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Historically, relationships between European colonists and their descendants, on the one hand, and the native population of America, on the other, were extremely complex. Moreover, from the beginning of European colonization of America, Native Americans have become vulnerable to oppression and physical extinction because colonists wanted their lands and the pursuit of maximum profits moved settler westward wreaking havoc, diseases and destruction of the traditional lifestyle of Native Americans. Ironically, throughout the history of the development of relations between white Americans and Native Americans, the biased attitude to Native Americans emerged and white Americans had grown accustomed to view them as a threat but, in actuality, Native Americans were rather victims of white Americans, who oppressed Native Americans and forced them from their land causing numerous deaths and destruction of the traditional lifestyle of Native Americans. At this point, it is possible to refer to the film Soldier Blue (1970) which reveals the controversy of policies conducted by the whites as well as threats, which Native Americans exposed white Americans to. In fact, the film reveals the fact that the major problem of the failure of white Americans and Native Americans to build up normal, positive relations was not the irresistible desire of white Americans to occupy lands of Native Americans to rip off maximum profits at costs of Native Americans, but the main cause of conflicts between Native Americans and white Americans was the enormous gap between their cultures and the lack of effective communication between them. The main character of the film Cresta Lee seems to be the only person, who understands Native Americans and knows how to behave to build up friendly relations with them. At the same time, she is fully aware that Native Americans are different from white Americans and what is natural for Native Americans may be extremely cruel for white Americans. For instance, when she almost forces Honus to fight the chief of Kiowa horsemen, he is aware that this may be the only way for them to survive. As Honus wins and wounds the chief severely, he is unable to kill him but chief's people kill their leader in place. Honus is shocked with such cruelty but Native Americans take it for granted. In fact, this episode may be key to understanding the difference between Native Americans and white Americans and why white Americans perceived Native Americans as a threat. Obviously, white Americans were appalled by the cruelty of some of the rites practiced by Native Americans. For instance, if they witnessed executions exercised by Native Americans, they could believe that Native Americans represent a threat to them too. However, the problem was that white Americans did not understand motives and reasons of actions of Native Americans, who just lived their life with respect to their traditions and cultural norms and they saw nothing wrong in their behavior. In contrast, white Americans failed to understand Native Americans and perceived them as a threat. Moreover, white Americans did not fully understand Native Americans and their belief that Native Americans represented a threat for them was, to a significant extent erroneous. The film clearly shows that if only white Americans could understand Native Americans just as well as Cresta Lee did it, they would have never viewed them as a threat and they would have never fought or oppressed them. However, the lack of understanding of Native Americans, their traditions and lifestyle, became the main cause of conflicts between them and white Americans. The latter preferred to expel Native Americans instead of integrating them into their communities or preserving equal relations between Native American and white communities. To oppress and eliminate the threat was apparently better solution for white Americans of that time, then negotiating and developing cultural ties with Native Americans, whom they treated as absolutely inferior. As a result, the policy of oppression of Native Americans became the core of the US policy in relation to the native population of American until the 20th century, when their rights have been finally recognized and the revisionist policies have started and the film Soldier Blue is the sample of revisionist western which attempts to revise the conventional view on Native Americans and relationships between Native Americans and white Americans. Stereotyped, biased view of white Americans on Native Americans as a threat to their safety was the major driver of the oppressive policies conducted by white Americans throughout the 19th century, when such oppression became disastrous for the native population of America, which was relocated and those Native Americans, who survived the relocation, were settled in reservations. In this regard, the biased view on Native Americans can be clearly traced throughout the film Soldier Blue, where one of the main characters, Honus, personifies prejudices and biases against Native Americans. He views them as villains, although he does not even know him. In this regard, Cresta is quite different because she does know Native Americans and she does not have fear or repulsion in regard to Indians. On the contrary, throughout the film she manifests her respect to them and attempts to defend them from the unfair massacre that the US troop is about to launch. White Americans perceived Native Americans as absolutely inferior and from the beginning of the colonist-Indian interaction, white settlers attempted to exploit Native Americans teaching them European technologies . At this point, it is possible to refer to judgments the US military officers including Cresta's fianc? make of Native Americans. They treat them as mere brutes, who are not worth of their attention but they believe that Native Americans have to be exterminated because they bear some threat to them, which they cannot even adequately explain. Such supremacist attitude to Native American explains their oppressive policies in relation to Native Americans. White Americans did not view Native Americans worth much negotiations, it was much easier for white Americans, who had much better developed technology, military, and economy, to relocate Native Americans from their land or simply eliminate them physically, than negotiate with them. This is why, to prevent the rising tension, the US Congress implemented the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Formally, the main reason for the introduction of the act was the decrease of the tension between white settler and Native Americans on the frontier. However, the major reason was the elimination of what white Americans and the US officials perceived to be the Indian threat. White Americans were just afraid of attacks form the part of Native Americans and the relocation of Native Americans became the preventive measure to secure white Americans, although this measure cost lives of a large part of the native population of America living on the territory of the US. In the 1830's, Native Americans still lived in their native lands for the most part. However, white men considered them a threat to peace. So, in 1838, the Federal government had what they called the "Five Civilized Tribes" removed (Briggs & Pittman, 1997). These tribes were the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole. They were moved at a forced march up to 800 miles from their homelands to the "Indian Territory", which is modern-day Oklahoma. Under cruel conditions, the army forced the peaceful tribes through the cold, winter weather to their new homes (Hertz, 2004). During this ordeal, known as the "Trail of Tears", over 4,000 Cherokees alone died, out of the 15,000 moved (Billings, 2002). However, the removal of Native Americans had proved to be disastrous for them because they died due to disease, exposure, and starvation. The conditions of the removal were unbearable and Native Americans could not physically survive the relocation. More important, the relocation was poorly managed since Native Americans were just forced out of their land, they had got the destination and the land, where they had the right to settle, and all the rest was virtually up to Native Americans, how to relocate without any support from the part of the government or white Americans. Even when the Indian Territory was reached, the US Government was not satisfied. Slowly, more and more of the land was taken from the Native American tribes. A government who maintained ideas of equality and freedom, were showing that these ideas obviously did not pertain to everyone. In 1902, several hundred thousand acres were cleared out for white settlements (McCary, 2010). In 1907, the Indian Nations ceased to exist, and when Oklahoma became a state, all Native American territory was assimilated into the Union (Rountree, 2005). Naturally, Native Americans were unwilling to obey to decisions taken by the white officials because they still believed that their land belonged to them and they were the native population of America and, thus, they were not going to give in their land to white Americans just because the US Congress decided so. In fact, the increasing pressure of the US government on Native Americans resulted in the open military conflict between Native Americans and white Americans. The series of bloody battles started several years after the end of the Civil War, due to the demand of Indian territory by the white Americans and ended with the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890 (Egloff & Woodward, 2001). Thousands of Native Americans were slaughtered by the cruel Union Army, led by generals such as Custer, Gabon, and Sherman. The Native Americans, led by heroes such as Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph, and Crazy Horse, fought outnumbered for many years before being defeated one by one at the hands of the Federal Government (Potter, 1993). They won many battles, such as the Kidder massacre, in which they killed an entire regiment, with only 2 casualties themselves (Holton, 2000). However, such achievements only enhanced the pressure on Native Americans and provided the US government with the support of the public opinion because white Americans grew certain that Native Americans were dangerous. For the most part, however, the Union was a ruthless enemy. They attacked many harmless villages, and killed many Native Americans in the massacres of Powder River, Sand Creek, Little Wolf, and Wounded Knee (Nash, 1999). The Native Americans were outnumbered and outgunned. By the end of the war, they had won many battles against the Union Army, but they also lost so many warriors that they were forced to surrender (Rountree, 2005). Eventually, Native Americans' resistance faded away as they could not resist to the overwhelming power of the US. Native Americans could not confront the well-trained army and defeat it. This is why they were forced out of their land, but they lost not only their land but also many Native Americans lost their life. Today, the removal of Native Americans is perceived as a humanitarian catastrophe managed by the US government, but, in that time, it was perceived as the operation aiming at securing western frontier of the US and as the only effective way to eliminate the Indian threat. However, this threat was ephemeral and rather imagined than real. As the film Soldier Blue shows the threat was imagined by white Americans because they did not understand Native Americans. More important, they did not want to negotiate or develop closer relations with Native Americans neither. Instead, they preferred to eliminate Native American physically, either through their removal or through their slaughtering. In this regard, the understanding of motives of white Americans justifies, to a certain extent, their actions. At any rate, the film and conclusions that has been just made from this film allow viewing the oppression of Native Americans by white Americans not as the manifestation of the ultimate cruelty and a genocide attempt but, instead, it may be viewed as actions driven by sheer fear of white Americans, who did not know Native Americans and it was the fear that determined their actions and oppression of Native Americans. Thus, the complexity of relationships between white Americans and native Americans was, to a significant extent, determined by the fear and oppression as the major drivers of the tension between them. White Americans did not know Native Americans, their culture and lifestyle but their traditions appalled then. This is why they viewed Native Americans as a threat and attempted to remove them from the western frontier. However, Native Americans naturally resisted because they were eager to protect their land. As a result, the US Congress took the decision on the removal of Native Americans, who were later settled in reservations.
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The History of Native Americans
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The History Of Native Americans

Words: 2043    Pages: 7    Paragraphs: 12    Sentences: 78    Read Time: 07:25
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              Historically, relationships between European colonists and their descendants, on the one hand, and the native population of America, on the other, were extremely complex. Moreover, from the beginning of European colonization of America, Native Americans have become vulnerable to oppression and physical extinction because colonists wanted their lands and the pursuit of maximum profits moved settler westward wreaking havoc, diseases and destruction of the traditional lifestyle of Native Americans. Ironically, throughout the history of the development of relations between white Americans and Native Americans, the biased attitude to Native Americans emerged and white Americans had grown accustomed to view them as a threat but, in actuality, Native Americans were rather victims of white Americans, who oppressed Native Americans and forced them from their land causing numerous deaths and destruction of the traditional lifestyle of Native Americans.
             
              At this point, it is possible to refer to the film Soldier Blue (1970) which reveals the controversy of policies conducted by the whites as well as threats, which Native Americans exposed white Americans to.
             
              In fact, the film reveals the fact that the major problem of the failure of white Americans and Native Americans to build up normal, positive relations was not the irresistible desire of white Americans to occupy lands of Native Americans to rip off maximum profits at costs of Native Americans, but the main cause of conflicts between Native Americans and white Americans was the enormous gap between their cultures and the lack of effective communication between them. The main character of the film Cresta Lee seems to be the only person, who understands Native Americans and knows how to behave to build up friendly relations with them. At the same time, she is fully aware that Native Americans are different from white Americans and what is natural for Native Americans may be extremely cruel for white Americans. For instance, when she almost forces Honus to fight the chief of Kiowa horsemen, he is aware that this may be the only way for them to survive. As Honus wins and wounds the chief severely, he is unable to kill him but chief's people kill their leader in place. Honus is shocked with such cruelty but Native Americans take it for granted. In fact, this episode may be key to understanding the difference between Native Americans and white Americans and why white Americans perceived Native Americans as a threat. Obviously, white Americans were appalled by the cruelty of some of the rites practiced by Native Americans. For instance, if they witnessed executions exercised by Native Americans, they could believe that Native Americans represent a threat to them too. However, the problem was that white Americans did not understand motives and reasons of actions of Native Americans, who just lived their life with respect to their traditions and cultural norms and they saw nothing wrong in their behavior. In contrast, white Americans failed to understand Native Americans and perceived them as a threat. Moreover, white Americans did not fully understand Native Americans and their belief that Native Americans represented a threat for them was, to a significant extent erroneous. The film clearly shows that if only white Americans could understand Native Americans just as well as Cresta Lee did it, they would have never viewed them as a threat and they would have never fought or oppressed them. However, the lack of understanding of Native Americans, their traditions and lifestyle, became the main cause of conflicts between them and white Americans. The latter preferred to expel Native Americans instead of integrating them into their communities or preserving equal relations between Native American and white communities. To oppress and eliminate the threat was apparently better solution for white Americans of that time, then negotiating and developing cultural ties with Native Americans, whom they treated as absolutely inferior. As a result, the policy of oppression of Native Americans became the core of the US policy in relation to the native population of American until the 20th century, when their rights have been finally recognized and the revisionist policies have started and the film Soldier Blue is the sample of revisionist western which attempts to revise the conventional view on Native Americans and relationships between Native Americans and white Americans.
             
              Stereotyped, biased view of white Americans on Native Americans as a threat to their safety was the major driver of the oppressive policies conducted by white Americans throughout the 19th century, when such oppression became disastrous for the native population of America, which was relocated and those Native Americans, who survived the relocation, were settled in reservations. In this regard, the biased view on Native Americans can be clearly traced throughout the film Soldier Blue, where one of the main characters, Honus, personifies prejudices and biases against Native Americans. He views them as villains, although he does not even know him. In this regard, Cresta is quite different because she does know Native Americans and she does not have fear or repulsion in regard to Indians. On the contrary, throughout the film she manifests her respect to them and attempts to defend them from the unfair massacre that the US troop is about to launch.
             
              White Americans perceived Native Americans as absolutely inferior and from the beginning of the colonist-Indian interaction, white settlers attempted to exploit Native Americans teaching them European technologies .
             
              At this point, it is possible to refer to judgments the US military officers including Cresta's fianc? make of Native Americans. They treat them as mere brutes, who are not worth of their attention but they believe that Native Americans have to be exterminated because they bear some threat to them, which they cannot even adequately explain. Such supremacist attitude to Native American explains their oppressive policies in relation to Native Americans. White Americans did not view Native Americans worth much negotiations, it was much easier for white Americans, who had much better developed technology, military, and economy, to relocate Native Americans from their land or simply eliminate them physically, than negotiate with them. This is why, to prevent the rising tension, the US Congress implemented the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Formally, the main reason for the introduction of the act was the decrease of the tension between white settler and Native Americans on the frontier. However, the major reason was the elimination of what white Americans and the US officials perceived to be the Indian threat. White Americans were just afraid of attacks form the part of Native Americans and the relocation of Native Americans became the preventive measure to secure white Americans, although this measure cost lives of a large part of the native population of America living on the territory of the US.
             
              In the 1830's, Native Americans still lived in their native lands for the most part. However, white men considered them a threat to peace. So, in 1838, the Federal government had what they called the "Five Civilized Tribes" removed (Briggs & Pittman, 1997). These tribes were the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole. They were moved at a forced march up to 800 miles from their homelands to the "Indian Territory", which is modern-day Oklahoma. Under cruel conditions, the army forced the peaceful tribes through the cold, winter weather to their new homes (Hertz, 2004). During this ordeal, known as the "Trail of Tears", over 4,000 Cherokees alone died, out of the 15,000 moved (Billings, 2002). However, the removal of Native Americans had proved to be disastrous for them because they died due to disease, exposure, and starvation. The conditions of the removal were unbearable and Native Americans could not physically survive the relocation. More important, the relocation was poorly managed since Native Americans were just forced out of their land, they had got the destination and the land, where they had the right to settle, and all the rest was virtually up to Native Americans, how to relocate without any support from the part of the government or white Americans.
             
              Even when the Indian Territory was reached, the US Government was not satisfied. Slowly, more and more of the land was taken from the Native American tribes. A government who maintained ideas of equality and freedom, were showing that these ideas obviously did not pertain to everyone. In 1902, several hundred thousand acres were cleared out for white settlements (McCary, 2010). In 1907, the Indian Nations ceased to exist, and when Oklahoma became a state, all Native American territory was assimilated into the Union (Rountree, 2005).
             
              Naturally, Native Americans were unwilling to obey to decisions taken by the white officials because they still believed that their land belonged to them and they were the native population of America and, thus, they were not going to give in their land to white Americans just because the US Congress decided so. In fact, the increasing pressure of the US government on Native Americans resulted in the open military conflict between Native Americans and white Americans. The series of bloody battles started several years after the end of the Civil War, due to the demand of Indian territory by the white Americans and ended with the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890 (Egloff & Woodward, 2001). Thousands of Native Americans were slaughtered by the cruel Union Army, led by generals such as Custer, Gabon, and Sherman. The Native Americans, led by heroes such as Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph, and Crazy Horse, fought outnumbered for many years before being defeated one by one at the hands of the Federal Government (Potter, 1993). They won many battles, such as the Kidder massacre, in which they killed an entire regiment, with only 2 casualties themselves (Holton, 2000). However, such achievements only enhanced the pressure on Native Americans and provided the US government with the support of the public opinion because white Americans grew certain that Native Americans were dangerous.
             
              For the most part, however, the Union was a ruthless enemy. They attacked many harmless villages, and killed many Native Americans in the massacres of Powder River, Sand Creek, Little Wolf, and Wounded Knee (Nash, 1999). The Native Americans were outnumbered and outgunned. By the end of the war, they had won many battles against the Union Army, but they also lost so many warriors that they were forced to surrender (Rountree, 2005). Eventually, Native Americans' resistance faded away as they could not resist to the overwhelming power of the US. Native Americans could not confront the well-trained army and defeat it. This is why they were forced out of their land, but they lost not only their land but also many Native Americans lost their life. Today, the removal of Native Americans is perceived as a humanitarian catastrophe managed by the US government, but, in that time, it was perceived as the operation aiming at securing western frontier of the US and as the only effective way to eliminate the Indian threat.
             
              However, this threat was ephemeral and rather imagined than real. As the film Soldier Blue shows the threat was imagined by white Americans because they did not understand Native Americans. More important, they did not want to negotiate or develop closer relations with Native Americans neither. Instead, they preferred to eliminate Native American physically, either through their removal or through their slaughtering. In this regard, the understanding of motives of white Americans justifies, to a certain extent, their actions. At any rate, the film and conclusions that has been just made from this film allow viewing the oppression of Native Americans by white Americans not as the manifestation of the ultimate cruelty and a genocide attempt but, instead, it may be viewed as actions driven by sheer fear of white Americans, who did not know Native Americans and it was the fear that determined their actions and oppression of Native Americans.
             
              Thus, the complexity of relationships between white Americans and native Americans was, to a significant extent, determined by the fear and oppression as the major drivers of the tension between them. White Americans did not know Native Americans, their culture and lifestyle but their traditions appalled then. This is why they viewed Native Americans as a threat and attempted to remove them from the western frontier. However, Native Americans naturally resisted because they were eager to protect their land. As a result, the US Congress took the decision on the removal of Native Americans, who were later settled in reservations.
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