In the reading for this week we had the reading “ Chapter 2: Native Americans: Deculturalization. Schooling, and Globalization” by Joel Spring. In the reading he talked about the deculturalization of Native Americans, throughout history Native Americans have been faced with different people trying to eradicate their culture. One of the main reasons why the deculturalization was happening was because of the belief that certain cultures are superior to the other. So doing this strpped the Native Americans of their empowerment that they had, and made them feel less of themselves. There was an attempt to try and reduce the different number of things that were happening to the Native Americans that involved deculturalization. Article 27 of the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention of 1989 was created, which protected different native groups. Even though this Article was created, there was the original Naturalization Act of 1790 which excluded NAtive Americans from being able to become American citizens. And this was because the common belief shared at the time was that survival of the republic was based on “white” citizenry. It was not until 1867, when Congress created the Indian Peace Commission that allowed Native Americans the right to become American citizens. As it was coming near to the end of the century Native American Nations became denaturalized and these groups began to adopt European beliefs and cultures instead. And it was until 1924 when Congress passed the Indian Citizenship Act which gave Native Americans the right of true American citizenship.
As protestant churches gained popularity in the United States, the denomination aimed to convert mostly all of the non-Christain world, which included Native Americans. In 1810, Presbetarian and Congregational churches founded the American Board of Commissioners, for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). And then within the next 2 year they were able to send missionaries to the Native American Tribes. Presbetarian missionaries instilled qualities like leadership to the various tribes while spending time away. When it comes to any culture, language and culture are closely related to one another. The missionaries wanted to develop a written language for the NAtive American as a way to control them. And the Sequoyah language was created for a number of different reasons. Which then led to the first Cherokee newspaper written in Cherokee language and English. But the missionaries did not like the language, because they could not understand it and they believed that the Native Americans could never be able to learn English with the new language.
Andrew Jackson decided that the policies that were in place for the Native Americans were giving them too much power. And of the thing that he feared was that Native Americans were learning how to resist, and he was right. And since this was happening he wanted to relocate the Native Americans and allow them to have their own government. Which led to the Indian Removal Act, removing the Indians from their lands east of the Mississippi to lands west of the Mississippi. And the President was supposed to provide them with assistance. Which then led to the Trail of Tears, Indians died from cholera, contaminated food, and other dangers that they were forced to endure. Only 2,000 of the 17,000 Cherokees went on this expedition. The others kept faith that they would not be driven from their land. General Winfield Scott was placed in charge of removing the remaining Native Americans. Scott had his troops surrounding houses, forcibly removed the Cherokees, steal valuables, burn houses down, forced families and sometimes just children into stockades. In order to get the Cherokees to move out of their land.
There were legal issues that were brought up during the removal. The removal of tribes brought up a lot of issues in the legal status of tribal government, and the operation of the government, and tribal school systems. All of the issues were clarified in the Supreme Court in 1831, which involved the extension of Georgia’s state laws over the Cherokee Nation. The Cherokees argued that this was illegal because they were a foreign nation. In court the main question that was brought up was “Is the Cherokee nation a foreign state in the sense in which that term is used in the Constitution?” And the ruling was that Came to the ruling of the regulations of commerce made the distinction between foreign nations, states, and Indian tribes. Indian tribes are not a foreign nation. So, Indian Nations became Domestic dependent nations. And when they settled on Indian territory, they organized governments and established school systems.
After reading the chapter I was able to understand more about the Native Americans and what they went through and how much they had taken away from them. And it was very heartbreaking to hear that they were losing a big part of themselves and there was not much they could do about it. Of course there were people that were resisting but that only lasted so long until they were outnumbered by Americans. Something that I take away from the Native Americans is their strength and bravery.