Native Americans in the US: The effects of *manifest destiny*

Kimberly Josephson
English Teaching Assistant
Native Americans & US History:
Effects of “manifest destiny”
Photos: (top) “Jajuk, Selawik from northwestern Alaska, ca. 1929”; (left) “Wife of Modoc Henry, Klamath tribe, on June 30,
1923”; (right) “Three Eagles, Nez Perce, ca. 1910”. (Library of Congress/Edward S. Curtis)
Removal Act
Trail of Tears
“Peace” Policy
Dawes Act
Reorganization Act
Policy reversal
Termination Policy
1940s –
Reversal… again
& Education
Assistance Act
138 million acres
 48 million
Resources, law enforcement,
education, etc.
Assimilation Era (1880s – 1920s)
Photo: “Chiricahua Apaches as they arrived at Carlisle from Fort Marion, Florida” by John N.
Choate, November 4, 1886
Assimilation Era (1880s – 1920s)
Photo: “Chiricahua Apaches four months after arriving at Carlisle” by John N. Choate
Native American Boarding Schools
 “…kill the Indian and save the man” (Capt. Richard H Pratt)
 Carlisle Indian Industrial School (1879 – 1918)
 Means of assimilation
Appearance: Victorian era-style clothing, shaved heads
Language: English only (“those caught ‘speaking Indian’ were severely punished.”)
Religion: Forced Christian prayer
Schedule: Military-like daily regimen
Curriculum: Academic, vocational, & farming techniques
 Argentina?
“Soul Wound.”
 Some schools remained open until
the 1980s
 Forced enrollment ended in the
“Our Spirits Don't
Speak English: Indian
Boarding School”
 Similar system adopted by Canada
 Investigations (US & Canada) into
emotional, sexual, and physical
abuse: reports of poisoning,
starving, electric shock, beating,
sterilization, rape
“ ‘Native America knows all too well the reality of the
boarding schools,’
writes Native American Bar Association President Richard Monette,
who attended a North Dakota boarding school,
‘where recent generations learned the fine art of
standing in line single-file for hours without moving a
hair, as a lesson in discipline … where the sharp rules
of immaculate living were instilled through blistered
hands and knees on the floor with scouring
toothbrushes; where mouths were scrubbed with lye
and chlorine solutions for uttering Native words.”
Excerpt: “Soul Wound: The Legacy of Native American Schools” (Andrea Smith, Amnesty, March 2007)
“Richard Stone, left, and Tyler
Owens stand near the tree where a
Native American girl and her father
both committed suicide in Sacaton,
Ariz. Owens, who lives across the
street from this tree, said: “In
Indian Country, youths need to
have somebody there for them. I
wish I had been that somebody for
the girl in the tamarisk tree.”
Linda Davidson/TheWashington Post
Self-Determination Era (1970s – )
Washington Post article “The hard lives – and high suicide rate – of Native American children on reservations” by Sari
Horwitz(March 9, 2014)
Populations & reservations today
 2.9 – 5.2 million people (0.9 – 1.7%)
 Most (78%) of the population lives off reservations
 Largest tribes: Cherokee and Navajo
 California, Arizona, Oklahoma
 Local sovereignty for 562 tribes
 Government contracts with tribes, like other states
 “domestic dependent nations”
 Critiques?
Historical trauma & other issues
 Disproportionate [documented] rates of:
 Sports mascots
 Washington Redskins (NFL)
 Cleveland Indians (MLB)
 “Native American” vs. “American Indian”
 Native American Gambling Industry
Native Languages
 Near extinction in most tribes
 Attempts at rebirth: Wampanoag communities of Massachusetts
 “There is nothing I know of that's anything like the Wampanoag
Noam Chomsky
 Pictures:
 Policies:
 Boarding schools:
 Washington Post article: