As a current U.S. senator I want to better the lives of Native Americans therefore resolving the tensions between the Native Americans and our fellow settlers moving west. I think it’s important that we find a way to meet in the middle and address the promises we as a government have made and broken. Also The Dawes Act is not working in the way we intended, so it is time to make adjustments in order to provide Native Americans the citizenship to this great nation that they deserve. Lastly, I would like to address the problems we have faced with settlers moving in on the Native American land.
As a government we have made promises to the Native Americans that we have failed to keep. It is time to at least attempt to make good on our word. An example would be Treaty K, a treaty full of promises made to the Native Americans that we failed to ratify, similar to “17 other unratified treaties signed by representatives of the U.S. government and Native American nations in California during the Gold Rush” (Wang). Susan Shown Harjo, native to the Hodulgee Muscogee and Cheyenne Indian Nations, expressed out of deep concern, "The answer is always gold, and if it's not gold, it's silver. And if it's not silver, it's copper. And if it's not, go right through the metal chart” (Wang). We constantly disregard the rights of natives for purely selfish reasons. While we did make the effort, we didn’t follow through, just making it even harder for the Natives.
While The Dawes Act had good intentions for the most part, it failed to integrate the two cultures properly. While it is the best to make the Natives citizens, it shouldn’t be on condition of abandoning their own beliefs. Henry Dawes when confronted about what he thought would accustom the Natives to American culture said, they need to “Wear civilized clothes … cultivate the ground, live in houses, ride in Studebaker wagons, send children to school, drink whiskey [and] own property” (Dawes). While it is natural to crave a sense of community, it is unhealthy to force it unto unwilling members.
Also, we need to talk about the problems arising with our own citizens moving in on the allotted land we gave to the Native Americans. We promised them reservations when we took the majority of their land away and now we’re taking it anyway. In an attempt to reach a middle ground The Dawes Act tried to fairly distribute the land and offer citizenship but “Only those Native Americans who accepted the individual plots of land were allowed to become U.S. citizens. The remainder of the land was then sold off to white settlers”. Eliminating the culture of the Natives is not the answer and its time we try to compromise.
In order to solve these problems we need to come up with a solution. My personal recommendation would be too meet with leaders and to actually separate out land, and to not go back on our word. And, if white settlers wish to move in on the land, it has to be peaceful and in full agreement with the natives. We shouldn’t be trying to get rid of their culture but instead listen to their beliefs and keep an open mind, ideally meshing our cultures together. We can’t settle this in a biased court, we need an unbiased mediator to form an unbreakable and fair treaty.