Native Americans and the Frontie Essay

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Native Americans and the Frontier The Native Americans of today are descendents of the Mongoloid people who migrated from Asia into N. America somewhere in between 20 to 40,000 years ago. When the Europeans rediscovered N. America at the end of the 15th century, the Native Americans whom they discovered were particularly diverse in nature. They were diverse in terms of their religion, political organisation and their language.

Aspects of the relationships between Colonists/Europeans and the Native Americans

Co-habitation: This phase of the relationship was present in the 16th, 17th and much of the 18th century. The Native Americans and the colonists lived in the same area and for a
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of a forced migration. In 1857, the policy of placing Native Americans on reservations began. In essence, this involved the government supplying the Native Americans with food and other necessities in return for the Native Americans to be confined in specified areas. Much of the Native American land base was sold of to white settlers. Some groups refused to be constricted in this way. There were many broken treaties most of them broken by white settlers.

Neo-genocide: This occurred in the later 19th century and was a particularly sad period in American history. The number of Native Americans fell very substantially during this period. The Native Americans of the plains suffered heavily from the Vigilante groups which decimated the buffalo herds which was fundamental to these Native Americans. In addition, the building of railways, roads, ports, military forts and the incursion of miners looking for gold all interfered with the livelihood and lifestyle of the plains. Hostilities were widespread, fighting was fierce and atrocities occurred on both sides.

Forced assimilation: In the late 19th century, when fighting was still ongoing on the frontier in the west between the Native Americans and the settlers, attitudes were changing on the east coast. The Civil War had been fought in part to free a minority group (black

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