Public Policies Towards Native Americans Native American Policy is the set of laws and procedures developed and adapted in the United States to define the relationships between Native Americans and the federal government. Over the course of two hundred years, this policy has undergone many changes. At times, the federal government has recognized indigenous peoples as independent political communities with separate cultural identities. In the majority of cases, however, it has tried to force them to abandon their cultural identity, to give up their lands, and to assimilate into the American mainstream. Which policies have resulted to be the most effective in managing the so-called Indian problem? When the United States first became an independent nation, it adopted the European policies towards these native peoples, but later those policies were changed according to changing perspectives and necessities of Native American supervision. Until the 1850 the relationships with Native Americans were controlles by peaceful treaties.
The government often broke their promises by allowing thousands of non-Indians to flood into Indian areas. As the number of newcomers moving west increased, the government established a policy of restricting Native Americans to reservations, small areas of land reserved exclusively for their use, in order to provide more land for the non-Indian settlers. In a series of new treaties the U.S. government forced Native Americans to abandon their land and move to reservations in exchange for protection from attacks by white settlers. The U.S. governments policies towards Native Americans in the second half of the nineteenth century were influenced by the desire to expand westward into territories occupied by Indian tribes, reducing the potential for conflict by keeping Indians in reservations.
... the Termination Act of 1953 “which was considered a controversial government policy towards Native Americans” (156). This act cancelled federal services such as medical ... Bureau of Indian Affairs ended up leasing the land to White landowners (Schaefer 153). During this time, it was believed that Native Americans should ...
These policies had many problems. Many of the native peoples did not completely understand the conditions of the documents they signed; moreover, the treaties did not consider the cultural practices of the Native Americans. The U.S. government rarely completed their side of the agreements even when the Native Americans made no resistance to moving to their reservations. As settlers demanded more land in the West, the federal government continually reduced the reservations sizes. Angered by the governments dishonest and unfair policies, several Native American groups, including groups of Cheyennes, Arapahos, Comanches and Sioux, fought back.
After the Civil War Native American policy changed radically. The government decided that the assimilation would be the most effective solution to the Indian problem. The Native Americans were urged to move out of their traditional dwellings, move into wooden houses and become farmers. Some laws outlawed traditional religious practices while others ordered Indian men to cut their long hair. The government established Indian schools that attempted to quickly and forcefully Americanize Indian children who were forced to speak only English, wear proper American clothing and to replace their Indian names with more American ones. These new policies brought Native Americans closer to the end of their traditional tribal identity and the beginning of their existence as citizens under the complete control of the U.S.
government. The report, published in 1928, described the loss of tribal lands through the allotment process, the poor health and educational levels of Native Americans, and the lack of control native people had over their own lives. In 1932 John Collier was appointed as commissioner of Indian Affairs. He was both knowledgeable and respectful of Native American culture. He was committed to reversing the governments previous policies that were hostile to traditional Native American cultural practices. Collier immediately went to work to improve economic conditions among Native Americans by bringing to the reservations many of Roosevelts New Deal programs to counteract the consequences of the Great Depression. He established such agencies, such as the Indian Civilian Conservation Corps, to employ Native Americans on conservation projects, and the Indian Arts and Crafts Board to promote sales of goods made by Indians.
The name Indian was first applied to Native Americans by Christopher Columbus, who mistakenly believed that the mainland and islands of America were part of the Indies, in Asia. Native Americans are true to their cultural and have a strong bond to nature and its many creatures. The spirit that these people so highly prize was taken from them and has not yet been fully regained. Through decrease of ...
Collier also worked to withdraw all federal regulations outlawing the practice of Indian religious ceremonies and to end the sale of allotted lands. Collier put much effort into returning political, cultural, and economic authority to the tribes. He tried to accomplish this goal with the Indian Reorganization Act, which was passed by the Congress with huge amendments. During the 1950s and early 1960s, Congress passed a number of bills designed to terminate the governments relationship with Native Americans. Native peoples would become subject to the same laws and entitled to the same privileges and responsibilities as other United States citizens. Between 1954 and 1962 the federal government terminated its responsibility for services and benefits to at least 109 tribes, bands, and communities. Thus, the policy toward NativeAmericans in the majority of cases reflected the desire of the government to occupy the lands originally controlled by Native Americans.
The treaties with tribes, which the government failed to respect, forcing Indians to abandoning their native lands and moving to reservations, the assimilation policy all them are the examples of the dominant groups ethnocentrism. The Colliers policy is, on the contrary, a bright example of cultural relativism approach to a problem, as he has made an attempt to understand and respect the beliefs of Indians in terms of their own culture. Which set of policies has been more effective? Keeping Indians under control by treaties or in reservations resulted to be an oppression for them, but on the other hand it helped to cultivate the lands of the West. The forced assimilation has been very damaging for Native Americans culture. A lot of unique components of Indian culture and traditions were lost. Even taking in consideration the dual sense of the term effective (as one thing can be effective for one field and damaging for another) making peoples losing their cultural heritage can barely be defined as an effective policy. Colliers attempt to improve Native Americans economic, social and cultural life could be the most appropriate direction to follow, because it let the tribes keep their authority and maintain their traditions.
The book The Unredeemed Captive is a story about the French-Indian raid on the small town of Deerfield Massachusetts. The raid is not a total surprise to the people of Deerfield, they find out a few days prior to the incident. They hear of towns east of them being attacked. The town of Deerfield did not feel that they were to be affected by the Indians. These few extra days to prepare for the “ ...
Unfortunately it did not respond to government interests, and other policies were preferred. Bibliography/reference list: American Indians: Laws and Policies, (2007) retrieved on October 20, 2008 from University of Daytons Web site: http://academic.udayton.edu/race/03justice/nalaws. htm Native American, (2003) retrieved on October 20, 2008 from Immigration Web site: http://memory.loc.gov/learn/features/immig/native_ american.html Native American Policy, (2008) retrieved on October 20, 2008, from Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia Web site: http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761584405/nati ve_american_policy.html.