American Indians are the native inhabitants of America. They lived in the United States many years before its colonization. Their peaceful existence was interrupted by the coming of the Europeans who forced them to leave their land. Some fought the intruders while others decided to cooperate with the Europeans.
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Since then the American Indians faced struggles as they become isolated from the mainstream American life. Due to their disadvantage in numbers faced segregation. The American Indians faced discrimination, segregation and racism due to their status as minorities.
Prejudice of American Indians began after the coming of Europeans. Some of the indigenous American put up a spirited fight against the Europeans and often attacked the Europeans.
The Europeans saw the American Indians as a savage group that deserved to be isolated due to its barbaric ways. The Europeans believed that the American Indians were inferior and they did not given them an opportunity to gain education (Hale, 2002) or convert to Christianity as they were thought to be of a different species from the whites.
The negative attitude towards American Indians led to prejudices against them and it continued long after the country has gained independence and prejudices and stereotypes against the Native Americans continued to promote their segregation.
The American Indians experience racism in America. Racism is reinforced by prejudices that have been passed down from one generation to another. The communities where the American Indians live or the tribal areas lack security because they do not have adequate police officers patrolling the areas.
Consequently, the level of crime is high in such communities and cases of violence against American Indians are high. The rate of prosecuting and bringing to justice people who commit heinous acts against them is slow. There is a feeling that the American justice system does not protect the American Indians.
The mainstream American population often discriminates against the American Indian and stereotypes reinforce the practice of racism against American Indians. It is also important to note that the issue of racism against American Indians is not given much coverage as when people hear of racism they think about African Americans (Fletcher, 2008).
The ideology of segregation was also perpetuated by the leaders such as James Madison and Thomas Jefferson who were of the belief that American Indians were savages who did not have the ability to cope in the mainstream American society (Segregation, 2011).
The process of segregation was boosted by the act passed in 1830 called the Indian removal act. The Act forced American Indians to be moved westwards. Many American Indians lost their lives in the march dubbed trail of tears.
The displacement of American Indians from their land amounts to environmental justice issues as the process put the American Indians at a disadvantage when compared with other groups of people in America. As a result, movements have come up to demand justice, equal and fair treatment of the American Indians.
The American Indians also contributed to their own segregation by having their own schools. The other form of segregation was redlining in which banks and other financial institutions discriminated against the Indian Americans by marking out regions where they live not to receive loans. They hence could not improve their economic status (Chavers, 2009).
The duo labor market causes unequal job opportunities. There are good and bad jobs depending on the quality (Hudson, 2008). People in good jobs earn higher wages and have opportunities to advance career wise through education and training. Conversely, people in bad jobs earn less and have reduced opportunities to advance.
A large number of American Indians fall in this group, as they do not have high educational attainment due to lack of good educational opportunities and drop out from school (Glass Ceiling Commission, n.d.). On the other hand, American Indian women face barriers in the workplace. Most are locked from attaining top leadership levels in organizations.
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They also face external glass ceiling from the society that is prejudiced against the American Indians. The women also face internal barriers within organizations that deny the women an opportunity to advance. Moreover, the organizations also curtail the opportunity for the women making it to the top at the initial placement where the women are placed in positions that may not lead to growth.
I belong to the American Indian group but it is not easy to tell because it was my father’s great grandfather had pure American Indian blood. I identify with my cultural group and participate in activities that celebrate the American Indian culture. Sometimes I visit my relatives who live in the tribal communities and participate in the communal activities. I read about the history of my people and visit museums to learn more about the culture.
On the other, had I also identify with the American main culture as I feel I am a person with an equal opportunity to achieve whatever I wish as I have an opportunity to acquire an education and pursue my dream career. Thus, I participate at both cultures equally to benefit from both.
Chavers, D. (2009). Racism in Indian country. New York: Peter Lang.
Capture, H.G., Champagne, D., & Jackson, C. (2007). American Indian nations: yesterday, today, and tomorrow. New York: Rowman Altamira.
Fletcher, M. (2008). American Indian education: counter narratives in racism, struggle, and the law. New York: Taylor & Francis.
Glass Ceiling Commission. (n.d.). Web.
Hale, L. (2002). Native American education: a reference handbook. California: ABC-CLIO.
Hudson, K. (2008). Dual Labor Market and Its Work-Family Implications. Web.
Segregation. (2011). Web.