Native American Genocide Essay

This essay has a total of 1177 words and 6 pages.

Native American Genocide


In this paper, I will argue that the act of genocide as here defined, has been committed
by the United States of America, upon the tribes and cultures of Native Americans, through
mass indoctrination of its youths. Primary support will be drawn from Jorge Noriega's
work, "American Indian Education in the United States." The paper will then culminate with
my personal views on the subject, with ideas of if and how the United States might make
reparations to its victims.


In lieu of the well known and brutal "Indian Wars," there is a means of cultural
destruction of Native Americans, which began no later than 1611. This method was one of
indoctrination. Methods included the forced removal of children from their cultural milieu
and enrollment of these children in "educational programs," which were intended to instill
more European beliefs. As the United States was not formally a Nation, until 1776, it
would not be fair to use evidence, before this year in building a case against it. The
most damaging, to the United States, are parcels of evidence that are drawn from events
after 1948, the year of the Convention on Genocide.


Beginning in 1778, the United States Board of War, a product of the Continental Congress
appropriated grants for the purpose of, "the maintenance of Indian students at Dartmouth
College and the College of New Jersey…" The young people who had returned from the
schools are described by Seneca leader, Cornplanter as, "…ignorant of every means of
living in the Woods, unable to bear either Cold or Hunger, [they] knew neither how to
build a Cabin, take a Deer, or kill an Enemy, [they] spoke our Language imperfectly, were
therefore neither fit for Hunters, Warriors, nor Counselors; they were totally good for
nothing" (Noriega, 376).


Grants given to other schools was just the beginning. In 1820, the United States made
plans for a large scale system of boarding and day schools Noriega, 377). These schools
were given the mission to, "instruct its students in 'letters, labor and mechanical arts,
and morals and Christianity;' 'training many Indian leaders'" Noriega, 378). In the case
of boarding schools, Native American children would be forcibly stripped from their homes
as early as five years old. They would then live sequestered from their families and
cultures until the age of seventeen or eighteen (Noriega, 381).


In 1886, it was decided, by the United States federal government that Native American
tribal groups would no longer be treated as 'indigenous national governments.' The
decision was made, not by the conjoint efforts of the Native American tribes and Congress;
but, by the "powers that be" the United States Legal System. This self-ordained power
allowed Congress to pass a variety of other laws, directed towards, assimilating, Native
Americans, so that they would become a part of "mainstream white America" (Robbins, 90)


By this time the United States Government, had been funding over a dozen distinct
agencies, to provide mandatory 'education' to all native children aged six through
sixteen. Enrollment was enforced through leverage given by the 1887 General Allotment Act,
which made Natives dependent on the Government for Annuities and Rations (Noriega, 382).
The practice of indigenous religions by these students was prohibited (Noriega, 380).
Students were compelled to undergo daily instruction in Christianity. In addition, only
the use of English was accepted within these schools. "The food was not sufficiiently
nourishing…health supervision was generally neglected…A sincere effort was made to
develop the type of school that would destroy tribal ways" (Noriega, 382). While being
held captive at these schools, the students were forced to learn an idealism completely
foreign to them. They would study histories, which had no significance to there lives.
"The books talk to him [the student] of a world which in no way reminds him of his own,"
(Noriega, ??). This is exactly how the students must have felt; as if they were in another
world.


To compound the torture, the 'students' at these institutions were forced to work as
maintainers and farmers in order provide for the continued existence of the very
establishments, which were destroying them. The methods of forced labor were considered,
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