Analysis of American Indians in U.S. History

In Roger L. Nichols’ book, “American Indians in U.S. History,†it presents the objective to have readers understand the European invasion, the independence of the Indians and how they communicated trade and lifestyles, and the Indians being forced to leave their homes. I believe Nichols is successful in his writings because he clearly defines a specific chapter and a section to each of the invasions of the Spanish, French, Dutch, and the English. He also explains how and when the first meeting of the white men and the Indians were the ones who wanted trade and meet them first, later the Indians realized that they were not being traded with fairly and were being taken advantage of . The thesis is to prove the American Indians were not passive. Nichols was very successful in his writings.
In general, the overall framework of the Natives in this book was interest in the new people and what they had brought to their land then learning how people (the Europeans) could change their land, beliefs, family, and lives within a relatively short period of time . I do believe that Roger Nichols is successful in telling us what the Indians went through when the Europeans came over. I believe that overall the Indians were passive victims unable to affect the world around them when they had the interactions with the Europeans. I think that the American Indians thought that they were an active part of the world changing. Truthfully, they did not have the knowledge, let alone the tools that were being used around them to be an active part of the world changing. For example, King Williams War, which was with the French and the English they affected the Indians too . “It lasted for eight years and dragged tribal people into a situation that tied international issues to local trade.†(Nichols 65-66).
The English colonists were represented as greedy and ungrateful. They were not worried about the how the Indians felt or what they told them their rights would be. They were liars. Around the 1730’s the leaders of tribes told their people to stop talking to the American colonists because they believed they were the ones who ruined their people by bringing over diseases that were killing their people, alcohol that was infecting their people and changing their men to think that they could be dependent on trade goods instead of hunting . Yes, this does differ from what I have read in the past and what I believed previously about the American colonists in history books. I have always read that they were equal with the Indians and they learned so much from them. I also thought that the Indians and American colonists traded people to learn about their ways of life, which is true in some cases, but most I learned with reading the narrative that Indians were kidnapped and taken and the American colonists were captured by the Indians. This is far different than what I thought and how I learned it in books.
The American Revolution was one of the greatest achievements that America ever had, but for the American Indian population this was a time of betrayal. “By the time the United States gained its independence, the tribal groups within its borders saw little to celebrate.†(Nichols 79). The native people felt that by the American Revolution taking place many of the tribes that had alliances were betrayed and knew that the only thing to come was that they were just going to lose more of what they had and more of their people. The way that the American Revolution impacted the American Indians is they felt lost and confused. They felt unsure of what to believe and also knew that they were now going to have to face an aggressive government and people who hated them and they could do nothing about it. The American Indians were viewed as hated people when the war was over as a group and to very cautious of them. The Indians lost from this war because they lost their alliances with the Europeans because they didn’t keep their word, also they lost their land and villages, and they now also had to deal with someone in charge of what they did because their land was no longer theirs, they had been put under the government as well. Seventy- five years later, when the west coast became part of the United States, the natives population in California had gone down by 75 percent. (Nichols 90). The overall objective to aid the American Indian communities was to educate them. The reformers hoped to gain that the Indians would take to their ways and become educated and teach them their religion. The Indians that were so defeated began to see that the white man’s way as the only way of survival . The way the reformers went about achieving their objectives was by taking the Indians and put them into schools. Congress had an Indian Civilization fund with an annual donation of 10,000 in addition to existing treaties to further educate him American Indians to read . They put money in a fund of 10,000 a year to support the Indian schools, but the Indians did not want this to happen they wanted to just go back to their way of living, but they realized that that was not going to happen. After the Indian boys returned from school chief said the students are,†absolutely good for nothing,†(Nichols 63). He had wanted to take white boys and teach them to kill deer, hunt beaver, and surprise the enemy he said,†make men out of them.†(Nichols 63). The reformers were not helpful to the natives they had lost a good portion of their and the diseases were ramped in the villages . The reformers felt in the end that they had done a good job of relocating the tribes and those they were looking out for their best interest. The Indians however, felt that moving them had brought them great stress and misery .
Yes, the American Indians did essentially disappear because after the Dawes act and Wounded Knee because they were no longer considered important. The Dawes out was not thought out because the Indians didn’t know what to do with the land they just wanted to go back to their old way of living. It was supposed to benefit the Indians but in the end the whites just got all of the land back because the Indians did not want to become farmers and had no water access so if they did grow any crops they would not be profitable. With this happening they ended up leasing their land back to the white men. The last 4 decades for the American Indian community did not go well. Those that could get their lands plotted next to each other continued to have their tribal fashion and those that had separated land did not know how to cultivate the land or take care of the livestock they had. Where livestock was considered they did not have the means to properly fence their land therefore them and the whites would be in a constant battle with their cattle eating and grazing on their grasslands .
American Indians in U.S. History gave me a better understanding of the white man an Indian struggles. The most significant thing I learned about the Indian struggles was the rapid decline n population due to the fighting and killings that went on. They were attacked by every group including other tribes. It saddened me to know went from 150,000 to 30,000 within a 13 year span. After completing this book, I came away thinking that the native American Indian was manipulated into believing and forced into giving up their territories and their families compromised by greed from the white man to benefit financially through brute force and power with the us government backing the white man. The Dawes act was a turning point for the white man and the demise of the Indian reservation. Perhaps the choice of many tribes to align with the confederates to join with the Civil War was not the best choice as the U.S. government was more powerful .

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