Native American Oppression Analysis

753 Words4 Pages

The Legacy of the Historical Oppression of Native Americans To gain a true understanding of Native Americans and their culture, historians must not only examine the trials and tribulations Indians endured in the past, but also the contemporary issues the group faces. Currently, physical illnesses, psychological disorders, economic instability, and negative stereotypes continue to plague Native American communities. Popular sayings, like “Indians will be Indians” and “noble savages,” continue to haunt the culture. The use of the stereotypical Indian or “uncivilized savage” in toys, books, cars, foods, and sports teams, demonstrates how the American society is unfortunately accustomed to the prevalent stereotypes against Native Americans. The …show more content…

In 1830, President Andrew Jackson passed the Indian Removal Act, which uprooted one hundred thousand Indians from their homeland and ordered them to march on what has been dubbed the Trail of Tears. The Indian Removal Act and other laws were driven by the desire of the white man for wealth. Specifically, as depicted in the movie, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, the United States government attempted multiple times to obtain the Black Hills from the Sioux Indians. The Black Hills were sacred to the Sioux, because they served as a burial ground for their ancestors. Conversely, the United States government yearned to acquire the Black Hills, for the gold in the region. In the movie, Senator Dawes presents multiple proposals to the Sioux to purchase the Black Hills. Senator Dawes also informs the Indians, with his plan each Native American family will be assigned to a 160 acre piece of land on a reservation. Later while conversing with Charles, Senator Dawes insists, “The Indian must own his own piece of Earth” (Bury My Heart). Charles replies, “Did you know that there is no word in the Sioux language for that sir, to own the Earth. Not in any native language” (Bury My Heart). Charles reveals how the Europeans imposed their practices on the Indians, which were often contrary to the tribes’ beliefs. When the Sioux refuse to accept Dawes’ treaty and instead practice the Ghost Dance, the Battle of Wounded Knee ensues. The fight resulted in the deaths of hundreds of the Sioux people and the United States proclaimed the frontier was closed (“Closing the Frontier”). In fact, “by 1876, the United States government had obtained the majority of Native American land,” while the Indian tribes were relocated onto reservations, with unfertile farmland (“Sioux Treaty of 1868”). Since the time when the United States government pilfered

Open Document