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Plains Indians And The Reservation And Assimilatio

1299 words - 5 pages

Anglo American views towards Native Americans have changed many times through history. When America was first discovered, Native Americans were viewed as savages that could be exploited for use in learning how to hunt and other tasks. As America began to grow, Native Americans were viewed as intruders that were trespassing on land that obviously belonged to the United States. In the late nineteenth century, views towards Native Americans began to change for the better. They were now being seen as people that, with a little work, could be made into model citizens. This is where the policies of assimilation and reservation were created. They were used to either relocate the Native Americans, which would eventually phase out their culture, or to make the Native Americans conform to Anglo American ideals, which would also cause their culture to disappear.After the Louisiana Purchase, Anglo Americans began pushing farther and farther west. Any Native Americans that were in their way had to keep one step ahead, fight back, or be killed. The area between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains that was deemed unsuitable for farming or development was given to the Native Americans as a reservation on which they could live in an uneasy peace. Eventually, farmers developed a desire for this land, and forced the Native Americans off of it. The concept of Manifest Destiny was all that Anglo Americans needed to justify themselves. This is when the United States began developing a true reservation policy, which would set defined boundaries for Native American land.The reservation policy first began development as a concentration policy. This policy was one which would separate Native Americans and Anglo American citizens to avoid war between them. This plan was first implemented in the early 1850s, and was not successful. This policy was first broken during the Mormon Cow War, in which three Sioux boys killed a stray cow from a Mormon wagon train. The wagon train then complained to Lieutenant Grattan at Fort Laramie, who attacked the Sioux camp with two cannons and was killed, along with his twenty-nine men. Several other conflicts occurred between settlers and Native Americans, so in 1865 Congress drew up a new reservation policy.This updated reservation policy gave Native Americans specific tracts of land to live on. These lands were treated as a sort of foreign nation. Many Native Americans were forced to sell or just give up their old land to move to these reservations. The United States government then put up the previous Native American land for sale to miners, ranchers, and homesteaders. The government also promised protection of reservation boundaries by the United States Army to the Native Americans. The main goal of the reservations were to change Native American thoughts from a migratory lifestyle to European ideas of land ownership. Through the reservation policy, Native Americans lost huge amounts of land. This policy was more effective than...

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