Native North American Culture And Its Demise

654 words - 3 pages

A topic specifically examined in Chapter 4 in section 4.4 is the conflict between the European colonizers and the indigenous people of the lands they conquered. The conflict between the two vastly different groups is the notion of religion and culture. Europeans could not tolerate the practice of non-Christian religions in their newly conquered lands and began to oppress the ethnic groups and destroy the cultures of the conquered. Specifically, in North America many Native ethnic groups’ cultures were destroyed by British, French and Dutch colonizers.
The cruel results of European attempts to tear through Aboriginal society and extract all aspects of non-Christian culture and religion can still be felt today. Through establishments like reservations and internment schools and military action, the Euro-American/Canadian governments were able to destroy most of Native Canadians and their culture. For example, in the late 1800s when there was a call to revive Native American culture, members of the Sioux ethnic group engaging in the Ghost Dance were massacred by the US Army at Wounded Knee.
While North American history is ripe with injustice and the suppression of our Indigenous neighbours, one can argue that the loss of their culture is not entirely due to European cruelty. One can argue that even by living peacefully side by side would cause the slow erosion of Aboriginal culture and religion in North America. As a culture and religion, Aboriginal tribes depend on the improbabilities of the Earth. Each ritual has a significance in the physical world and worshippers hope that it will lead to a successful harvest, hunt, etc. Today, modern life in North America is all but improbable. In a society where it is the norm to visit a grocery for meat rather than to hunt for it rituals lose most of their significance. Furthermore, a large aspect of Aboriginal culture is the cure for illnesses and diseases through rituals and the help of a healer....

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