Solution to Native American Land By: Crystal march

I am a native of America and I have noticed the Westward expansion was a great advance for those who settled in America from Europe, but not for us Native Americans. We were on land the American government wanted, creating tension between our worlds. Many solutions have been suggested and tried but none of them have actually worked through my experience. Several factors play a role in the creation of a solution. An effective solution would solve the problems that have emerged from the tension. These problems are broken promises made by the U.S. government, fear of and violence between natives and non-natives, different beliefs about land ownership, and valuable resources on native land and U.S. government and settlers wanting them.

First Problem: Broken promises the US Government made

The U.S. government attempted to create equal terms for both us Native Americans and their non-native Americans. A chief known as Red Cloud gave a speech that hit this subject strongly. He explained in his speech, “when we first made treaties with the Government, our old life and our old customs were about to end.” He says this because everything they had depended on was disappearing. The bison on which they needed for everything were being killed only for their hides by the non-natives and the land tribes have lived on for years were being taken over. The first attempt of the government giving a fair solution involved the Government promising us “all the means necessary to make our living off of the land, and to instruct us how to do it, and with abundant food to support us until we could take care of ourselves.” Though it could have turned out to be fair, the Government did not hold up their end of the bargain. Red Cloud gives a firsthand account explaining they did not get much of what was needed to work their lands. Their rations were reduced simply because a few soldiers called the Native Americans lazy, who were not instructed nor had the supplies to effectively do anything with their land. Another broken promise Red Cloud describes is the loss of their ponies under the promise of the Government giving them much stronger horses and oxen. It took a long time for the Native Americans to be supplied with them and when they were, it was very few.

Second Problem: Fear of violence between natives and non-natives

The American government gave many reasons for the Native Americans to be afraid of violence from non-natives. There was the Battle of Little Bighorn and Wounded Knee that shook the Native American community. The Battle of Little Bighorn was caused by greed of the Americans. Gold was discovered on our lands and after the American army invaded the Sioux and Cheyenne, their chiefs ran to Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. A troop of 600 men led by George Armstrong Custer entered the Little Bighorn Valley. Luckily, the Indian warriors of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse outnumbered Custer, winning the battle. Wounded knee began with a large army rounding up all of the Indians and forcing them to give up their weapons. About 4,000 Indians were in this big camp. A recollection of Wounded Knee from Flying Hawk explained the Indians were “hungry and weak and they suffered from a lack of clothing and furs because the whites had driven away all the game” and treated them like they were “tormenting a wolf with one foot in a strong trap.” The Indians were helpless. A sudden fire of a gun was what started the horror. A total of two hundred and twenty men, women, and children were killed by open fire of machine guns. The soldiers did not care if the people they killed were innocent or not, they were ruthless.

Third Problem: Different beliefs about land ownership

One of the major differences between the culture of white European and Native American culture is how land ownership is perceived. Native Americans believed the land to be owned by the tribal community. The Native Americans thought of the land as being a part of them or closely linked because they lived off of it and everything around. They also believed land should be shared in a small community that every member puts in work. White Americans thought land was to be owned individually, not as a community. The Dawes Act is a great representation of what the Whites believed about land ownership. This act was created to offer land to Native Americans but in order for them to have that land, they had to leave their tribe and own the piece of land individually. The one and only fact that may make land ownership between Indians and Americans is that both made some sort of territorial border to keep enemies or other communities away.

Fourth Problem: Valuable resources on native land and U.S. government/people wanting them

The reason Native Americans survived the harsh outside are the many resources that come from their land. Game provided them food, clothing, shelter, weapons, and tools. The trees gave them shelter as well if buffalo hides to create tepees were not available. The last discovered resource was gold. All of these resources were an interest to the U.S. Government, but gold was of their highest interest. Considering its value, they would stop at nothing, and they did not stop. Oil was another big resource the American Government had an interest in. Gold to them was a sort of money. Oil was how they created light. The Americans used trees to make money and build houses. Those were not the worst things they were determined to take away from us. The animal other tribes and mine lived off of, the buffalo, was massacred by the white Americans. Only about a few hundred remained after the killings of the animals that gave tribes life. The worst part about this is that they did not use the whole bison, the used the meat for food, the hide for leather and clothing, and the bones were for fertilizer and few other things. Organs left in the body had no purpose to the white men.

Attempted Solutions

There have been several attempts to solve the problems between the Native Americans and American Government. The main strategy the whites looked towards was to try to get Indians to adopt European White culture, otherwise known as cultural assimilation. Richard Henry Pratt wrote an article based on assimilation. This article is named “Kill the Indian, Save the Man.” A suggestion on how to rid of the Indian or as he says, “savagery,” of the Native American to a man is to civilize them or at least our young members of our tribes. Pratt founded the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. He claimed this school, “fills young Indians with the spirit of loyalty to the stars and stripes.” The Indian students move “out into our communities to show by their conduct and ability that the Indian is no different from the white or the colored, that he has the inalienable right to liberty and opportunity that the white and the negro have.” This solution is a great opportunity for my people to prove ourselves and give a chance for Native Americans to be part of their community. The cons of this solution is that the educators may not treat the Indian students the same as they would a white student, tribes may forbid their children to attend such a school, and the students will be away from their parents and original home. I know Pratt had good intentions, but he is wanting to take children away from their homes and traditions. This to me does not convey an effective solution.

The Dawes Act is another solution that was inspired by the same thought Pratt believed, assimilation. This act “authorized the president to confiscate and redistribute tribal lands in the American West.” By doing this, our culture and tribal lands were taken away. The government actually wanted us to choose between our tribes or individual property. Native Americans were offered individual plots of land, but only if they left their tribe and became a citizen of the United States. This is an unfair trade. We shouldn’t have to choose between family and tradition or owning a small portion of land to follow in the footsteps of a culture that has taken so much from others and taken advantage of their surroundings. Different and fair solutions for both the Whites and Native Americans need to be made and I have a few suggestions.

My Solutions

First, I believe that in order for both of our cultures to understand each other, we need to share and educate everyone about them. If Native Americans are offered to attend a school made by the American Government to learn the ways of whites, American people should be given the chance to visit or live with tribes. By doing this they can be taught how our community works. Both of our cultures have their positives and negatives. If we combine them, the negatives may change and improve. This will possibly help with the fear of violence and broken promises made by the government because trust will develop. Another way to help solve the fear of violence is not having the military involved with controlling and monitoring tribes.

Though beliefs of land ownership may be completely different, if Whites are shown how effective a community ownership is, they may adopt the idea and share the land with the tribes. In result, it will solve the differences or mix them together to create a more effective community. To rid of the issue of the valuable resources on the Native land and the U.S. government wanting them is to create a fair and strict trading system with punishments for those who do not give what they promised. The punishments will be discussed on the side that has been deceived and the eighth amendment will be taken into account with their decisions. The Native Americans deserve to create their own government and collaborate with the American Government on decisions about laws that affect both societies. I realize some people may not be interested or believe these will solve anything, but it is worth trying. The president may be a great influence on the people if he takes part in the opportunity to spend time with the Native Americans and learn about the culture.

Work Cited:

Arnold, Mary. "Land Tenure and Use in Native American Culture." Land Tenure and Use in Native American Culture. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2017. <> Staff. "Battle of the Little Bighorn." A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 07 Apr. 2017. <>

Jawort, Adrian. "Genocide by Other Means: U.S. Army Slaughtered Buffalo in Plains Indian Wars." Indian Country Media Network. Indian Country Today, 30 Mar. 2017. Web. 07 Apr. 2017. <>

Khan Academy. "The Dawes Act." Khan Academy. Khan Academy, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2017. <>.

NRGInstitute. "Native American Lands and Natural Resource Development." Natural Resource Governance Institute. 16 Feb. 2016. Web. 07 Apr. 2017. <>

Pratt, Richard Henry. ""Kill the Indian, and Save the Man." “Kill the Indian, and Save the Man”: Capt. Richard H. Pratt on the Education of Native Americans. HISTORY MATTERS, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2017.

Created By
Crystal March

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