People, Races, Ethnicity in the U.S. Native Americans Part 3

About the Native Americans in the U.S. including where they are from, why they left, how many there are, famous Native Americans and more.


Their Story in America: The native Americans survived by living in harmony with the land. After 1492 they welcomed the whites, and then lost their land, religion, and language to the invaders. Neither the Europeans nor the native Americans were ready for the meeting. Culturally, the two were poles apart. Their ideas of family, group, land, and religion were diametrically opposed; hence, the Europeans felt that the native Americans were uncivilized. The native Americans were willing to share land usage, but they did not understand the concept of private property. They were a barrier to progress as far as the Europeans were concerned.

The Indian tribes of the northeast saw their lands dwindle and, with King Philip's War in 1676, disappear. As the plains people realized more and more that the white man meant to dispossess them, they exhibited the warrior arts that have since characterized them in lurid fiction and film. The Indian Removal Acts of the 1830s forced all native Americans east of the Mississippi to move to the newly created Indian Territory that would become Oklahoma in 1907. Treaty after treaty was unilaterally nullified by the whites, as bad faith characterized the federal agreements. Only in recent years have native Americans learned to use the laws of the land that granted and simultaneously forced citizenship on them in 1924.

The native Americans' major contribution to the American melting pot is probably the basic concepts of the Law of the Great Peace of the Iroquois. Used as a model by Benjamin Franklin for the framers of the Articles of Confederation, the law was to be the immediate forerunner of the Constitution of the U.S. It was introduced to Marx through the works of Lewis Henry Morgan and it served, further, as the basis for Friedrich Engels's The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State in 1884.

Famous Native Americans: Notable warriors Sitting Bull, Geronimo, and Crazy Horse; Sacagawea (Bird Woman), interpreter and guide on the Lewis and Clark expedition; Chief Seattle of the Suquamish and Duwamish, for whom Seattle is named; Simeon Simon, aide-de-camp to George Washington; Ira Hayes, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during W.W. II; evangelist Oral Roberts; Olympic Games winner and all-around athlete Jim Thorpe.

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