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The branding of the United States is always considered a land of opportunity. Somewhere that you can arrive and become anyone or anything you can imagine with hard work and dedication is the outline of the “American Dream”, but what dreams do you create if you are the ones that were here in the first place? Before we could call this land the United States or even the colonies. Do they get recognition and what were their dreams apart from the stereotypical American dreams and beliefs? Progressing throughout the 19th century as the United States is establishing itself as a nation, we continue to see the distrust and aggression being taken out on the native people whom we had colonized the land from.
The United States throughout history have consistently interfered with Native culture by conforming to their traditions and beliefs until eventually, calling for their relocation and destruction of their existence with the help of the government and our forefathers.
As early as 1000 BC, there have been humans in North America. As American Indians were migrating, they soon began to establish theirlanguages, customs, and civilizations. After 2000 BC, some of the Native American tribes began to establish their states which were responsible for governing thousands of people. These states went on to establish vast trade routes among the continents by using cargo rafts and boats to ship their different goods from one trading post to another. The Native American centers of government were distinguished by these extremely large, flat mounds where palaces and temples had then been constructed on top of them.
These centers were located from the present-day mid-western region of the United States to Southern Peru in South America. These centers were also used as burial sites for honored leaders of the different natives. This simple but structured way of life came to a dramatic halt when the Europeans began to invade in search of the “New World” that was led by Christopher Columbus in 1492. His voyage brought smallpox and diseases that wiped out the entire population of many native cities. Columbus, along with other Europeans began to colonize for want of more farmland and to have the ability to create more jobs. The wants of the Europeans led to the American Indians being forced to give up their homeland and pushed into constant battles fighting for their three languages andwas andnatives betweenand natives and wasthe lives that they knew. Europeans had an advantage in these fights due to immunities from their diseases as well as guns while the Indians had knives and bows to defend themselves in these attacks. While the early colonization took a huge toll on the Native American people, there was one man in particular who cause severe and catastrophic destruction to the Natives and that was President Andrew Jackson.
Before he even received the title of President, Andrew Jackson was to fighting for the rights of the white settlers and against the best interest of the Native people. In 1817, President James Monroe authorized Jackson to lead a brigade of men against the Seminole and Creek Indians within Florida and Georgia. He gave orders to destroy Seminole settlements. This battle was part of the First Seminole War. From the years 1814- to 1824, Jackson was also part of negotiating nine out of the eleven treaties in which the government divested southern tribes of their eastern lands in an exchange for land in the west. The tribes had agreed to the treaty to not cause trouble within the government with the hopes of being able to maintain their land along with wanting to be able to protect themselves from white harassment. Another one of Jackson’s most famous military accomplishments was being a part of the 1812 War where he oversaw the destruction of fifteen percent of the Creek Indian population. The treaty, which was pro-white Indian pro-white Christianity was to end the hostilities, seized twenty million acres of ancestral land from the Indian people, but Jackson was only getting started. Very early in Jackson’s campaign for the presidency, he established himself as a figure for the people and his campaign run was centered around an anti-elitist platform that attacked the eastern elites as well as the congressional land policy. Jackson viewed the Indians as mere bodies that were standing in the way of his progress in Indian time in the United States so once he was elected as the seventh president of the United States in 1829, he set out to attempt to fully wipe out the Indian population to better serve the white settlers. When Jackson became president, he began to implement a pro-whiteIndianpro-whiteandwhite white and whitenative native pro-whiteIndianpro-white Christianitywhite and sentiment in a substantial series of policies that culminated with the forced removal of native Americans Indians Christianity from their land.
The United States government policy of civilization was introduced to the Cherokee nation and was put into place to teach Indians Christianity was pro-whiteIndianpro-whether to be Anglo-American. Not only were they taught specific ways they were supposed to exist, but they were made to give up their religions and spiritual beliefs to be converted to nativewas along with natives with being made to wear European clothes and learn English. As time passed, Jackson began to argue that the United State’s policy attempt to assimilate the tribes like the Cherokee had failed and that the native American way of life will eventually be destroyed. There were still some that wanted opposite of Jackson’s wishes for the Native American people such as the Ladies in Steubenville Ohio, who wrote a letter to the Senate and the House of Representatives explaining that the nativearnative protected by the constitution which gives them the American right to life, liberty, and most importantly the right to ownership of the land passed down from families which the women argued as one of their main points. They stated that since the native Americans owned the land, the government did not have a right to take it away and move them elsewhere.
American-white despite objections, Jackson continued to push for the destruction of the Indian people. In the court case Worcester v Georgia, Chief Justice of the supreme court John Marshall declared that the state of Georgia did not have the authority over the Cherokee people which only as a sovereign nation could they be subject to the authorities of the federal government. This ruling was to establish exactly what sort of relationship wasand between and white nativnativeswas thee the federal government and the American Indian tribes. Even though this was decided, President Jackson, refused the ruling and began to pursue the policy of the Indian Removal Act. This removal act established an authorization for voluntary relocation of Native American tribes to the land that was west of the Mississippi River. This removal act applied to five different civilized American Indian tribes; Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole. The Seminoles refused to leave their ancestral land which then sparked the Seminole War of 1835. The Chickasaw had agreed to leave their land for a total of three million dollars which the United States failed to pay back until thirty years later. The Creek were forced off their ancestral land within the Treaty of Fort Jackson which then followed the Battle of Horseshoe Bend which was also a part of the 1812 war. A small fraction of the Cherokee nation signed the treaty, but the others that did non were forcibly moved to Indian territory like the rest. The Cherokee nation had declared absolute sovereignty of their land, but Georgia specifically wanted the Cherokee gone. The conflict was not over after the act had passed, however. Andrew Jackson’s priority after his act passing reflected the fundamental shift that he wanted to occur.
The United States throughout history have consistently interfered with Native culture by conforming to their traditions and beliefs until eventually, calling for their relocation and destruction of their existence with the help of the government and our forefathers. As we can see life is a clear reflection throughout our history, there is a complete lack of compassion for the Natives who were here before colonization, but continuously, we see decisions that are made for the best interest of a specific category of people or population. Choices are made that discriminate in the hopes ohas an every a better world or mo a peaceful community, but the only way I believe that we will ever truly change history and positively move forward is ifeverIndian to every single person feels like their voice is heard and their perspective is listened to not only to combat discrimination and racism, but also was IndiantoIndian and native has endless possibilities for change.
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