Treatment of Native Americans by Europeans Essay

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Native Americans have faced increasing encroachment by European and Euro-American settlers since the discovery of the Americas by Europeans in 1492. Beginning with the Caribs, mistakenly labeled as Indians by Christopher Columbus, continuing with the ‘Indian Wars’ waged by the U.S. government against such tribes as the Lakota and Apache, and lasting until today, native peoples have had to adjust and adapt constantly to survive. Native peoples have had to use and balance their ‘historical agency,’ or the ability of a people to affect the world around them throughout history, against the ‘structural forces’ set up by outsiders and foreign governments, which seek to limit their impact on the world. Both Andrew Fisher and Jeffrey Ostler have …show more content…
During the 1700s, the Lakota moved westward, closer to the Black Hills, before settling in villages along the Missouri River and hunting near the Black Hills themselves (Ostler, 7). Due to the movement of the Lakota over time, some Americans believed that the Lakota did not truly own the Black Hills. With this reasoning, the U.S. government began to move into the Black Hills and occupy the land. The Lakota responded by defeating U.S. forces at the Battle of Little Big Horn, but despite the defeat, the government eventually sent the Manypenny commission, which was tasked with getting the Lakota to sell the Black Hills to the U.S. government. Upon coaxing the signatures of 230 various Native Americans in the region, the commission sent word to Congress that the Lakota had agreed to sell the Black Hills. Congress quickly approved, and the Black Hills were taken from the Lakota, only with 10 percent of the signatures needed out of an 1868 treaty mandate of 75 percent (Ostler, 101). Without the Black Hills, the Lakotas lost a crucial component of their tribal identity, and have worked over time to get the Black Hills back under their control. In Fisher’s Shadow Tribe: the Making of the Columbia River Indian Identity, The Columbia River Indians are described with extraordinary detail, especially considering that the Columbia River Indians,

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