Indian Genocide The United States government used military force to follow a policy of genocide toward the Native Americans. Politically, the policies of removal, concentration, and assimilation caused the death of thousands of Native Americans. Economically, the United States government used military force whenever any valuable resource was discovered on Indian Land. Socially, the near extermination of the Buffalo caused starvation and death among the tribes. The evidence clearly indicates that the United States government used military force and economic pressures to conduct a policy of genocide towards the Native Americans. For decades, the United States practiced policies of removal to gain valuable land for itself.
The policies of removal, assimilation, and concentration caused the deaths of thousands of Natives. The song Indian Reservation by Paul Revere and the Midnight Raiders is a reminder of the Trail of Tears, which killed a 1/4 of the Indians that marched. The government removed the Indians from Georgia to benefit the plantation owners in the south, at the expense of the Native people in the area. Even the Supreme Court of the United States agreed that removal of the Indians from that land would be illegal, but President Jackson went ahead and did it anyways. The Indians marched over a thousand miles until they were west of the Mississippi River. It also gives a general overview of how the whites put the Indians on reservations and tried to assimilate them.
"The beads we made by hand are nowadays made in Japan," shows how the whites took over the Indian's culture and commercialized it. Another situation in which the government practiced assimilation and concentration was with Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce. Joseph's tribes were cooperative and sold their land to the whites as long as they got to live in their valley, but eventually the whites wanted all their land. The Indians fled and tried to make it to Canada, but 30 miles from the border they were caught and rounded up. They were sent to live on reservations, and most died of white diseases or starvation.
By the year 1890, all Indians were on reservations. The Blackhawk war, which happened over land disputes in Wisconsin and Illinois, also led to the death and relocation of numerous Indians. This disrespect towards the Indians was typical of the time period. The US used its military superiority to benefit itself economically in regard to the Indian situation.
The Sioux war was fought over gold that the U. S. government found in the mountains occupied by the Sioux Indians, and it ended with the Indians being forced to live on reservations. In 1861, settlers wanted land that Indians occupied, so that led them to move them to the Sand Creek reservation. The local whites in the area ended up massacring 400 Indians that were under protective custody. Apparently even the Indians that were supposed to be protected by treaties were not safe from the wrath of the U.
S. government. The Song "One Tin Soldier" by Coven describes the discovery of gold in the Black Hills and shows just how far the United States would go to gain wealth at the expense of the Indians. The Natives wanted to live in peace, but the whites wanted the treasure that was buried there. "Now the valley cried in anger, mount your horses, draw your sword. And they killed the mountain people, so they won their just reward." This describes the situation that was faced when the whites found a valuable resource on Indian territory.
The whites usually bought out the Indians and when they couldn't they killed them and got what they wanted. Among the most famous of the men who massacred Indians for the benefit of the whites was General Custer. He had no problem with massacring women and children to help the government gain money. However, the whites were not always successful in pushing the Indians around. In the Battle of Little Bighorn, General Custer was defeated and killed.
Billy Don't be a Hero tells of that battle, and tries to shed a positive light on the white conduct towards Indians, but it does not do much to sway opinions. President Rutherford himself had said that most of the atrocities committed during the Indian wars were the fault of the whites. The U. S. government ignored treaties and corrupt officials victimized the Indians. The whites sold supplies that were meant for Indians on reservations to white settlers moving south so they could make some money, and the Indians never got their supplies.
However, the officials said that the supplies were delivered and people were none the wiser. Even when the supplies were delivered, they were usually in sub par condition or otherwise damaged. Not only did the whites under supply the Indians on the reservations, they massacred one of the things that was an integral part of the Indians' life: the Buffalo. The Buffalo gave the Indians everything that they needed and they used what they had wisely. They used every part of the Buffalo from the skin right down to the bone. However, the whites began to kill the Buffalo for sport and only for the meat.
Their killing of the Buffalo was excessive and it nearly caused the Buffalo to go extinct. This was a big blow to the Indians, as they respected the Buffalo and it was a source of vitality for them. When the Buffalo no longer roamed in mass numbers countless Indians starved and died. The song "Great White Buffalo" by Ted Nugent told about how the whites needlessly massacred the Buffalo and showed how we wronged the Indians.
The killing of the Buffalo also led to the Indians coming up with a "ghost dance" that would bring back the Buffalo and it would also remove the white man from their lands. The whites were taken aback at this and decided to put an end to it using military force. This led to the Wounded Knee massacre, in which 300 men, women, and children were killed. This atrocity was one of the last events in the Indian wars. Social conflict lasted a long time between Indians and whites, as the song "Half Breed" demonstrates. It talks about how whites and Indians that were together were not accepted in American society.
Neither side would accept the "half breed" child of a Cherokee and a white. The whites used a policy of removal to get around the Indian "problem," there is no question about that. Whenever it seemed that an Indian would get in the way they were moved to somewhere that was more convenient for the whites. The whites gave the Indians no respect and although atrocities were committed on both sides, it was the fault of the American government that things escalated to the point of all Indians being forced to reservations.
Both sides lost people that should not have been killed, and for what? For a piece of land that the Indians were more than willing to share? For some yellow metal that was of no value to the Indians? There was no need for the killing that happened. Some may say that the Indians were terrorists, but that is not so. They were cooperative and willing to talk, whereas we lied and stole our way to "victory." Our government should have tried to work together with the Indians to benefit both sides, instead of causing turmoil for everyone. Though today we may regret what we did, it could have been avoided if we just stopped and realized that what we were doing was pointless in the grand scheme of things.