American Indians By William T. Hagan

713 Words 3 Pages
Book Review: 1

William T. Hagan, professor at the University of Oklahoma, is the author of the work “American Indians”, a non-fictional book about the history of Native Americans, and especially how religion played a vital role in their daily affairs. Hagan wrote this book to depict in graphic detail the various injustices committed against the Native Americans by the United States government, and to bring about a general awareness regarding people’s sometimes “inborn” bias against a special faith or religious faction.

Hagan begins his argument by positing that although for the average American the birth of the United States of America presented grand opportunities for success, from the viewpoint of the Indians, that would only bring
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A civilized white man visiting Indian territory was repulsed by the hideous rituals which they practiced; it only created a type of antipathy of them that made coexistence nearly impossible. Either the Indians would voluntarily submit to white authority or they would perforce be removed from their lands, relocating elsewhere, and going through an extensive “reeducation” of what it meant to live in a moral and civil society.

There have been numerous sects of Indians, just to name a few: the Chickasaws, Chippewas, and Choctaws, each with distinct “personalities”, rituals, customs and so on. To merely address the Indian problem as a general one without delineating the specific details which created it would essentially be useless and an exercise in futility.

In colonial America, the British and French peoples vied for the cooperation of and manipulated Native Americans. Control of the Indians and their territory was a means to accumulate allies, in addition to those American colonists who already supported the British. In thus acting, they sought to solidify an already weak and fragile empire. Friends and allies of the regime were pivotal for the Monarchy’s continued sovereignty over North
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The French and British fought the former; the bulk of whites fought the latter. It was like being attached to the middle of a rope and being pulled by its opposite ends; they were confronted by both purported friends and enemies and they couldn’t ascertain the difference between them. Even so, it would become clearly manifest that even their supposed “friends” evinced a bitter enmity of them. In fact, they had no allies at all. They were cornered on all sides.

A familiar practice among the Indian tribes was their common ownership of territory, as private property did not exist in those places. That they actually possessed land that made themselves almost a separate entity in the U.S. only exacerbated an already perilous situation. The white man perceived this as a threat that stymied their efforts at modernization, for in order for their travails to materialize, they would have to abdicate not only their style of life but their estates as well, thereby furthering American

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