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American Indians

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American Indians

American Indians

An ethnic group that I belong to is American Indian. Looking at me you probably could not tell but my great grandmother was full blooded Cherokee Indian. American Indians were the first settlers of what is now known as the United States of America. It was not until the European settlers discovered America did the Indian nations experience such horrific treatment.

During the colonizing of parts America a prejudicial image was created of the Indian as one of a vicious savage, and settlers who later came to that area of the country already believed this prejudicial notion. This made things even worse for the Indians; giving the settlers the shot first ask questions later mentality. These images of American Indians worth brought forth simply because the Indians were protecting their land and families. The Indians faced a great deal of prejudice after they were stamped with these unjust images. No one wanted to trust an Indian to work for them or even live in their communities, much less be friends with them.

The segregation of American Indians went into full force with Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act of 1830. The act authorized the president to grant Indian tribes unsettled western prairie land in exchange for their desirable territories within state borders, from which the tribes would be removed. This was a simple statement that no white man wanted even peaceful Indians living close to them. Many of the Indian tribes in the Southeast refused to move to the reserves. About 100,000 tribesmen were forced to march westward under U.S. military escorts in the 1830s. About 25 percent of the Indians in this march died. This trail that they marched became known as the “Trail of Tears”.

For several years now the American Indians have started standing up for what they believe in. The Indian people believe that they are Stewarts of the land. For this reason they have very involved in environmental justice issues. Indian organizers had a major role in the success of the general anti-nuclear movement, when they brought attention to uranium mining and nuclear waste effects on Indian land. In one particular incident two cemeteries were destroyed in the process of building the nuclear plant at Prairie Island Reservation in Minnesota. IT turns out that only one-third of one percent of the Environmental Protection Agency's budget is spent on Indian trust land, which is not enough to make any improvements.

Another issue that has affected Indians is affirmative action. American Indians have always faced a double edged sword when it comes to affirmative action, it can help them or it can hurt them. Russell (2007) stated that “The group



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