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Treatment of Native Americans Essay

From the very beginning of American history, settlers have poorly treated the Native Americans. As some people know, “poorly” is an understatement. The treatment of the indigenous people was horrible during the 1800s from being forced to move west, having laws made against them by the government, and mass murder, even though that isn’t what our history books like to tell us today.

In 1804, fur trading was established with the Oglala and became a big part of their life. Then, the Oglala and Lakota tribes decided to expand their control and influences west toward the Big Horn mountains. Then, on March 26, the United States government forced the Native Americans to move west past the Mississippi River. This meant that they would have to leave everything they had to move to a reservation where they would have to start all over again. They only had a certain amount of time to move cooperatively but when that time was up, they would be moved forcefully. If the Native Americans did not agree to move, then they were killed.

Many laws and acts were passed against the native American people. In 1833, a law was made that no Native American to reside in the state of Florida, so, yet again, the indigenous people of our country were forced to drop everything thing they had to go live in a reservation in the west to start all over again. Also, in 1834, the Indian Intercourse Act was passed. The Indian Intercourse Act said that Congress created Indian Territory in the west that included the land area in all of present-day Kansas, most of Oklahoma, and parts of what later became Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming. The area was set aside for Indians who would be removed from their ancestral lands which, in turn, would be settled by non-Indians. The area steadily decreased in size until the 1870s when Indian Territory had been reduced to what is now Oklahoma, excluding the panhandle.

Along with all of the laws and forced movement of Native Americans, there were also many battles that killed a lot of the indigenous people. In 1835 to 1842 was the Seminole War, the second and most terrible of three wars between the US government and the Seminole people was also one of the longest and most expensive wars in which the US army was ever engaged. Thousands of troops were sent, 1,500 men died, and between 40-60 million dollars were spent to force most of the Seminole to move to Indian Territory – more than the entire US government’s budget for Indian Removal. Another fight between settlers and Native Americans was in 1855. The Ash Hollow massacre was a pretty dumb battle when you think about it. Colonel William Harney uses 1,300 soldiers to massacre an entire Brulé village in retribution for the killing of 30 soldiers, who were killed in retribution for the killing of the Brulé chief, Conquering Bear, in a dispute over a cow. Settlers used any excuse they could think of to humiliate and kill as many Native Americans as they could.

In conclusion, the treatment of Native Americans in our country was brutal. We are all told that a human is a human and everyone is equal. Well, clearly, people in the 1800s did not think so. They attacked anyone that was different in order to get ahead, including our indigenous people.


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