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Government Policy And Native Americans

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Government Policy and Native Americans

Not with all the good intentions of all the best American politicians, any policies devised to help a Native American Nation could succeed without the full understanding of the diverse cultures within these Native American Nations. Any Policy made in this era is doomed to failure.

Government policy and Native Americans in the 30 years or so after the Civil War intended to shift from forced severance to integration into American society. Attempts to "Americanize" was as a death sentence to a rich culture and Quickened the death of the American Indian society, as was known, and as a presence in America. The intent of the policies, after the end of aggression, was to integrate Native Americans into American society. Many failed attempts would be made, ranging from offering citizenship to granting land to Indians. All these attempts were in vain, however, because the result of these policies is much the same as would be the result of continued aggression.

Beginning in the 1860s and lasting until the late 1780s, government policy towards Native Americans was aggressive and expressed a zero tolerance for their presence in the West. In the late 1850s, tribal leaders and Americans were briefly able to compromise on living situations and land arrangements. Noncompliance by Americans, however; resumed conflict. The beginning of what would be called the "Indian Wars" started in Minnesota in 1862. Sioux, angered by the loss of much of their land, killed five white Americans. What resulted were over 1,000 deaths of white and Native Americans. From that point on, American policy was to force Indians off their land. American troops would force Indian tribe leaders to accept treaties, taking their land from them. Protests or resistance by the Indians would result in fighting. On occasion, because of a lack of understanding and ignorance of the culture, military troops would even lash out against peaceful Indians. This aggression became out of control.

Indian policy gradually shifted from this aggressive mindset to a more peaceable and soft-line policy. The Indian Wars ended in 1980 with the Battle of Wounded Knee. The battle resulted in over 200 deaths but also, almost officially, marked a change in Indian policies. Although the change had subtly began before then, policies then became more kind. The Peace Commission created the reservation policy, although this policy is created 27 years before the Battle at Wounded Knee. The Dawes Severalty Act of 1887 was the greatest of the reform efforts. The Act provided the granting of landholding to individual Native



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