The Conflict Between Indians And Indians

1515 WordsApr 10, 20177 Pages
Throughout this course, many of the readings focused heavily on land and its connection to every issue and theme associated with American Indians. The land has been a site of much conflict between Indians and colonists. From reservations to relocation and everything in between, the treatment of Native people in the United States is intertwined with the varied ways in which both Indians and settlers understood and used land. Moreover, many of the injustices inflicted on Indians stemmed from the federal government’s insistence that Indians operate on the land in a manner consistent with the government’s ideas and desire about what land use ought to look like. In a discussion surrounding Indians and land, it would be remiss not to consider…show more content…
Their problem was in not recognizing the indigenous peoples’ prior claims to the land. Instead, they invaded Native space and set themselves up as the dominant group. As time passed, colonists looked for scientific justifications for their mistreatment of Indians. For example, the theory of Lewis Morgan, in the mid-1800’s. Morgan ranked societies based on their level of civilization, from savagery, to barbarism, to civilization. “Savages were disorganized foragers...Barbarians owned their farms in common...Civilized people prospered through individual acquisition of land…” For Morgan, the level of civilization any society had achieved was connected to the way in which they lived- how they used the land. In this way, indigenous lifestyles relating to land were used as proof that they were less than western, European societies. Non-western land use became a tool to further justify the colonists’ occupation of Native land. There is little doubt that the ability of a nation to own and use land is tied up with its ability to exercise its own sovereignty. In her article “Borders and Borderlands”, Juliana Barr discusses the connection between defined borders and sovereignty. For Barr, recognizing Native sovereignty is inextricably linked with
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