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Land ownership was the leading cause of the conflict between Native-American civilization and western settlement by American citizens. The entry of the colonialists into Native America was the beginning of the suffering of the Native Americans. The colonialists considered themselves civilized and did not want to stay in the same lands s the Native Americans. They wanted to take the Native American lands by buying them at a lower price and evicting the Indians to move from the east to west.
However, this was difficult at first because of the proclamation that prohibited occupation of land acquisition beyond the eastern ranges. This did not last for long as the Revolutionary War changed it all; the settlers had gotten access to the native land by either buying it or exchanging it with a land in the east.
The first policy that the settlers were suing was the assimilation policy where they claimed that they wanted to civilize the Indians. However, the situation changes in 1812 when the policy of assimilation of the native lands was no longer effective, and the Indians forcefully moved to the west. This was because of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, (Cassinelli pp 114). The forceful eviction of the Native Americans from their lands referred to as the Cherokee as the Trail of Tears.
Many Indians lost their lives due to the long walk they had to make, to the lands in the western part of the Mississippi river. The native Indians not only lost their lands but also their culture in this eviction. Other Indians lost their lives as they were organizing attacks against the settlers. They had the determination to protect their culture and land, but the law and the settlers were too powerful.
The Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminoles resolved to join the Confederate conference in 1861. They sent representatives to the conference to voice their suffering. However, the natives got punished after the war. The natives had to sell their lands at extremely low prices, give up their territories, and agree to let the railway pass through their land.
The main blow came in 1887 when the Dawes Act was put into effect. The act stated that the communal land holding was no longer accepted and that everyone should hold private lands.
The Indians were given twenty five years to start owning private lands after which they would become eligible citizens of America. The policy aimed at reducing the land owned by the Indians and gave it to the settlers. Thomas Jefferson’s vision of the yeoman was the one who had the idea of taking the land. He envisioned a land full of farmers doing different activities that can generate income.
This is how they saw the lifestyles of the native Americas; a life with no vision. The Euro Americans wanted to teach the Native Americans their way of life because they saw themselves as more superior than the natives. They saw their way of life as the most civilized of all cultures.
This was because the Indians valued land and did not believe in cultivation of all the land. The Euro-Americans considered this a waste of fertile land that was fertile and could be put into use. The motive behind the assimilation of the native American into the European way of doing thins was to destroy the Native American culture by assimilating them into the main stream society, (Parks, Pierpont Morgan Library, Nelson, Wiles pp 132).
The other policy of assimilation was the forceful education system that used on the Indian children. The Native American children got separated from their parent’s, and taken to boarding schools where they were `shaped’ to fit into the civilized word. The children did not communicate their native language when they were in school.
The other conflict between the Native Americans and the euro Americans was the slave trade. This was particularly common in Virginia and Carolina states. The settlers took advantage of the rivalries among the native tribes to get slaves and use them in their farms. The settlers got slaves from the villages, and took to the slave market where interested buyers would come and make their choices.
The attacks forced the natives to flee from their lands and go to places where there were no raids. This was an added advantage to the settlers as they occupied these pieces of land without a buying them. In 1704, they captured about 1000 Native Americans, and 300 killed in Californian State only. This shows the extent to which the settlers would go just to get the fertile lands where they would practice farming, (Cox, Cox pp 234).
Effects of the Conflict
The effects of the conflicts between the Native Americans and the Euro Americans were extremely adverse, because the natives ended up getting assimilated into the western culture. They lost not only their land, but also their lives in the struggle to remain intact. The Euro Americans wanted to get the fertile lands owned by the natives and put it into useful projects like farming. In order to do this, they had to form acts that could help them acquire the pieces of land.
Cassinelli, Peter. Native American land conflicts: the Western Shoshone’s changing concept of land, 1863-1979. Carolina: San Jose State University, 1979.Print.
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Cox, Eugene, Cox, Joyce. An American Saga: Some East Tennessee Taylors. New York: iUniverse, 2011,Print.
Parks, Robert, Pierpont Morgan Library, Nelson Christine and Wiles Stephanie. From Jackson to Lincoln: democracy and dissent. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995, Print.