climate change, competition for food with horses, cattle, etc., and cattle borne disease. In fact, the number of buffalo went from 30 million in 1750, to 10 million in 1850, to a few hundred in 1900. 7 (JK)
1. John Alexander Williams, West Virginia: A History for Beginners (Charleston, WV: Appalachian Editions, 1993), 64.
2.“The Clash of Two Cultures: Native Americans and White People”, last modified November 27th,2007http://news.softpedia.com/news/The-Clash-of-Two-Cultures-Native-Americans-and-White-People-72097.shtml
3.”Clashes Between the Native Americans and White People” , last modified February 4th, 2012http://www.education.com/study-help/article/us-history-settlement-colonization-native-americans-europeans/
4. ICTMN Staff, The War of 1812 Could Have Been the War of Indian Independence, (web, June 18, 2010) accessed 9/22/13 http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/article/the-war-of-1812-could-have-been-the-war-of-indian-independence-118851
5. George Brown Tindall and David Emory Shi, America: A Narrative History (New York: Norton, 2010) 779
6. Dawes Act http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=50
7. George Brown Tindall and David Emory Shi, America: A Narrative History (New York: Norton, 2010) 774 & 775
Today, Native Americans continue to suffer from racial stereotyping. They are often called drunks, or no good. Their reservations are also in extremely poor shape. The teen pregnancy rates along with the droupout rates are high. This is a result of being forced on reservations by the government. (JK)