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The Constitution’s Effect On Native Americans Essay, Research Paper

The Constitution’s effect on Native Americans The Constitution had a great effect on Native Americans in general. They were effected in three major ways. They are; the change in where they lived and what land was considered theirs, what Religious rights they had and/or have, and lastly, how they have gone from living freely to living on reservations. Native Americans had many changes in their land. In 1830 Congress passed the “Indian Removal Act.” Andrew Jackson, the president at the time, quickly signed the bill. The Cherokee tried to keep from being removed by going to court. In the case of Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia, the court refused the case. The Cherokee didn’t accept this and went to the Supreme Court. They won the case of Worcester vs. Georgia. Because of this the Native Americans would have to agree to the removal in a formal treaty, which would have to be ratified by the Senate. The treaty of New Echota, signed by the Natives, gave Jackson the right to remove them, and the Senate ratified it, but it passed by a single vote. The Cherokee would be removed. It started in 1838. They would be moved to Oklahoma, just like the state of Georgia was promised (North Georgia history p. 1). That was one of many times they would be moved. Historical events from then on gave the United States all Native land in what is now the continental United States (Deloria 283). Native Americans have struggled for religious freedom from the first settlers and missionaries until now. Everybody is supposed to have religious freedom, but at one point the US government tried to force Christianity on to them. Also they called their religion, “worthless superstition inspired by the Christian devil, Satan.” In 1978 congress passed the American Indian Religious Freedom Act which said:

[I]t shall be the policy of the United States to protect and preserve for American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and exercise the traditional religions of the American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut, and Native Hawaiians, including but not limited to access to sites, use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through ceremonials and traditional rites.Even though this law was in place there was nothing that said it could be enforced. There still isn’t perfect freedom for them (Traveling the spiritual Path: II. Native American Spirituality). As the United States expanded with the purchase of the Louisiana Territory, Native Americans were slowly pushed out of their land so the “white man” could move in. Eventually they got their own land, reservations (North Georgia history p. 1). The reservations as a whole have little or no protection from the US government, and as individuals Native Americans have very little protection (Deloria p.282). Through out my research I have found that the constitution didn’t cause these things but only allowed them. I feel Native Americans haven’t been treated fairly at all. But there is no way to change history. Through out my research I have found that the constitution didn’t cause these things but only allowed them.


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