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Pre-colonial Period Objective:

I. To increase students understanding of the cultural history of the Indian Americans.

A. How geography and climate influenced the way Indian American lived and
adjusted to the natural environment?
Some of the first sedentary societies of North America were created by
groups known as the Mound Builders, believed to be the ancestors of the Creeks,
Choctaws, and Natchez. The mound building societies formed enormous earthworks
into various shapes and sizes. Some mounds featured multiple terrace levels on
which hundreds of houses were built. The largest known mound had a base that
covered nearly fifteen acres and rose to a height of one hundred feet. While circles,
squares, and octagons were the most common mound shapes, some patterns
resembled creatures such as hawks, panthers, or snakes. Many believe that the
different shapes were religious signs or territorial markers for different tribes.
The Mississippian culture flourished after the Mound Builders and expanded their
settlements and trading network. They also built massive mounds that served as
burial and ceremonial sites. As these peoples became more proficient at farming and
fishing, they remained longer in one location and developed substantial dwellings.
Clusters of mound builders settled in the Ohio Valley, along the Mississippi River,
and as far west as present-day Oklahoma.
In the Rio Grande valley, the Pueblo people created complex irrigation
systems to water their cornfields. The Anasazi, or Ancient Ones in the Navajo
language, carved into the sandstone cliffs complete cities with baked mud structures
that towered four or five stories high. They developed row upon row of terraced
gardens that they used for planting crops.
The Iroquois League of Five Nations was the largest political and military
organization east of the Mississippi River. However, even as North American
civilizations grew in population, sophistication, and power, they did not compare to
the complex societies of the Aztecs and Incas in Central and South America. These
vast empires included paved roadways and canals that linked smaller cities,
aqueducts that carried fresh water to urban pools and fountains, and giant pyramids
that rivaled in grandeur those found in Egypt.

B. How the people in each area obtained food, clothing, and utensils?
Farming allowed the people to accumulate large quantities of food that could
be stored for long periods. This helped to decrease the threat of starvation,
especially during the winter, and ultimately led to population growth since more food
was available and more hands were needed to cultivate and harvest the crops. Many
Native American groups developed sophisticated planting techniques that allowed
them to take full advantage of the land and make the most out of the time and effort
they put into their agricultural work. These crops became an important commodity as
farmers traded portions of their harvest to hunters for animal furs, bones, and meat.

Many Indians made clothes from animal skins and furs. Buffalo skin and rabbit fur
were especially popular. They also used bird feathers to decorate their heads.
Indians of the tropical regions only wore simple skirts. Some tribes wore no clothes
at all.
C. What are the varied customs and folklore traditions of the Indian American
during pre-colonial period?
Many Indians married at an early age girls between 13 and 15, boys
between 15 and 20. In some Indian tribes parents chose husbands and wives for
their children. Some Indian tribes allowed men to have more than one wife. After a
man died his wife often lived with his brothers family. Most Indian families were
small because many children died at birth or at an early age. When boys got older
they were tested for their strength and bravery. Many had to live alone in the
wilderness for a long time. In many areas, Indians lived in big families called clans.
These clans were a group of relatives who had one common ancestor.
Indians built many different types of homes because they lived in different
climates and didnt have the same building materials. Some groups built large
houses with many rooms where many families could stay together, others had small
dwellings in which only very few people lived. The Inuit of Canada built snow houses
during the winter and in summer they lived in tents made of animal hides. In some
parts of America, Indians built wigwams that were covered with leaves. Some tribes
built houses into the earth that they covered with leaves and grass. Indians of in the
Great Plains built tepees made of buffalo skin. The Pueblo Indians of the southwestern part of America used sun-dried bricks to make houses. Families and whole
clans joined together to form tribes. Hundreds of tribes lived in America when
Columbus arrived in 1492. Each tribe lived in their area, shared the same language
and had its own religion. The leader of the tribe was called a chief. Decisions were
made at meetings of the tribal council. Members were important people of many
different families. Indians often fought against other tribes because it was sometimes
the only way to settle disputes. The bow and arrow was the most common weapon
of the Indians. Some tribes put poison on the arrowheads. Many Indians fought with
spears and tomahawks. When an Indian defeated his enemy he often took his scalp
as a prize to show to others. Killing an enemy tribesman often made a warrior
famous and respected.
Native Americans worked in many arts and crafts. They created beautiful
pottery, made baskets to carry food and wove cloth into blankets and rugs. Indians
also painted their pottery with colourful patterns. Some made wall paintings of
important ceremonies or everyday life. Indians did not have one single religion, but
they did have many beliefs. They believed in a mysterious force in nature and in
spirits that were higher than human beings and influenced their lives. People
depended on them when they searched for food or when people were ill. Some
tribes believed in one or many gods special sprits that were more powerful than
others. Shamans were religious people who had close contacts with spirits. They
were often medicine men and treated sick people in a family. They set broken bones
and used plants to cure certain diseases. When helping the ill they often moved
around their bodies and sang songs. Many ceremonies were held to help Indians get
enough food. The Plains Indians thought that the buffalo dance would help them

hunt buffalo. Some tribes held harvest festivals and organised rain dances where
they prayed to gods for enough rain. Music accompanied the Indians through
everyday life. Many tribes sang to the rhythm of rattles and drums. Some tribes used
flutes and whistles. Every tribe had its legends of the history of the tribe. When the
day's work was done, the old people would tell these tales. There were also many
stories of animals and mythical beings which could assume human form and yet
retain some of their own particular traits. Children were thrilled by these stories. The
Indian stories and myths were passed by word of mouth from one generation to
another. This is known as the oral tradition.
Like other people who live close to nature, the Indians were concerned largely
with day-to-day problems on which their survival as a people depended. They were
interested mostly in whether there would be enough food, whether the tribe would
avoid illness, and whether they would win in war. They gave little thought to notions
of reward or punishment after death that are common in other religions.
Indians believed in a supernatural force which pervaded all nature. To the
Algonquin, this force was manitou. The Iroquois called it orenda, and the Dakota,
wakanda. Indians also thought that animals, plants, rocks, the sun, the winds, and
other natural objects had spirits (or souls) just like men. The Indians thought these
spirits helped those they liked and injured those who offended them.
When an Indian faced a critical problem or decision, he sought help from the
spirit forces. To make himself worthy, he cleansed himself, fasted, prayed, and
sometimes underwent severe tortures. He sought a vision, hoping a friendly spirit
would appear and promise him aid. In many tribes, this guardian spirit became the
Indian's sacred totem animal. A Plains Indian might paint its picture on his tepee.
The Northwest wood-carvers put the sacred animals on totem poles.
Villages and tribes used dances and other ceremonials to seek spirit help. In
general, the men conducted these activities. Usually they had a house where secret
societies met, sacred objects were kept, and ceremonials were taught to the young.
Important ceremonials lasted for many days and were preceded by periods of
fasting and prayer. As a rule, the aid sought was rain for the crops, game for the
hunters, or success in war. The most spectacular Plains ceremonial was the Sun
Dance. This included self-inflicted tortures by some of the warriors.
Corn dances were held by all farming tribes and are still a feature of Pueblo
Indian life. One of the most elaborate corn festivals was the busk held by the
Creeks. After feasting on the new corn, dancing, drinking the "black drink," and
carrying on ceremonies for several days, the tribe began a new year by destroying
old equipment and getting new. They extinguished fires and lit new ones from a
ceremonial flame. Old enmities were forgotten and evildoers forgiven.
Believing that diseases were caused by evil spirits, the Indians used charms
and magic to remove the evil influence. The magical procedures were usually
performed by those supposed to have the power to control spirit forces. Indians
might call them such names as "mystery man," "singer," or "the wonderful." White

people called them medicine men. The magic workers also served somewhat as
priests in leading ceremonials and in preserving sacred objects.
Charms and ceremonies varied from tribe to tribe. The Navajos made sand
paintings. Iroquois False Face Society members wore masks carved from a living
tree. In spring and fall they went from house to house shaking turtle-shell rattles and
chanting to drive away the demons of disease.
Some treatments included the use of herbs and roots as medicines. Men and
women other than magic workers could prepare medicines and nurse the sick.
D. What are the activities of Indian American during their free time?
The Indians did not give all their time to the work needed to stay alive. They
had many games and sports. Tribal members came together for festivals that lasted
a week or more. The gatherings usually had religious ceremonies as their main
purpose, but there was time for games and visiting, storytelling, and social singing
and dancing.
Children played much as children play today. Girls played with dolls dressed
in the costumes of their tribes. Boys shot small arrows from toy bows and crept
through the woods pretending to be hunters or warriors. There were whip tops to
spin, stilts, slings, and other toys. They had dogs and small wild things as pets.
Around the fire in the evening, old and young played guessing games such as huntthe-button. They made cat's cradles with fiber string.
Children learned skills from games then as they do now. Archery, target
practice, and footraces taught skills needed by the hunters. Pueblo children learned
about kachinas from their kachina dolls. The kachinas were mythical ancestors of the
Pueblo people. They were thought to live in a lake beneath the earth. The tribes held
kachina dances to celebrate visits from the spirits. The dancers gave kachina dolls to
children, to inspire them to be like the kachina ancestors.

Young people competed in athletic sports. The "ball play" popular throughout
the east has become the modern sport lacrosse. Athletes were highly trained for
intertribal contests in this game. The ceremonial dancing and feasting before the
games may be compared to modern football pep rallies. Inter-village footraces were
held by the Pueblos , and horse racing was popular among the buffalo-hunting
Plains tribes.
Ring-and-pole and hoop-and-pole games were popular in many areas. The
players shot poles or spears through stone rings or into a netting on a rolling hoop.
Snow snake was popular among northern tribes. The players hurled a long stick,
sometimes painted to resemble a snake, to see who could send it farthest over the
ice or frozen ground.
Shinny was a woman's game. Plains women used a small buckskin-covered
ball of buffalo hair. Women of the Southwest played a kind of football. They kicked a

small ball around a long course. In early times, the game was thought to have
magical powers, such as protecting the fields against sandstorms.
E. What is the Tribal Organization and Women's Role in society?
Since most Indians lived in small communities, they based their government
and social organization upon loyalty to the family and to the tribe. In most tribes
families were linked in a third group, called a clan or a gens. In a clan, inheritance
and relationship traced through the female line; in a gens, through the male line.
Families in a clan frequently lived together in community houses. Here children
looked upon their cousins as brothers and sisters and regarded their aunts and
uncles as parents. Men and women were required to marry outside their own clan.
Women's influence was greatest in such tribes as the Iroquois, whose descent
was through the mother. Marriage customs differed from tribe to tribe. As a rule they
were the result of mutual agreement by the husband- and wife-to-be. Often the
bridegroom gave some sort of present to the bride's family to compensate for the
loss of her help.
Divorce was usually easy if a couple could not agree, but the children did not
suffer from the breakup of the home. They continued to live in the clan group and
could look to uncles and aunts for attention.
Indians were universally kind to children. Discipline was strict, yet never
enforced by whipping or any other physical punishment. Children were expected to
help with the family duties. The first time a boy brought home an animal shot with his
own bow, his proud father might celebrate with a feast. Ceremonials marked the date
when youngsters reached 13 or 14 years of age and were considered men and
F. How Indians Buried the Dead?
Methods of disposing of the dead varied among the tribes. Burial in the
ground was most commonly practiced. Mounds were constructed for burial among
certain prehistoric Indian peoples. In the southwest, bodies were sometimes placed
in caves where they dried, or mummified, in the dry air. On the northern plains a
common practice was to place the dead in trees or on scaffolds. On the northwest
coast they might be laid in canoes set high on posts.
Cremation was practiced by various tribes from the Pacific coast to Florida.
Usually the ashes were buried in pottery vessels. Almost invariably, domestic
utensils, food, and the ornaments, implements, and other personal belongings of the
departed were placed with the remains.
G. What kind of Leadership and Government does Indian American have?
Government was generally extremely simple and democratic among the
Indian tribes. The chief was not an autocratic ruler. He was usually chosen because
of his ability and wisdom, though in a few tribes the office was hereditary. He advised

the people and attempted to settle their disputes. A war chief was selected to lead a
raid or campaign.
Tribal and village councils discussed and acted upon important matters. A
council might consist simply of the adult men of a village or of chiefs of clans. Among
the Iroquois, matrons took part in grand councils.
Colonial Period Objective:
I. To determine the consequences of first European contact on Native Americans
and to draw conclusion on whether those consequences could be described as
A. What prompted Europeans, in their legion, to invade the New World?
The European invasion and final conquest of America was not unrelated to
the economical cum political turmoil on going in Europe at the time. Succinctly put,
the quest to find a sea route to Asia and the East Indies as a means to eliminate
Islamic middlemen and win control of the lucrative trade for Christian Western
Europe (Eric Foner, 20) had been the motive for the incursion of European nations to
America. And so with Columbus's Spain sponsored voyage of 1492 and his landing
on the Bahamas on October 12, 1942, the first contact between Europeans had
been established. Following Columbus's lead, other European nations, having
famous explorers as their forerunners came to the Americas armed with superior
B. How did the Indian Americans struggle with the European?
None of the Indian cultures in the Americas developed a system of private
landownership. Unlike the European settlers, who came from countries where land
was individually owned, the Indians practiced communal landownership. Within the
boundaries of each tribe's territory, the land was used by all members of the tribe. No
individual owned any of the land, and no one person, not even the tribal leader,
could dispose of it. When European settlers obtained permanent title to Indian lands
by purchase, they bought something which by Indian custom could not be sold from
leaders who had no right to sell it. It was this difference of attitudes over ownership
of land that was a major cause of conflict between the Indians and the Europeans.
Differences in race, language, religion, and life-style only sharpened and sometimes
obscured this basic conflict.
Another source of conflict was that the Europeans did not consider
themselves to be under the sovereignty of the Indian tribes on whose land they had
settled. Instead, they claimed the land in the names of their mother countries. The
European settlers began to mark off boundaries and to assert their land claims by
the force of superior weapons and, eventually, of far greater numbers.

C. Was the outcome could be considered as an act of genocide and is this

reason why did Europeans conquer America so easily?
It has been estimated that approximately 80 million native Indians died as a
result of the various consequences arising from the contact they had with
Europeans. Genocide is defined as the "systematic killing of people on the basis of
ethnicity, religion, political opinion, social status, etc." (Word Web Dictionary).
Pathetically, as a result of contact with the Europeans, several indigenous (Native
American) generations were either nearly wiped or totally wiped out. For instance,
the population on Hispaniola which was estimated between 300,000 and 1 million in
1492 had almost disappeared half a century later and the population of Mexico
considerably from 20 million to 2 million a ninety percent decrease. Another
account stated that (as a result of the European diseases) of the several
Mississippian groups, "only the Natchez survived into the 1700s long enough to be
described by Europeans" ("The First Americans", The Cultures of Prehistoric
America Digital History, 23-June-11).
The European diseases, which has been named the most prominent
assailants of the Indians was not injected into the Indians skin, sources of food or
water; rather as explained by Robert Constanza (2006), it was the Indians weak
immune system that actually gave in to the pathogens of the Europeans. The Native
Americans for several generations had never been exposed to the types of diseases
that plagued the Europeans. Diseases such as syphilis, small pox and flu were
totally foreign to the Indians and their immune system. Over several generations, for
thousands for years, there was no transmission of genes that could have served as a
barricade against the pathogens brought by the Europeans; hence, the Indians'
immune system succumbed to the diseases against which they had no shield or
cure. In 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus(2005)Charles
Mann explained "Native Americans have far less diversity than Europeans in their
human leukocyte antigens (HLAs), molecules inside human cells that are essential to
the body's main defenses against pathogens".
Contrariwise, European populations in the 1400 had diverse HLA profiles, and
this allowed a large percentage of them to resist most diseases, even the plague.
But the Indians having been sealed away in the protective cocoon of the Americas
and then suddenly intruded upon by the pathogens living on the Europeans had no
defenses, neither cure for the ailments which was strange to them, consequently,
they died in large numbers. Though the population decline of the Native Americans
favored the Europeans, the resulting death could not be totally attributed to the
Europeans callousness. Therefore the mass deaths cannot be described genocide
it was not systematic like the Holocaust or the Rwandan genocides.
The Europeans could not have controlled how the Indians reacted to the
unseen pathogens they carried. In fact, during the War preceding Independence, it is
reported that even the Europeans were a casualty of their own diseases. Even
George Washington was reported to be scarred for life as a result of having
contracted small pox. Also, an account during the war noted that "Washington
obtained approval from the Continental Congress for this program after observing
the effect of smallpox on General Horatio Gates' American Northern Army. Of Gates'
10,000 troops, 5500 had to be hospitalized, and the campaign had to be suspended

for five weeks" (Flexner, James Thomas. Washington: The Indispensible Man pg 8).
This instances help to clarify that the European diseases (largely responsible for the
death of native Indians en masse) was not unique to the Native Americans.
Estimates of the population of the Western Hemisphere before Columbus generally
range between 30 and 100 million people. Recent studies lean to the high end of this
range. Possibly more people lived in the New World in 1492 than in Europe. Early
reports indicate that Hispaniola alone held a million Taino Indians.
Although they were superior farmers, the peoples of the New World lagged far
behind the Spanish in technology. Some knew about the wheel, but since they had
no horses, donkeys, mules, or oxen, they never developed wheeled vehicles. They
made no steel tools or weapons. Neither did they possess gunpowder. The greatest
weakness of New World peoples, however, proved to be their lack of resistance
against Old World diseases. Some of the people who entered America from Asia
before the land bridge disappeared might have carried Old World pathogens
(bacteria or viruses causing disease). But biologists think these people or the
pathogens themselves would not have survived long in the Arctic cold.
New World peoples were relatively healthy compared to their Old World
cousins. Without exposure to Old World pathogens, however, the people of New
World had no chance to pass on genetic resistance or acquire lifetime immunities by
surviving diseases in childhood.
Europe and later Africa exported, unintentionally, more than a dozen diseases
that killed large numbers of American natives. Some, like measles and chickenpox,
were childhood diseases that usually did not cause many deaths in the Old World
but killed millions of American natives.
The Old World disease that killed more New World people than any other was
smallpox. A person caught this disease by breathing in the smallpox virus or by
coming into contact with the puss-filled boils or scabs on a victims skin. Death often
occurred after a high fever, the eruption of boils, and massive vomiting of blood.
Scars from the boils disfigured victims who survived. Survivors were also usually
immune from another smallpox infection.
The first smallpox epidemic in the New World began in 1518 on Hispaniola
among the Taino. Up to 50 percent of them, about a half-million people, died within
two years. Few of the Spanish suffered the disease since most acquired immunity
after surviving smallpox as children. Within 100 years, the Taino were extinct, mainly
due to smallpox and other diseases.
The Taino disaster was repeated many times in the New World. The native
peoples had no experience with quarantines. Their medicines and religious beliefs
could not stop the sicknesses. The epidemics struck down their leaders, farmers,
and warriors, leaving few to care for or protect those who might have survived.
Famine, something rare in the Western Hemisphere before Columbus, often went
hand-in-hand with the epidemics.
In 1519, Hernando Cortez invaded Aztec Mexico with 600 soldiers, 14
cannons, 13 muskets, and 16 horses. After gaining the support of discontented

peoples ruled by the Aztecs, Cortez seized their capital city. Tenochtitlan, with a
population of 200,000, was larger than Paris, Europes greatest city.
After the Spanish abused the people, the Aztecs revolted, and drove the
Spanish out of their city. By the time Cortez regrouped and returned, however,
smallpox was raging within Tenochtitlan, wiping out a third of the people. Cortez had
little difficulty defeating the sick and starving Aztecs. Once they reached the
mainland, smallpox and other Old World diseases spread unbelievably fast.
Epidemics actually struck before the Spanish conquistadors entered new lands in
Central and South America. Infected natives fleeing an epidemic made better
carriers of the disease than the Spanish themselves.
Smallpox killed the Inca leader, which set off a civil war before Francisco
Pizarro reached Peru in 1530. In 1620 when the Pilgrims landed in New England,
typhus or the bubonic plague had depopulated the entire coastal region a few years
before. In 183738, smallpox killed up to 50 percent of the North American Plains
D. Was there any form of slavery?
The Spanish conquistadors quickly put Indians to work, often as slaves,
mining gold and silver. Mine owners discovered that if Indian miners working at high
altitudes in the mountains chewed coca leaves, they were stimulated to work longer
each day. The gold and silver sent back to Spain financed a new European global
trading system.
The Spanish conquistadors also found they could make a lot of money
ranching cattle and growing plantation cash crops like sugar, tobacco, and long-fiber
cotton for export to Europe. The Spanish crown granted the conquistadors
encomiendas, which gave them the right to use the labor of Indians to work their
ranchos and plantations.
The continuing epidemics and harsh working conditions, however, caused
most Indian workers to die off quickly. The Spanish and other Europeans colonizing
the New World needed a new source of labor. They tried European indentured
servants, convicts, and even kidnap victims. But by about 1550, African diseases like
yellow fever and malaria had crossed the Atlantic and were killing Europeans and
Indians alike.
The African slave trade then began. The Portuguese were the first to cash in
on selling African slaves in the New World, but the Dutch, English, French, and
Danes soon joined this business. Africans proved resistant to yellow fever and
malaria and survived working in the tropical heat better than Indians or Europeans.
From the 1500s until 1870, when the slave trade finally ended, Europeans
transported an estimated 10 million Africans to America. Europeans also came in
large numbers. Prompted by Europes rapidly growing population, shortage of cheap
land, and poor industrial conditions, about 50 million Europeans had crossed the
Atlantic by 1930. In effect, the African and European mass migrations helped
repopulate the New World.

E. Have both groups shown themselves to be friendly? Has respect been

shown to each other?
The Indians met the first Europeans with curiosity and friendship. But
friendship was rarely returned. During their explorations of South America, Central
America , and Mexico in search of gold, silver, and precious stones, early Spanish
conquistadores plundered the Indian villages and enslaved and murdered the
inhabitants. Spanish colonists later forced Indians to labor in mines and on large
estates to produce commodities for export to Spain. Early French colonists mainly
traded for furs with the Indians in the St. Lawrence Valley and around the Great
Lakes. Rivalry for a monopoly of the fur trade led to warfare among the tribes.
Intermarriage between the Indians and the French was frequent.
The Indians along the Eastern seaboard of North America helped the early
English colonists establish settlements, raise crops, and adjust to living in a
wilderness. Powhatan (Wahunsonacock), leader of an Algonquian-speaking
confederacy in Virginia, and Massasoit (Wasamegin), leader of the Wampanoag
Indians in New England, established generally peaceful trade relations with the
Indians generally had bitter experiences with the Europeans. Traders often
made them drunk to take advantage of them, and European diseases like smallpox
and tuberculosis wiped out whole tribes. Many Indian skills and much of Indian tribal
identity was lost through the gradual adoption of European ways and increasing
dependence on European goods.
Independent America Objective:
I. To determine whether the American Indians way of life today was changed
brought about by the colonialism.
A. Describe the Indian Life in Modern America?
About 2.5 million Native Americans live in the USA today. The biggest tribes
are the Cherokee, Chippewa, Navajo and Sioux. About a third of the Indians in the
US live on reservations. The rest live in cities or towns.
Indian culture is still preserved on reservations. Here, Indians practice old
traditions. However, they are worried that their traditions will disappear because
more and more Indians are being integrated into society.
Today, Native Americans are better off than they were at the beginning of the
20th century. They get better education; many go to high school and some to
college. Many Native Americans work as lawyers, doctors or have other important
jobs, like working for government companies. Some tribes get money from tourism or
selling handicrafts. In 1988 the government allowed casinos and other gambling
operations on reservations. Other tribes earn money from taxes on oil or gas that is
produced on their land.

Even though life has improved , Native Americans still face many problems in
todays America. Unemployment on reservations is about 50%. The income of an
Indian family is much lower than that of a white family. Most Indians are badly paid
and are unskilled workers. Suicide rates are also higher than in other places. Some
Indians try to reduce their problems by drinking alcohol and taking drugs.
B. How does government involve in control of Indian Affairs?
The United States Congress has complete authority over Indian affairs. It can
disband the Indian tribes as it did under the Indian General Allotment Act of 1887
and the termination legislation of the 1950s, or it can permit them to organize as it
did under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. Congress can overrule court
decisions dealing with Indian tribes.
Congress exercises its authority over Indian affairs through the Indian Affairs
subcommittees of the Interior and Insular Affairs committees of the Senate and the
House of Representatives. Congress also controls Indian affairs through
appropriations. Money to support the tribal organizations, to pay for social services
and education, and to provide development capital is appropriated through the
House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees on Interior and Related Agencies.
In 1924 all the Indians in the United States were made citizens. They now
possess the same citizenship rights in the states where they reside as do other
citizens of those states. However, those Indians who are members of federally
recognized tribes or who live on individually owned restricted or trust land enjoy a
special status. Their tribes are political entities which generally are outside the
jurisdiction of the individual states in which they are located, and their treaty rights
are still valid.

Most of these tribes were formed under the provisions of the Indian
Reorganization Act of 1934. They have the power to tax their membership and make
certain laws, to issue charters, to regulate marriage and divorce, and so forth. This
authority is recognized by the federal government and by the individual states. Those
tribes that were not put under state civil and criminal jurisdiction have full civil
jurisdiction on their reservations and jurisdiction over all but major crimes--such as
murder, arson, and larceny--which are under federal jurisdiction.
Title to tribal land and to restricted land belonging to individual Indians is held
in trust for the Indians by the United States government. These trust lands and the
proceeds therefrom are tax-exempt. Indians residing on their tribal reservations or on
restricted land are eligible for services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) of the
Department of the Interior and from the Indian Health Service of the Department of
Health, Education, and Welfare. The BIA also serves Indians living in the cities.
Prior to the restoration of tribal governing bodies under the Indian
Reorganization Act of 1934, the Department of the Interior, acting through the BIA
had complete control of the Indian reservations. The Department of the Interior still
legally controls many aspects of Indian life, such as regulating tribal attorney
contracts and authorizing the leasing of Indian land. In addition, the approval of the

secretary of the interior must be obtained before any Indian land in trust status-either tribal or individual--can be alienated from Indian ownership.
The Department of the Interior is also responsible for the protection of Indian
interests. Often, however, the department has been indifferent to its responsibility,
has substituted its judgment for that of the Indians, or has worked actively against
what the Indians wanted. Cases in point were the Indian General Allotment Act of
1887 and the termination legislation of the 1950s.
The Interior Department's difficulties in meeting its responsibility also stem
from internal conflicts of interest. The BIA is under the Interior Department's assistant
secretary for public land management. It is almost inevitable that situations will arise,
for example, in which Indian interests will conflict with those of the Bureau of
Reclamation, also in the Interior Department. In most cases the Indians do not have
enough political influence to force a resolution of such conflicts in their favor.

Conflicts also arise with the Justice Department, on which the Interior
Department must rely to bring suit on behalf of the Indians. Often the Justice
Department will fail to bring suit, especially if the suit is against the United States .
Congress enacted the law establishing the Indian Claims Commission in
1946. Until then it had been necessary for the tribes to secure a jurisdictional act
from Congress before they could sue the United States for land and money losses in
the Court of Claims.
Under the Indian Claims Commission Act, the Indians were given a statutory
limit of five years in which to file their claims. By 1951, about 600 claims had been
filed. By 1970, half of the claims were still pending and one fourth had been
dismissed. Awards totaling about 330 million dollars had been made on the other
The awards were based on the value of land at the time it was taken from the
Indians. This meant mostly 19th-century land prices. Indians were thus being paid, in
some instances, at the rate of only 50 cents an acre for land that was later worth up
to 30 dollars an acre. After an award has been made in such cases, any past federal
expenditures, or offsets, are deducted. Because funds from the awards are held in
trust by the federal government, they are tax-exempt. Money is usually paid out on a
per capita basis or is put into tribal development programs.
The Indian Claims Commission, like the Court of Claims generally, is
permitted to make only money judgments. Sometimes the Indians do not want the
money but rather want the return of the land. The Taos Pueblo Indians of New
Mexico, for example, refused a money judgment awarded by the Indian Claims
Commission. In 1970 the tribe secured Congressional passage of a bill returning the
Blue Lake area of New Mexico to them.
In 1971 Congress approved the largest single land settlement--44,000,000
acres (17,800,000 hectares)--with an award of almost 1 billion dollars to the Indians,
Aleuts, and Eskimos of Alaska to clear the way for construction of the oil pipeline

from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez . In the 1980s land settlements for land in excess of
several hundred thousand acres were being sought by various tribes throughout the
United States . In many cases, a critical issue in the court battles over land is the fact
that much of it was bought by individuals and corporations without knowledge of
Indian claims.
Until the mid-1950s, when Indian health services were detached from the BIA
and placed under the United States Public Health Service in the Department of
Health, Education, and Welfare, the BIA had sole responsibility for the provision of
services to the federally recognized tribes. However, the Indians did participate in
some of the federal New Deal programs of the 1930s. They also receive such
benefits as old-age assistance from programs under the Social Security
Administration. Besides the services connected with the execution of its trust
function, the BIA provides services in the areas of education, welfare, and economic
Indians were equally eligible with non-Indians for an array of federal programs
created for the benefit of the poor during the 1960s. The Departments of State,
Treasury, and Defense also developed major programs to help the Indians. Among
the independent agencies with programs that benefited Indians were the
Environmental Protection Agency, the Commission on Civil Rights, and the Small
Business Administration. In 1968 the National Council on Indian Opportunity was
created to coordinate the federal programs, but it was discontinued in 1974.
The Administration for Native Americans, a division of the Department of
Health and Human Services, is concerned with the social and economic
development of all Native Americans. This administration coordinates legislative
proposals, develops social and economic policy, and administers a grant program on
behalf of Native Americans. In November 1989 United States President George
Bush signed legislation to establish a new National Museum of the American Indian
in Washington, D.C. , as part of the Smithsonian Institution. The legislation included
a promise by the Smithsonian to return thousands of Native American human
remains from its collection to modern tribal groups. Many of the new museum's
artifacts will be contributed by the Heye Foundation's Museum of the American
Indian in New York City.
C. What kind of education did the government provide to the Native
Many of the treaties provided for the establishment of schools. Congress also
provided schools for Indian children where other educational facilities were not
available. In 1979 the BIA operated more than 200 schools for Indian children and 15
dormitories for children attending public schools. In 1979 there were about 44,000
Indian students enrolled in boarding, day, and dormitory schools that were operated
by the BIA. There were about 6,400 Indian students enrolled in private, mission, and
tribal-operated schools. Increasingly, as fewer Indian families live on reservations,
more children are attending the public schools in their local school districts.
Congressional education appropriations to the BIA are limited to the education
of children who are one-fourth or more Indian and of native children in Alaska . An

exception is the Cherokee agency, where children who are less than one-fourth
Indian may also attend federal schools. Less than half of the BIA budget is used for
education, and there are supplemental funds from other agencies.
The Navajo Community College in Arizona , which was established in 1969, is
the oldest chartered tribal community college. There are now more than a dozen
tribal community colleges. There are also vocational-technical schools above the
high-school level.
D. What are the economic and political developments achieved by the Native
Before the 1960s the only alternatives for those Indians unable to find work on
their reservations were accepting welfare assistance or migrating to the cities. When
the federal Indian policy changed from tribal termination to tribal self-determination,
large sums of government money began to pour into the reservations. In 1967 the
Economic Development Administration began a program to assist Indians residing
on trust lands. The program's direction has been largely in the field of planning and
technical assistance, with funding for the construction of community and commercial
projects. The Office of Minority Business Enterprise also helps to promote expansion
of Indian businesses.
Some of the industries created were electronic parts assembly plants on
reservations in Nevada , North Dakota , and New Mexico ; prefabricated home
manufacturing plants on reservations in North Dakota and Montana ; furniture plants
on reservations in Utah and New Mexico ; and a semiconductor plant on the Navajo
reservation at Shiprock , N.M.
Tribes were also working to expand their tourist industries. New Indian-owned
campgrounds were set up in Arizona and South Dakota . The Cheyenne River Sioux
of South Dakota owned the telephone system on their reservation. The Navajos
operated the public utilities on their reservation. One of the long-range benefits of
these developments was that such arrangements enabled the tribes to tax their
membership and opened the way to economic self-sufficiency for their tribal
government operations.
One of the first modern Indian political organizations to be formed was the
National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). Established in 1944, the NCAI
sought to act as representative for the Indian tribes at the national level. Its
membership included delegates from each of its member tribes as well as individual
Indians. The NCAI was active in influencing legislation.
Many tribes have also organized politically at the state and local levels. The
United Sioux of South Dakota was formed in an attempt to prevent the state from
assuming jurisdiction over the Indian reservations in South Dakota . The Sioux were
successful in securing enough signatures on a petition to have the assumption-ofjurisdiction law submitted to the voters, but the measure was defeated.
In the 1960s Indians in the state of Washington began agitating to maintain
their traditional right to fish in the streams in Washington free from state regulation.

By the provisions of century-old treaties, the Indians had given up most of their land
along the rivers but had inserted articles in the treaties specifying that their people
could continue to fish in their "usual and accustomed places" along the rivers. In
1964 the newly organized Survival of American Indians Association began to
dramatize the issue of Indian fishing rights by staging demonstrations, or fish-ins.
Shots were exchanged when a group of armed Indians staged a fish-in on the
Puyallup River in 1970; 54 Indians were arrested for violating state fishing
regulations. The Indians also carried their fight into the courts, but the various
decisions that were rendered were vague and contradictory.
In 1966 a more militant organization, the American Indian Movement (AIM),
was founded to force reorganization of the BIA in order to make it more responsive
to the needs of native Americans. It also supported tribal demands for the return of
Indian lands. In 1973 about 200 armed AIM supporters, led by Russell Means and
Dennis Banks, occupied a South Dakota reservation in a 71-day siege that became
known as the second battle of Wounded Knee . They declared it the Independent
Oglala Sioux Nation. The area was the site of a bloody massacre of Indians by the
United States Army in 1890. During the takeover, hostages were seized and
government blockades cut off supplies.
In the early 1950s the BIA launched a relocation program to speed the
migration. The Indians, who could find little work on the economically depressed
reservations, were eager to take advantage of the program. But as the decade
progressed, participants in the relocation program came to include many who were
poorly educated and thus ill-equipped to succeed in an urban environment. But the
newcomers were refused social services in the city because they were "BIA Indians."
At the same time the BIA refused them services on the grounds that they were no
longer living on or near a reservation. The BIA relocation program failed because the
Indians either returned to the reservations or remained in the cities and made
unsuccessful adjustments to urban life.
In 1969 the Office of Indian Affairs in the Department of Health, Education,
and Welfare sponsored an all-Indian study group called the Task Force on Racially
Isolated Urban Indians. It was to investigate the urban Indian problem and develop a
program leading to its solution. The study group found that the needs common to
urban Indians were: (1) more effective systems of social-service delivery; (2)
expanded programs for Indian youth; (3) better physical facilities to house Indian
centers; (4) additional staff to work in those centers; (5) training for staff and board
members of the centers; and (6) improved techniques for informing urban Indians of
programs and resources available to them. The task force recommended the
creation of a model Indian center demonstration project. Some centers were funded
in 1971. Enactment of the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act in 1973
was another attempt to help urban Indians by providing grants for manpower
programs, including vocational training, to the unemployed, underemployed, and
E. What do you think was the best Old World contribution to the New World
and best New World contribution to the Old World?

What occurred during the four centuries of European conquest in the

Americas merely extended the continuum of history into a new arena. The
successes of these new arrivals and their descendants, consistent with the historical
tendencies in human behavior, came at the expense of people whose kinship-based
tribal system still operated on communitarian, if exclusive, principles. Only the tribes
of the southern hemisphere had become fully settled and had entered into their own
era of empire-building. Unfortunately for their survival, the European people had
achieved both technological and organizational superiority as these characteristics
applied to the art of warfare. The tribes of the southern hemisphere had numbers in
their favor but had no time to adopt European weaponry or strategy. In North
America, the tribes gained considerable access to modern weapons and were more
flexible in their strategies. The two most important advantages the EuropeanAmericans possessed in the north was the endless stream of migration that more
than replaced the population lost during warfare, and a production system centered
in large and relatively secure population centers.
While the contribution made by the indigenous American tribes to the advance
of civilization remains little appreciated, their true nature is often romanticized and
the harsh aspects of their societal structure down played or ignored. They neither
championed a human rights doctrine nor lived by principles we would recognize as
inherently just. They were territorial and monopolistic in behavior where the earth
was concerned, even when communitarian within their own tribal group. Too late,
they finally realized the full danger presented by the Europeans. Unwittingly, the
indigenous tribes of the Americas became mere pawns in a struggle for hegemonic
power that began centuries before and an ocean away. Even with independence
from Britain, the European-Americans had no possibility of escaping the politics of
the Old World. Alexander Hamilton correctly assessed that the new Union remained
at risk so long as the nation remained a peripheral power whose borders were long
and unsecured.
The descendants of these survivors relinquished control over their territories,
while becoming subjects rather than citizens of the new nation. Their numbers
continued to fall during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries but have
rebounded to nearly a million today. As the institutional structure of the State has
come under increasing scrutiny and pressure from people organized on behalf of
transnational principles of justice, manipulation of positive law by the privileged few
has become more difficult. In the United States and Canada, particularly, the people
of America's indigenous tribes are gradually obtaining the rights of citizenship
ostensibly sanctioned by positive law. Still at issue, however, is the question of the
territorial and political sovereignty forcibly taken from their ancestors.

Research Debate
I. The invasion of first European contact on Native Americans brought goodness and
develops into a wealthy nation in todays time.


Because of what I described today, a great nation was born perhaps the
greatest in a continent which was nothing, which changed the world and put
man on the moon. This is likely the place where you live so comfortably or at
least take advantage of what it has contributed to the world.


Living comfortably is always favourable to the white people and there is no

major progress among the natives due to social isolation and racists. Also,
back during the colonial period, many natives were killed directly most by
disease. What survives today is now living in reservations.


The natives actually received ethical consideration by their conquerors and

were given reservations where their culture survives without fear of further
invasion. That serves a better opportunity for them.


The experiences brought about by the war and conflicts will always be their
fear and that will not be forgotten. Native inhabitants in this country
particularly the Indian Americans are not given the equal opportunity to be
part of the European society. European took away the freedom of the natives
to live peacefully. In addition, the expansion of Europeans territory pushed
the natives out of their traditional lands and forced them to settle in
unfavourable and less familiar territories.

II. The catastrophic decline of the native Indian population was an act of genocide
perpetrated by the Europeans.

Pathetically, as a result of contact with the Europeans, several Native

American generations were either nearly wiped or totally wiped out. For
instance, the population on Hispaniola which was estimated between 300,000
and 1 million in 1492 had almost disappeared half a century later and the
population of Mexico considerably from 20 million to 2 million a ninety
percent decrease.


Though the population decline of the Native Americans favored the

Europeans, the resulting death could not be totally attributed to the Europeans
cruelty. Therefore the mass deaths cannot be described genocide. It was not
systematic like the Holocaust or the Rwandan genocides. The Europeans
could not have controlled how the Indians reacted to the unseen pathogens
they carried. In fact, during the War preceding Independence, it is reported
that even the Europeans were a casualty of their own diseases.


European populations in the 1400 had diverse HLA profiles, and this allowed
a large percentage of them to resist most diseases, even the plague. But the
Indians having been sealed away in the protective cocoon of the Americas
and then suddenly intruded upon by the pathogens living on the Europeans
had no defenses, neither cure for the ailments which was strange to them,
consequently, they died in large numbers.


The European diseases, which has been named the most prominent
assailants of the Indians was not injected into the Indians skin, sources of
food or water; rather as explained by Robert Constanza (2006), it was the
Indians weak immune system that actually gave in to the pathogens of the
Europeans. Could it then be interpreted that the catastrophic decline of the
native Indian population was an act of genocide perpetrated by the
Europeans? The answer is an emphatic NO!

Constitutional Rights Foundation. Bill of Rights in Action. Summer 2009. Volume 25,
no. 1.