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Matthew Davies

Christopher Case
History 2200
04 May 2015
Eportfolio Assignment 2200
America has been a country of immigrants, many different races and backgrounds have
come to settle in the United States. However, for all of these immigrants the journey has not
been easy, and the acceptance into American culture at the time of the immigrants arrival has
always been a challenge. It is very difficult to pick one of these groups/nationalities who have
had the most difficult time being accepted in America. However I would argue that the group
that have and the most difficult time are the Native Americans.
There is much debate as to where the native Americans came from, and when they
came to America, however the most common theory is that Native Americans came form
Eurasia over a land bridge when sea water was lower. It is estimated that this land bridge only
existed until about 12,000 years ago. It is said that Navajos and Apaches, as members of the
Athapaskan language family, are generally believed to have been among the last peoples to
have crossed the land bridge from Siberia to Alaska thousands of years ago during the last Ice
Age (Everyculture/Navajos/History/The First Navajos In America). Further it is said, with Native
American tribes such as the Tlingit, there are different theories and legends that speak of their
migration, Tlingit legends speak of migrations into the area for several possible directions,
either from the north as a possible result of the Bering Sea land bridge, or from the southwest,
after a maritime journey from the Polynesian islands across the Pacific. Oral tradition hold that
the Tlingit came from the head of the rivers (Everyculture/Tlingit/Early History). Reasons for the
migration of the Native Americans are unknown, though it is believed that many left due to lack
of food in their current living environment. Regardless of the origin of the Native Americans, it is
evident that they were the first to arrive in the Americas, and as such begins why the Native
Americans had the most difficult time being excepted into American society.
From the beginning of what is believed to be Americas history, the Native Americans
have been persecuted, driven from their land, and even killed. Since the white man stepped foot
on the American continent, to the present day, Native Americans have taken nothing but abuse
from the United States of America. Upon the arrival of the Europeans the American continent,
historians have estimated that the population of Native Americas was anywhere from 20 million
to 100 million. However the plague that would eventually sweep the West, (caused by the white
man), would kill at least 90 percent of the native population. During this time, not only were the
Native Americans being killed due to the white mans disease, but their land was also being
taken in order to colonize the soon to be United States of America. One of the worst cases of
the Native Americans being removed from their homeland is the Trail of Tears, carried out by
President Andrew Jackson.
The Indian Removal Act of 1840 was passed by Congress on May 28, 1830. The law
authorized President Andrew Jackson to force remove Native Americans from their ancestral
homelands in the southeastern part of the United States, to an Indian Territory designated for
them west of the Mississippi River. The forced evacuation included many Native American
groups such as the Cherokee, Muscogee, Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw, some of whom
were not even asserted with American society. In 1838 and 1839, as part of Andrew Jacsons
Indian removal policy, the Cherokee nation was forced to give up islands east of the Mississippi
River and to migrate to an area in present-day Oklahoma. The Cherokee people called this
journey the Trail of Tears, because of its devastating effects. The migrants faced hunger,

disease, and exhaustion on the forced march. Never 4,000 out of 15,000 of the Cherokees died
(pbs). This act was one of the most horrible examples of how Native Americans have been
treated in their homeland. Based on their heritage, skin, and sometimes just the pure greed of
the white man, Native Americans have been killed. Because of the high demand of the white
man, the government would offer money for Native Americans to continue to migrate westward.
The government promised great land and money for their migration, although the promises
would never be fulfilled. The federal government actively promoted individual land ownership
and westward migration. In 1811, Congress approved construction of the Cumberland Road,
which later became known as the National Road (Olson & Beal 64). A powerful poet James K.
Paulding echoed the emotions of those who left their homelands during this time of hardship.
Hence comes it, that our meanest farmers boy
Aspires to taste the proud and manly joy
That springs from holding in his own dear right
The land he plows, the homes he seeks at night;
And hence it comes, he leaves his friends and home,
Mid distant wilds and dangers drear to roam,
To seek a competence or find a grave,
Rather than live a hireling or a slave. (Olson & Beal 65)
The removal of the Native Americans homelands was more than a place to live. To Native
Americans, their homeland is part of them, it is in their culture and their religion. An example of
the land they had being used in a religious way is found in our textbook, when Native Americans
were trying to explain their reasons for the Blue Lake being so important to them We dont have
gold temples in this lake, but we have a sign of a living God to whom we pray-the living trees,
the evergreen and spruce and the beautiful rocks and the lake itself. We are taking that water
to give us strength so we can gain in knowledge and wisdom That is the reason this Blue
Lake is so important to us (Olson & Beal 321). The emotional aspect of what happened to them
was far more than what could be understood by the white man.
After the removal of the Native Americans land, the government of the Untied States felt
bad for what they had done. Because of this guilt, they gave land back to the Native Americans.
However, the land that was given to Native Americans was not their original homeland, but
rather the desert land that the American government felt they had no use for. After this, Native
Americans still struggled to find acceptance as citizens of the United States. In fact, Indian in
Arizona and New Mexico were not allowed to vote in state and national elections until 1948. In
1957 Utah finally allowed Indians living on reservations to vote-the last remain state to do so. It
required a 1976 U.S Supreme Court ruling to force Apache County, Arizona, where the
population was 70 percent Navajo, to allow Navajos to serve on its board of
supervisors (Everyculture/Navajo/History/Relations With The United States).
The persecution against Native Americans left them educated, and unable to find jobs. In
1975 the Navajo unemployment rate was at 67 percent! This had much to do with the inability
for Native Americans to have a good education. Until 1896 schools were operated by
missionaries, who were frequently more interested in attempting to eradicate the Navajo
religion, culture, and language than in educating their charges (Everyculutre/Navajo/History/
Education). Unable to move forward in any capacity due to the barricades placed by the United
States, many native Americans turned to alcohol to solve their problems, With their
independence lost, their cosmic rationale gone, and their culture under siege, thousands of
Native Americans turned to alcohol, which local agents often supplied as a pacifier, and which
man Indian people imbedded as an escape from reality, and to peyote (Olsen & Beal 194). The

suicide rate among Native Americans is 30 percent higher than the national average. Both
suicide and alcoholism have taken place among Native Americans because of the poverty. This
poverty is due to the way the United States of America has treated Native Americans from the
beginning of their arrival. There population, land, lives, and culture have all been taken from
them because of the United States, and theyre still struggling today to find acceptance into the
country they settled first.

Work Cited
Olson, J., & Beal, H. (2010). The Ethnic Dimension in American History (4th ed.).
West Sussex: Blackwell.
Everyculture. (n.d.). Retrieved May 2, 2015.
The Trail of Tears. (1942, January 1). Retrieved May 2, 2015.