Native Americans' Civil Rights Struggle Essay

1144 words - 5 pages

The Native Americans have come across long journey of difficult times since the occupation of their land by European settlers. There are still two sides of a coin- a world of civilization and a world of underdeveloped society in this one country- USA. The paradox is that the constitution which seems to be a model of democracy to many nations of the world lacks a lot for not acting accordingly. Those organized and unorganized struggles of Native Americans were challenged by the heavily armed white majority settlers. This history is among the worst American experience because of the massacre and the violation against human right. In order to be heard, they protest, occupy land, and write books. The Native Americans have raised several human and civil right issues in several ways for hundreds of years including the seizing of Alcatraz Island in 1969, the occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973, and the consequences had left a meaningful impact in their lives.
In 1969 Native American college students at Alcatraz island occupied the empty federal prison. They did it to get media attention and to push the government to listen to their social, economic and political problems. The Alcatraz proclamation that set up by the students was a clear indication of grieves of the Indians of all tribes (Grossman). The proclamation had the power to incorporate all the historical development that had happened for centuries. They requested Caucasians to stop the severe oppressions of all kinds of rights. The proclamation also listed what needs to be done. They requested for modern health facilities, fresh water, and industrialization in the reservation. These were the causes for their high unemployment rate, lack of health, and education. For example, the supply of alcoholic beverages to the reservation led them to have chronic diseases of alcoholism of 630% than that of general American public (Grossman). The Alcatraz occupation lasted for nineteen months.
The Alcatraz opposition was followed by another major event in the struggle of native America’s civil right at Wounded Knee south Dakota. In 1972, they requested the government for land ownerships, rights for their water and mineral recourses in their land, and for equality according to the constitution. This was followed by the huge damage of the Bureau of Indian Affairs-BIA. In 1973, the government came with denying the requests and then the leaders of American-Indian movement -AIM, promised to keep struggling (Kent 1769). The leaders of the AIM were Russel Means and Denis Banks. There were also some internal differences among the Indian-American tribes. For instance Oglala Sioux Tribe leaders were criticizing the oppositions. As a result, The AIM leaders were also critical to those tribes and to the tribal president Richard Wilson. They blamed Wilson for his mismanagement of his tribe’s fund. Wilson had responded with serious attack on his opponents and their families. Hence, the government supported Wilson and...

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