Patriot's History: Indians in the 1800s (Chap 11)

Music: Native American Sounds

Summary
The Indians: what's myth and what's reality?
Most damaging is governmental policy.
Both tribes and troops are warlike, both encroach.
Assimilation seems the best approach.

Chapter
The Indians: what's myth and what's reality?
Regarding the environment, they're thought to be
good stewards of the land, extracting what they need
and little else. But they displayed "the white man's greed"
in slaughtering the buffalo, and sought to clear
the forest, girdling trees to kill them. The frontier
was surely marked by white encroachment, but the flaw
was largely governmental policy and law:
the fraud by those involved in Indian Affairs
betrayed the natives. Still, no policy compares
with Army attitudes -- exterminationist
for sure. Romantics wanted all to co-exist,
and others wanted natives to assimilate,
but Army men intended to eradicate
them all. From Andrew Jackson, man of cruelty,
disdaining Constitutional authority
to slaughter native 'friends.' To Sherman, Sheridan,
and others overstepping roles, 'custodian'
of western lands meant waging war. Yet natives, too,
were warlike -- like the Sioux, who would subdue
their enemies to seek expansion. Crazy Horse
and Sitting Bull were leaders of the Sioux. The course
of history was speeded up by two events:
at Little Bighorn Colonel Custer's arrogance
resulted in a slaughter. And at Wounded Knee,
in South Dakota, failed attempts to oversee
disarmament of Sioux became a tragedy,
another devastation of humanity.
So co-exist? Exterminate? Assimilate?
Although the net effects are hard to calculate,
assimilating natives seems to be the key,
a gradual adjustment to society.

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