The Impact of Native Americans in Today’s Society

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Currently, there are a wide variety of tribes and ethnic groups that come under the descriptor of Native American. Since the arrival of the Europeans, there has been a progressive and steady degradation of the Native American culture, with little evidence or indications in the present day of their culture. Throughout the history of the country there have been numerous examples of the race being mistreated, ignored and treated as the same or less than the Europeans, rather than as a distinct race with its own traditions. This has had widespread consequences for the remaining individuals of Native American origin. Studies have shown an increased rate of suicide, social issues and violence within Native Americans as a consequence of unresolved historical grief. One suggestion has been to incorporate more Native American culture into the lives of these people to help them heal and understand their grief and their own histories. Early Conflicts The culture of Native Americans before the immigration of European colonists to the country was that of hunter-gatherer societies, where cultivation of many staple crops was also carried out. History was carried from one generation to the next by stories and oral traditions. Unlike European society, which was patriarchal in nature, and held the concept of individual ownership of property and land, the Native American society focused on land use for all of the community. This difference in approach and culture as well as changes in the alliances that different groups held resulted in high levels of conflict throughout the history of America. There were numerous conflicts between the Native Americans and the British government. Native Americans were not content to sit and watch their own rights be taken away, and they acted to ensure their own interests, both in the diplomatic and in the economic sense1. The introduction of Europeans to the Americas had large effects on the Native Americans, resulting in the deaths of many numbers of individuals, as well as a long-lasting history of racism, prejudice, and loss of tradition2. The first experience that the fledgling government of the United States had with the Native Americans was during the Revolutionary War. It was important for the government to ensure the support of Native American tribes in the war with Great Britain. Failing this, the next most important factor was ensuring the Native Americans remained neutral, i.e. they did not fight against the United States. This brought the first use of treaties between Native Americans and the United States government into being. Following the revolution, the relationship between the United States and the Native Americans was irrevocably changed.

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