Could the Native Americans have been treated better?

I dont think anyone has not had sympathies for how the American Indians were treated in the 19th century. Having their land taken, treaties broken, massacres, children taken away, and their very way of life wiped out in a short time.

Some have argued that the NA’s should have been allowed to keep their lands ceded to them by treaty and could have eventually had their own separate nation from the United States. I consider that the very best possible outcome yet also the least likely seeing all the different forces at play of government policy, bigotry, railroads, the sheer number of settlers who wanted their land, and the fact the different tribes were never one cohesive unit to negotiate with.

I’m glad the eradication policy advocated by some was never carried out to its full extent.

Here in the midwest many people are of Native descent and Haskell Indian University is in Lawrence Kansas. Oklahoma has the largest Indian population followed closely by the Dakotas.

What do you all think?

Think about what?

Could Native Americans been treated better? Really? That’s not actually your question is it??

Will Native Americans get their all their land back? No. Is THAT really your question??

I wouldn’t consider 400 years to be a short time. The finishing off of the Plains tribes in the late 19th century was the culmination of a process that started in 1492.

But that’s probably not what the debate is about. What is it about?

They could have been treated better, but it may not have made much difference. Most of them died due to exposure to diseases against which they had no immunity, particularly smallpox.

The massive die offs caused the European settlers to conclude that [list=A][li]North America was very sparsely populated, and that the Native Americans had abandoned their villages and settlements []God was angry at the Indians and wanted the Europeans to conquer them []the death of most of the Indian populations was inevitable once the white man showed up, no matter what anyone did.[/list]That doesn’t necessarily excuse anything, but it might make it a bit more understandable.[/li]

And it kinda sucks that we killed all the buffalo… we could have let them live, which would have meant the Indians had that food source they were used to, but then having herds the size of Kansas roaming about might have caused a bit of trouble here and there.

An interesting example of someone who did it right – De Anza, who led an exploratory mission from Mexico up through modern-day Arizona to San Francisco.

In meeting the desert tribes in the Gila River area, he would stop, be friendly, actually learn their language, trade with them, and explain the benefits of Spanish rule. He didn’t conquer; he persuaded.

When he kept the various tribes from fighting each other, this was received with joy. He had tribes begging to come under Spanish rule, because the Spanish would keep the peace.

Damn story has a stinky ending, alas. The administrators who followed De Anza were short-sighted, greedy, exploitive shits, who oppressed the Indians until they rose in revolt, which was put down brutally.

But, damn it, someone, for a short time, showed half an ounce of wisdom, and did the job the way it ought to have been done.

Not all Indians hunted buffalo. In the Pacific Northwest they were fishermen. On the east coast they were farmers.

But your right, the buffalo would have been a nuisance once all the farmers and ranchers showed up and started erecting fences.

Their really is no way to keep people who live a nomadic lifestyle going once others show up.

In essence, that’s what Lewis and Clark did. They negotiated treaties and treated the Indians with respect. However they were only one group and their was this huge wave of pioneers coming behind them which they really could not stop.

The Indians, of course, could have been treated better, but they weren’t going to be. To treat them better would mean respecting their rights, especially their right to the land they lived on, and that wasn’t feasable for the US, which wanted their land.

As far as the the Plains Indians go… throughout history, nomadic peoples have always come in conflict with nearby settled cultures. Sometimes the nomads win, and then we get the Huns, the Arabs, the Mongols and the Cossacks. Usually, though, the city-dwellers win. The settlement of the West was just another round of a conflict literally as old as civilization.

The Native American’s big mistake was not to have had lawyers. :eek:
As soon as the European settlers arrived, they should have had to sign leases (confirming that the Natives owned the land.)

By now, all Natives would be millionaires…

The Cherokee Republic might have been admitted as a separate State of the Union and that model might have been followed in dealings with other nations. That’s one possibility. Of course, it was politically impossible at the time, the notion would have seemed absurd and unthinkable to whites.

That is why the buffalo were killed off. It was not an instance of careless waste, it was a deliberate program to break the Plains Indian nations as independent military powers by cutting off their main food supply.

Keep in mind that the Plains Indians, mostly, became nomadic after being pushed out of their farming territories by Europeans. Pre-contact, almost all of the Indians in North America were farmers.

I was under the impression that many of them voluntary choose a nomadic life of buffalo hunting with the introduction of the horse. They simply traded with sedentary tribes for agricultural goods.