Native American Project Grace mclean 3A

Introduction

My name is Running Bear. I am a Sioux tribe leader, born on this land. There are many men here today who were not born by the creator of these plains who take what is not theirs. My people have been laid to rest by invaders upon these fields and hills we call home; the white man is not bringing peace but war. My brothers and sisters are falling like the evening sun and while we hurt, you gain. We are a part of this land without claiming it as ours; you try to own it. We restore Mother Nature’s graces; you rob her of them. We protect ourselves; you massacre us. My people are not the savages, you are. For the most part, what you do is for yourselves while telling us it’s for the best. You do not know what is best for us when you are not us. You started allotment of land to help manage the property that is not yours nor ours. We do not believe in ownership of anything but culture. You believe in ownership of everything including our culture. When you put us on reservations you took away our freedom and lifestyle. You cannot sell and section what is not yours, but somehow you have managed to do just that. You have also taken everything we use and need and depleted the world of her charms. The bison are diminishing; the land is being torn for gold and silver. You soil our waters and reap what we sew. The Black Hills were not formed to be torn down and flattened for business, yet again taking things that are not yours. I witnessed you take our daughters and sons with a swift movement of a finger on a cold piece of metal, and you took my little White Dove from me in this attack. When you did this you were protecting your people from inconvenience in the settling of the land that is not yours, but all the while taking us out one by one. The Wounded Knee lands are blood-covered and now represent the beliefs of the white government. We have all been affected by selfishness and we are not allowed to recover at the slightest. These are a few of the many struggles we Natives endure on the great plains and I have a strong desire to help end them once and for all, for everyone.

Problems

Land Ownership: We believe the land belongs to all and none. We keep it healthy and clean and respect the lands given to us. No one can just take pieces and break it apart. The whites believe they can chunk up the land and use it for money. They have hunted so many bison that they will not exist much longer. They have taken gold from our hills and created farmland where we used to roam and live.
Valuable Resources on Native land/ U.S. people wanting them: On much of our land, there is much to offer. We live on gold-filled hills and prairies running wild with living profit in the white man's eyes. Our land includes valuable minerals like gold and silver as well as bison and many other animals with useful hides. The white men want what we have and they want to destroy our land for it while they push us out of our birth-place and into new, dangerous territory.
Broken Promises made by U.S. officials: The U.S. government promised us many oxen in trade for our horses and ponies, but we received very little oxen and supplies. In my tribe, they took 63 of our horses. In turn, we were given 12 oxen. They also promised us protection and safety from being harassed and attacked. We were still attacked and raided by settlers often and our reservations were lessened. The U.S. also broke our trust when they almost caused our main source of life to go extinct. They mass-hunted bison and soon we were left with no food, though they told us there was plenty for us in other areas.
Fear of Violence Outbreaks between settlers and Natives: The white settlers were afraid that we were going to lash out and attack them, so they in turn attacked us and took our land on reservations. This was a large problem because then we were blamed for being cruel and raging when we defended ourselves and tried to fend off attackers. We were then labeled as savages and punished for this.

Attempts to Solve and How They Failed

Reservations/allotment: To try to solve our issue between land ownership, the whites forced us into sectioned off lands called reservations. This plan failed us and the promises we were given because we were stripped of freedom and still not protected from attack; we never received sufficient payments or trade. These reservations were later attacked by settlers and raided, leaving us with no safety or home. They also created the Dawe's Act (1887) to try to give us land and freedom, but this plan was changed in the settlers favor and ended up harming us badly by taking our land and our culture away.
Valuable Resources on Native land/ U.S. settlers wanting it: To try to solve this problem, the U.S. simply pushed us into foreign lands, forcing us to invade other tribes and have to fend for ourselves. This was all so they could use our resources and tear up the hills and valleys we called home. They never truly wanted or tried to fix this issue other than taking it over and making us leave. They didn't even try to pay us out of it, we would not have left for money anyway. This failed obviously because we could not be pushed out of existence just for them to earn money by ruining sacred ground. We eventually fought back and did not take the cruel treatment.
Farming and Oxen: to solve the problem of broken promises of the U.S. and their mass killing of our main source of food and supplies (bison), the U.S. gave us farmland to grow food and survive off of. This plan failed because they only gave us a small portion of land that was barren and infertile. We also did not know how to farm this land since we were primarily hunters. Also, raiders took more and more of our farmland so they could spread out and farm for themselves, so we did not receive the reciprocal of what we gave in the first place even after this was attempted to be solved.
Assimilation: To solve the fear of violence between settlers and Natives, the whites tried to force us into their world "for our own good", as if they know what is best for us. They killed our culture and took away what made us, us. This plan failed just like the reservations when we refused to give up our heritage and liberty. We are perceived as savage and uncivilized, but we at least know how to be ourselves and run our land. They gave this up when they realized they couldn't break our spirits.

My Solutions

Difference in Land Ownership/ ideas: I believe to solve this problem there should be a census where the U.S. finds out what percent of each state is Native American blood. From there, each tribe % out of the entire population of each state should get that % of land of the total acreage of that state. So if Wyoming was 18% Native American, these tribes should get a total of 18% of Wyoming to do with what they please and the government can not interfere. This was it would be a fair share of land and we would still get our bison and culture, and the white settlers would get their fair share. To prevent invaders and attacks on each side, there will be strict boundaries for each party with guards to ensure there is no violence. Both parties must follow laws made by the U.S. government, if there is a fair election to include some natives into the government if they choose to help run this newly built and arranged country. There will be disagreements on this like what the location of each party's land is, but it will be evaluated by a land surveyor of both parties first to ensure equality.
Valuable Resources on Native land/ U.S. settlers wanting it: to solve this issue, I believe the land should be kept sacred and returned back to the tribes who lived upon it. This does not mean the government should completely leave this alone, but give us the choice to mine the gold or hunt the bison for their own profit to sell to the settlers. I believe it should be left alone, but that is not realistic. So, as I mentioned, the former tribes who lived upon the soils of valuable resources should be allowed back into this territory and given half the rights to the profits that came out of it already. Then they should be able to decide what is done with the land and her gifts. In a fair vote, of course, we shall decide if we would like to continue using this land for money or for living upon peacefully. We do not have complete control over these areas, but should be given the choice to return if we want to and have a say in what happens to it.
Broken Promises made by the U.S.: To solve this once and for all, all Indians should be given back our ponies and horses. We should be able to keep a few oxen for the new farmland we have from the previous statement/solution. This would give us back more freedom and allow us to be able to hunt for bison efficiently again. We should also be given instruction on farming and shave farmers help us figure out how to grow crops. This will allow us to be self sustaining again without taking settlers' land or profits/goods. We, as Natives to this land, deserve our fair share. No more treaties and contracts but this, and it shall not be amended without our complete consent. We will only be given the amount of horses taken from us, preferably the same horses taken. We will also not keep all oxen, just enough to plow and farm with.
Fear of violence between settlers and Natives: my solution for this issue of the mind alone is to create borders as stated before of our prosperous and shared land and of settler's self-owned land. There is no way to ensure complete safety between each party because there are many more disagreements and rule-breaking, but with boundaries with guards, the point should be clear enough. Anyone who breaks these rules of boundaries and harms either party shall be punished (equally for either party) for the deed. This is not segregation because the boundaries are just to keep one land the way we like it peacefully while the other part is divided the way you like it. We can intermix if we want, but if we do not, do not consider us different countries all in all. I can only guarantee that me and my people will keep to our business over our territory and leave you in peace as much as possible as long as you leave us in our state of peace.

Works Cited

https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=50

https://www.iltf.org/resources/land-tenure-history/allotment

https://www.nps.gov/wica/learn/historyculture/history-of-the-black-hills.htm

Credits:

Created with images by antje89 - "buffalo oklahoma bison" • tpsdave - "john stanley painting oil on canvas" • hoeldino - "black forest hiking st peter" • Tobyotter - "Big Ox" • L. Richard Martin, Jr. - "Eagle Point on Hualapai American Indian Reservation" • meganelford0 - "potato field crops" • USA-Reiseblogger - "usa america washington"

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