Holly McQuade Native Americans and the west

I’m called Aiyana of the Sioux and I’m a native of this land. I have had enough of white settlers moving west and invading our territory. They steal and they take and they rarely give what they say they will. They take and take me and my tribe member’s belongings and almost never return them. This is no life anyone should live, not even my worst foe. The land promise to us was not good farming land. Even then, the land would be taken away because there were more settlers coming into our land. The horses that they had taken from us were promise to be replaced with oxen but with several reminders, we received less than what we had agreed on.

With settlers moving into the native lands for independence, they took our lands but their number grew larger and larger. They moved to get more money. The natives were forced to become farmers. The settlers killed out bison and never used all of it. They wasted all of our resources and we never got anything. We starved. Eventually, the U.S. confined the Native Americans to reservations where we were treated poorly. The European settlers believed that our lands were going to be used for “material needs and wants (Foundation).” The lands that weren’t being used “productively,’ they took for their own personal use; anyone could claim that land. We used the lands to survive, not to make a profit.

On several different occasions we have tried to fight them off but our efforts always seem to fail. We want to fight back but our numbers are lacking. The setters have taken over so many of our resources that we have become too weak. However, we went to war to protect our lands. The federal government built settlers some forts to protect them. But, the government put us in reservations to protect us. We “suffered the same fate as the Comaches and Kiowas (Wishart).” We had to give up our land and move to the reservations.

We couldn’t have fought harder, but we should’ve. We should’ve left our lives behind and traveled as a family rather than staying and risking our lives and our land. We used everything we had in ourselves but there is always something more you can do. Nothing is perfect. I just wanted my family to survive and thrive like our ancestors before us. To get away from the setters would mean giving them our lands anyways, but we would’ve had something to go to. But, maybe if we had cooperated and did what they wanted us to do, we would be safe and living the life they were living instead of living like scum in these reservations.

Credits:

Created with images by pruzi - "wood carving man" • jcnapw - "Navajo Woman Smiling" • Rennett Stowe - "Native American Petroglyphs" • Tomošius - "≡ Haak'u..." • familymwr - "Army Photography Contest - 2007 - FMWRC - Arts and Crafts - Ghost Prayin"

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