The Myth Of The Vanishing Indian Essay

1699 Words 7 Pages
The Myth of the Vanishing Indian has served a vital function in U.S. history. The removal of the Cherokees indeed illustrates the pervasiveness of this myth. After the arrival of the Europeans to the Americas, the indigenous population dwindled significantly. This myth attempts to explain this phenomena by claiming that the disappearance of Native Americans after their contact with the European settlers was inevitable unless they assimilate because they were “culturally and genetically weaker”. Essentially, the myth was formulated by the white people to justify taking Native American land because they were interested in expanding the United States. The pervasiveness of the Myth of the Vanishing Indian can demonstrated with the Cherokee removal …show more content…
Civilization Program and assimilate the Native Americans to white culture in order to maintain peace with them. Nevertheless, their main intention was to acquire land from the indigenous people. During that era of history, the Cherokees were suffering economically due to the deterioration of the deerskin market because the deers were dying off. As a result, the tribe was experiencing a lack of food and President George Washington pitched a solution after noticing this. First and foremost, Washington encouraged the Cherokees to shift into a farming-based society as opposed to hunting, claiming that it would alleviate their hunger issues. However, this indicates that they won’t need a vast amount of land for their hunting lifestyle, thus giving the U.S the opportunity to buy it. Because of this, the government aimed to teach the Cherokees about the economic value of their property. The United States was looking to “expand with honor”, so the government resorted to more creative methods such as this to take Native land without inflicting violence. The Myth of the Vanishing Indian comes to play here because the U.S. is urging the Cherokees to leave their “savage” hunting lifestyle behind and adopt farming. Although farming played a role in Cherokee society, the fact that they are being encouraged to abandon hunting depicts that if they decide to assimilate, a part of their cultural identity will disappear. …show more content…
The Treaty Party, which was a minority political faction of Cherokees, signed the treaty. Therefore, the Cherokee territory was ceded to the United States legally since a treaty is a legal document. After this point, the United States had the right to relocate the Cherokees west of the Mississippi River. It was widely believed that Cherokee politician John Ridge was bribed by U.S officials into signing the treaty and consequently, he was brutally murdered by his fellow tribe members after they moved west. In May 1838, the U.S military had circled the Cherokee Nation in order to enforce this treaty. Thousands of indigenous people ended up perishing in the detrimental journey due to the lack of food and bitter winter. The United States government didn’t have to take responsibility for this tragic outcome because the Cherokees agreed to the treaty, even though a minority group signed it. Therefore, the brutality of the Trail of Tears was lawful and allowed to occur due to this legal document being

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