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Bury Me Essay, Research Paper

Chapter 1 describes when it began that the first native Indians got into slavery of the White due to the discovery of what Columbus thought was India (giving the inhabitants the name Indio), but in fact was America (he landed in San Salvador on October 12, 1492). He described them as the most friendly and peaceful people in the world, but nonetheless stated that they should adopt European working habits and be christianised. It followed that many of the Indians were killed or taken as slaves and shipped to Europe by the Spaniards or their settlements taken over and put under Spanish reign.

The British came more than one century later, and they pursued a different strategy, making good friends with the Indians in the beginning to get their trustiness. The Indians helped Englishmen to survive during the winter, giving the food and letting them live with them. After living together in peace for a certain time, they crowned the tribe Chief of the Powhatans (Wahunsonacook), named him King Powhatan, and a white man was even allowed to marry his daughter, Pocahontas. In the end though, the English, who had first landed in Virginia (1607) and Massachusetts (1620) behaved exactly the same as the Spaniards, killing many Indians and taking others as slaves or shipping them to Europe to have cheap workers and make money with them.

During the centuries, more and more European colonists mainly British, Dutch and French came to America to take more and more land away from the natives. As settlements grew, the Indians were more and more forced to move westward. Treaties were signed, but broken again and battles between Indians and white settlers mostly ended with the Indians losing their land as well as many men, women and even children.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Iroquois, Ottawas, Shawnees, Miamis, Cherokee, Hurons and many other mighty tribes fought their battles and again had to surrender to the White s power and if not killed, they were often concentrated into camps. Through laws in 1830 and 1834, the Indians were banned beyond the Mississippi (which should be a permanent frontier) and trade between Whites and Indians was regulated, because President Andrew Jackson (known with the Indians as Sharp Knife) thought that white men and Indians could not live together in peace.

Nonetheless, big eastern tribes like the Cherokees were driven even farther westward or also extinct as in 1838, gold was discovered in the Appalachian mountains. The same happened in 1848 in California and in 1850 in the mountains of Colorado. Again, many white people in the search for gold broke into Indian territory, and therefore, the government introduced Manifest Destiny, a paper which gave the Whites control over the whole of America, making them responsible for the Indians. This way, the permanent frontier along the 95th meridian line had practically vanished as over thirty million European settlers drove into the Indian country. With the great Civil War beginning in 1860, the Indians hoped that they would be relieved from their pressure, but this was not the case.

The biggest and strongest western tribe, the Sioux, together with associated tribes like the Cheyennes, who lived in Minnesota, were moved to the west, overrun by the white power and had no chance to escape but to die through white weapons or adopt the White s behaviour.

Apaches and Navahos, also related to one another (some of their most known Chiefs being Mangas Colorado and Cochise (Apache) as well as Manuelito (Navaho)), tried to fight some land back from the Whites, but did not succeed, and the Whites retaliated this by killing all their livestock, leaving them with nothing to breed or eat and also having to adopt White behaviour, as happened with the Modocs or Nez Perc s, who lived in the far West (northern California and southern Oregon).

These struggles continued for another thirty years onward from the beginning of the Civil War, before in December 1890, the final end of Indian freedom in America came at Wounded Knee.


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