Finding a Solution Enisa Afamasaga : 1B

My name is Aquene, I’m from the tribe of bannock Shoshone in Fort Hall Idaho. I'm writing this letter to whom it may encounter in the American Government. We are looking to find a solution in what is happening between the Indians and Government. In the letter I will be stating from our point of view the mistreatment we have endured and the probable ways we are able to reconstruct, and find harmony within each other and the situation at hand.
The problems the tribes are suffering from are different beliefs about land ownership, Native American citizenship in U.S.A and broken promises made by the Government also culture differences.

Disagreement of belief over land ownership, the different out looks on how land should be used is completely opposite between the two diverse cultures. Our culture lives in harmony with the land. We live in harmony with the land which emphasizes our religion and beliefs that were based on the spiritual or religious idea that the universe and all natural objects had souls or spirits. In our religion its believed that souls or spirits exist not only in humans but also in animals, plants, rocks etc. This belief is also extended to natural phenomena such as thunder storms and rain and geographic features such as mountains or rivers which they also believed possessed souls or spirits. Coming from our point of view and beliefs, land is not meant for mans greed. The idea of land being took from us and put labels upon who’s land it belongs to is against our own, we stand for communal land ownership. Our land is a place for us to unite as a tribe and do our spiritual rituals. Taking that way is stripping down our culture as a whole.

The question if we Native Americans should be granted citizenship or not shouldn’t even be questioned. It is important to remember that we were not immigrants to this country and therefore the ways others should become citizens are not the same us; compared to immigrants from Europe, Africa, Asia, and other parts of the world. Long before there was a United States, we were citizens of sovereign Indian nations. We were the first ones who set foot in this land theirs no reasoning that we need to gain citizenship from European settlers. After the Civil War, the United States altered its Constitution with the Fourteenth Amendment. Adopted in 1868, this Amendment states that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” Reading these words today it would seem that this Amendment would grant citizenship us Indians. However, the Amendment was intended to give citizenship to male African-American former slaves and not to Indians. The idea that only few groups of people will be granted citizenship right away (Europeans) is not fair to others. Native Americans were never immigrants, therefor we shouldn't have to go through the injustice of it all.

Treaties have been made between the government and Indian tribes and all were broken. The government insured us of a life style that will fulfill us as tribes, they failed greatly at doing so. Chief Red Cloud stated “Government promised us all the necessary to make our living out of the land, and to instruct us how to do it, and with abundant food to support us until we could take of ourselves”. Broken promises came into play when the government did the complete opposite of what they assured. The few things they gave us did little good. Government took land, animals, rations etc. We did not have someone to stand up for us as indigenous people. We have been pushed into small reservations and everything we knew was disappearing rapidly. We wish for the honoring of the treaties, also the restoring of our land. It is unfair our own land is being sold to white men, we are starving and being put into such cold weather conditions.

Another misinterpretation between the two different cultures; the perspective of how life styles are meant to be. Non-Indians, particularly Europeans and White Americans, have consistently failed to appreciate our culture and specific identities of Native Americans, which has led to a large level of confusion, myths, stereotypes, and misunderstanding; example- "being savages". The thoughts about how land should be used is different between the two. Our tribe has pow-wows on our land and other special traditions coordinated by high chiefs and medicine man. Europeans coming and taking our land, killing our animals and building on our sacred land is insulting to our beliefs. When we kill animals we pray over their body and express gratitude for what they have gave to us, following by using everything their body’s given us. White Americans kill our buffalo and don't use everything the animals offers, bringing shame to the preparation they are doing on our holy animal. I hope for whom is reading this too understand the point of view we are coming from; we are looking for a solution to overcome the circumstances.

Solution- culture interchange between tribes and United states government

The segregation between two groups of people have been happening for centuries. The ideology that one group of people is more complex or superior than other is not going to advance any of us. The United States Government has been stripping away and taking from all the tribes. My own tribe has gone through a deal of problems because of the self-interested motives. Our culture norms don’t call for us to want to get back or cause more harm on what has already happened. Segregating of the Native Americans and the Government is only causing more hate and sorrowfulness. I've come together with chiefs from different parts of land to make a plan to fix what is happening. My purpose of writing to you; communication between the two groups and coming together to solve the longing problem.

Culture assimilation the process of a group of people learns the culture and language of another. The Dawes Act isn't successful; tribes have been standing alone for ages. For the Government to try to push tribes into reservation and break all the promises it will not stand. If the Government wants full assimilation, we expect the same with our culture. Balance between both is the only way it will work out and have it last. The Constitution states the quality of life for everyone and basic freedom for all people also adding in equality. By taking away our land and the idea of stripping down our culture is going against your very own words.

We want Culture interchange for all to win. All the live in harmony and being able to prosper as a whole. The ideology of everyone learns and gets to see the life style of each culture will give an opportunity for other to understand the life style. Tribes and normal Americans can choose which life style they want their family to live or have mixture between both. Trying to take away a culture as a whole will not work, coming other with peace will last. There's many opportunity with culture interchange and sharing ideas with one another.

Now that your seen our idea of solving the problem, I hope you take our thoughts into consideration and try to implement it into reality. We only seek harmony with the Government. Culture interchange only wants the sharing of one another thoughts for a better understanding of another.

Work Cited-

  • http://academic.udayton.edu/race/03justice/NALR006.htm
  • https://www.warpaths2peacepipes.com/native-american-indians/native-americans-land.htm
  • http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/379
  • http://www.americansc.org.uk/Online/brookman.htm
  • http://indianyouth.org/american-indian-life/traditions-culture
  • http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/cultural+assimilation
Created By
Enisa Afamasaga
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Created with images by Grand Canyon NPS - "Grand Canyon_Native American Heritage Day_0298" • NatashaG - "first nation warrior feather" • antje89 - "buffalo oklahoma bison" • The U.S. Army - "Native American heritage celebration" • Rennett Stowe - "Native American Headdress" • Skitterphoto - "tipi tent teepee" • enordell - "pow wow liberty park pioneer day"

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