American Indians and Freedom

Categories: Fools Crow James Welch

American Indians have striven for freedom ceaselessly since the colonization in 1800s. But for different American Indians, the definitions of freedom vary a lot. For the chief Seattle, the writer of AUTHENTIC TEXT OF CHIEF SEATTLE’S TREATY ORATION 1854, the freedom means the rights to live with the nature harmoniously and to keep their religion and traditions. For Carlos Montezuma, the writer of Let My People Go, the definition of freedom is very absolute and stems from political rights. His freedom means the rights of managing the stuffs of American Indians totally without the control of white man.

From my point of view, the definition of freedom to American Indians is more close to its political definition because the rights of protecting the holy nature will not be given if they lose the political rights. But I argue that the real freedom does not mean the absolute free. Moreover, the chief Seattle and Carlos Montezuma differ in the issue about whether American Indians should accept the management of colonists.

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For the chief Seattle, he thinks him and his people can accept the management of colonists on the condition that the colonists will not destroy their holy nature.

For Carlos Montezuma, he asks the colonists not to interfere the issue of American Indians because the corrupt management of the colonists.

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I think that American Indians can accept the management of the colonists if they can own enough political rights. The best way is to contend for a democracy system and government for American Indians rather than just asking for leaving the control of the colonists. It is obvious that the two writers own quite different understandings when they face with the same word—freedom, as I mentioned at the beginning.

The writer of AUTHENTIC TEXT OF CHIEF SEATTLE’S TREATY ORATION 1854 shows deep love to his ancestors and the things his ancestors leave for them. He uses “sacred” to describe its ancestors and “hallowed ground”, “verdant valleys”, “murmuring rivers” and so on to describe his living environment. Also, the writer thinks that their religion is “the Great Spirit” and gives them in “solemn hours of the night. ” Yet, in the perspectives of these American Indians, the colonists refuse to accept and respect the holy nature and ancestors of Africa Americans.

The writer writes, “Your God is not our God! Your God loves your people and hates mine! ” The quote indicates that American Indians in Seattle fear deeply that the colonial rule will ruin their living environment, religion and traditions. Hence, for the writer, their freedom means the respect of their culture. Nevertheless, Carlos Montezuma, the writer of “Let My People Go”, asks for totally different freedom. He writes, “The Indian Bureau is the only obstacle that stands in the way that hinders our people’s freedom. ”, “…when the Indians will need the most help in this world , … the Indian.

Bureau will cease to exist…” and “the Indian employees in the Indian Service; their personality is destroyed…they have nothing to say. ” These quote express the strong willing of American Indians to escape from the control of White Americans because of the corruption of Indian Bureau. So, the definition of freedom to Carlos Montezuma is the rights to express their own willing and achieve more political rights. I quite agree with Carlos Montezuma because he wants to ask for more political rights.

Even if the Big Chief at Washington promised that the new colonists will respect the culture of the American Indians in Seattle, he can easily renege on the promise without the political rights or the protection of the law. On the other hand, the chief Seattle and Carlos Montezuma own different attitudes towards the issue about the management of white American. Carlos Montezuma hastily wants to abolish the Indian Bureau system rather than improve the system. Carlos Montezuma writes, “The Indian Bureau system is wrong. The only way to adjust wrong is to abolish it, and the only reform is to let my people go. ”

The quote expresses the urgent willing of Carlos Montezuma to stop the run of the wrong system. He owns the opinion to escape the control of White Americans. However, I think that American Indians can accept the management of colonists only if the colonists launch laws to protect the American Indians and give them enough political rights. The opinion of stopping the run of the system is too arbitrary and naive. It is highly possible that a ruder way to manage the American Indians created after the abolition of the old system.

Carlos Montezuma cannot accept the management of White Americans at all. But the chief Seattle’s requirements related to the acceptance of the White Americans’ management perhaps is without much consideration. The chief Seattle writes, “But should we accept it, I here and now make this condition that we will not be denied the privilege without molestation of visiting at any time the tombs of our ancestors, friends, and children. ” The quote has implication that the chief Seattle will accept the colonial rule on the condition that the colonists will not hurt their ancestors, friends and children. And in the same paragraph, the writer emphasizes the importance to protect their holly hillsides, valleys, plains and so on again.

I argue that his thoughts and requirements are too premature and primitive. These are the basic rights for human beings. Even these rights are promised to give these American Indiana, they are still far away from freedom, as I regard it. Therefore, the real freedom cannot be achieved either by abolishing a wrong system and totally losing control or by asking for so limited rights and show kindness or obedience to the colonists. Of course, freedom definitely is not what the Chief Seattle thinks.

He views freedom as the rights on the foundation of compromise and only asks for poor limited rights. Besides, for me, freedom also is not absolute like Carlos Montezuma thinks. It does not mean you can do what you want without others’ management and totally losing control. Freedom means you can own all the proper political rights under the protection of an impartial system or laws. The most significant issue for the real freedom is to create a right system or laws to protect the rights legally for these American Indians. No matter the chief Seattle or Carlos Montezuma, they both lack in the consciousness to create a right system or laws to protect themselves.

If this kind of thing can be done, the existence of India Bureau or the colonial rule of White Americans does not matter to them at all. For this reason, it is so vital for American Indians and also other races to force the society to create a more and more impartial system ceaselessly. Works Cited Carlos Montezuma, “Let My People Go”: An Address delivered at the conference of the Society of American Indians in Lawrence, Kansas, N. p : n. p ,1915 Dr. Henry A. Smith, AUTHENTIC TEXT OF CHIEF SEATTLE’S TREATY ORATION 1854, N. p : n. p ,1887.

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American Indians and Freedom. (2017, Jan 12). Retrieved from

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