Native Americans and Cultural Assimilation Essays

1934 Words 8 Pages
Native Americans have had a long history of resistance to the social and cultural assimilation into white culture. By employing various creative strategies, Native Americans have attempted to cope with the changes stemming from the European colonial movement into the Americas. There are fundamental differences in world views and cultural and social orders between Indians and Europeans, which contributed to conservatism in Native American cultures. In this paper, two aspects of such cultural and institutional differences of Native American societies will be examined: holistic Native American beliefs versus dualistic world views and harmony versus domination. These two aspects are important in terms of explaining changes (or lack thereof) in Native American societies because they suggest that the Native American world view is more cyclical and its components are interlinked, while Western societies have a clear demarcation between cultural elements, such as religion, kinship, and morality. However, there are certain limitations to the theoretical frameworks that explain conservatism in Indian cultures because these theories are oriented around the Western world view and were developed based on the Western terms; therefore, indigenous population was not taken into account when these theories were developed.
Duane Champagne in Social Change and Cultural Continuity Among Native Nations explains that there has never been one definitive world view that comprises any one Native…