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Native American Violence Essay

1259 words - 6 pages

Native American Violence
In the United States today, Native Americans, who are sometimes referred to as American Indians, are stereotyped and represented as violent beings. This comes from a vast repertoire of warring in past Native American history, portrayals of Native Americans in American pop culture, and statistics of Native American alcohol and drug usage. However, not all members of a race have the same beliefs or the same characteristics. Although Native Americans are often discriminated against for being violent, not all members of this race evoke this trait.
Nearly 12,000 years ago, Asian peoples crossed a land bridge from Asia into North America. They then dispersed throughout North America. As the Ice Age ended 10,000 years ago, people started settling down (Meyer et. al.). These new settlers were often hunters and gatherers, but many southwestern Native Americans were part of farming villages. Overall, Native Americans at this time were peaceful. However, throughout the last few hundred years of the Pre-Columbian era, violent clashes and fierce competition existed between native tribes, as southwestern farming villages were dissolved and warring over land occurred. According to American National Biography Online, after warring and disbanding of tribes, “All aspects of Native American culture displayed considerable regional and temporal variation” (Meyer et. al.). Basically, different Native American tribes became very diverse in their ways, ideologies, customs, etc. Some tribes had violent practices, while others did not. This is critical to understand when Native Americans are stereotyped. Not every tribe, much less every member of each tribe, was violent before the arrival of Europeans.
As Europeans arrived in the New World, they initially met mostly peaceful people. However, Native Americans have had a significant history of violence and conflict with European settlers such as Native Americans are violent. Most tribes in the 1500s had military chiefs that led parties of men used for hunting as well as combat, and warring between tribes mostly had a prize of revenge or honor, and was not usually deadly. However, it was a very different story when Europeans came into the picture. Because Native Americans were not introduced to many European diseases, high casualties resulted in Native American populations. According to American National Biography Online, scholars suggest native populations were reduced by around 90% within a century of initial European contact in (Meyer et. al.). This creates a background for Americans to understand why natives may become angry and choose to be violent.
Another large subject of conflict lay in land settlement by Europeans. In the Northeast, coexistence existed only for a short time after European entry. As Europeans set up large trading networks, and an increasing number of new settlers became farmers in northeastern North America. Thus, Europeans took over a lot of land that...

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