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Injustices To Native Americans Essay

771 words - 3 pages

In 1886 during a speech in New York future President Teddy Roosevelt said; “I don't go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of every ten are, and I shouldn't like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth.” Though this was over 250 years after Jamestown and almost four decades after the Trail of Tears Teddy Roosevelt’s attitude toward Native Americans in the late 19th Century seems to have changed little from many of those men and women who first colonized America. After hundreds of years of violence, discrimination and forced assimilation the Native American culture remains endangered and continues to suffer from higher rates of poverty and social distress than any other minority community in the United States. During the era of colonization in the United States, Native Americans were subject to a barrage of unscrupulous despair to include ravaging diseases, conversion to Christianity, unconquerable technology, and acquisition of indigenous land.
With the arrival of Europeans in America, diseases spread rampantly among indigenous peoples. Separated from the Eurasian Landmass for thousands of years, Native Americans had no immunities to common ailments in Europe. Afflictions such as smallpox, measles, and influenza killed hundreds of thousands of Indians and exhausted the morale of the survivors. It is estimated that diseases generated epidemics that decimated 25-90% of Native Americans. Europeans used this deadly advantage to exploit the Indian population and ultimately gain control over land and wealth.
The downfall of indigenous peoples also incorporated the spread of Christianity. Sometimes accomplished with force, Spanish missionaries would inflict corporeal punishment on Indians who practiced polygamy and worshipped traditional gods. However, Christianity was also spread surreptitiously. For example, in the 1690’s Jesuit priests introduced the Virgin Mary to a group of Indians where they emphasized the already existing notion of chastity, therefore assimilating Christianity with an already present concept. Other non-forcible means of spreading Christianity also existed. Puritan minister, John Eliot, translated the Bible into the local Indian language to gain converts. In these regards, the spread of Christianity fundamentally dismantled the inherent culture of Native Americans.
Europeans implemented their military might when conquering Native Americans. The European technology of weaponry included guns and cannons that were far more...

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