Your question is very broad in scope, but I have attempted to post a
few points on each part of your question. Injustices to Native
Americans were committed in large numbers by ignorant people, and the
topic has filled a plethora of books. Some people would even argue
whether the government has really helped tribal peoples at all. (My
husband?s grandmother was also a full Cherokee and knew Geronimo!)
Discrimination and Mistreatment
?The U.S. falls into this latter category. Indigenous people are
referred to as "Fourth World" as opposed to being Third World, which
contains some outsider-built nations. About 50 nationalities belong to
a group called the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
(UNPO) which includes occupied nations, indigenous peoples, and
oppressed minorities. Some indigenous peoples, like Native American
Indians, also refer to themselves as "First World/First Peoples".
?The main problem with not having nation-state status is that no other
country in the world will do business with you. Indigenous peoples are
not allowed to have embassies, diplomats, or business representatives.
They have no power to make trade agreements, collect tax revenue,
enter into political alliances, or be involved in immigration.?
?The plight of American Indians throughout the history of America was
determined by many factors. Forcing Indians to live on reservations by
the federal government was not enough.
State and city governments set up laws ordering Indians to stay out or
get permission before they crossed a state line or entered a city.
Indians were not allowed inside a city after dark. Some of these laws
are still on the books today around our country.
It's true American history, with all this being forced on them,
American Indians are a very proud people. The dark cloud is fading
over the Indian community, the dark past of how America truly came
about is now being told.?
?"I'm making a living out of my heritage that I'm so proud of and
educating the uninformed public."Wildcat jokes about how rich Indians
were before whites drove them off their land. "We had all the wealth
in the world," he said, citing minerals, fishing and hunting. "Whites
brought taxes," he said before adding with a broad smile, that "we've
never wanted. You just came in and invited yourselves. It's a dark
shadow, but we make the best.?
?Bear River Massacre
By the early 1860s, many felt a need to punish the tribes along the
Trail. Col. Patrick Conner, stationed in Salt Lake City, was among
those who wanted to teach the Native Americans a lesson. In January of
1863 Conner and his California Volunteers marched north to the Bear
River. There, Conner's men brutally killed 400 Shoshoni men, women and
children. More Native Americans died at Bear River than any other
battle in western history.
This grotesque attempt at genocide did have its intended effect. The
Trail was safe for the emigrants--for a while. But word of the Bear
Rive Massacre, and a similar event in Sand Creek Colorado, soon spread
to tribes across the west. Natve Americans had had enough--and they
were about to begin fighting back.?
?The framers of the U.S. Constitution, albeit eloquent in their
defense of freedom and equality, sanctioned the separate and unequal
treatment of blacks and Indians (Hirschhorn, 1976; Lynd, 1968). In the
early 20th century, passionate speeches against educational equity
were well-received on the floors of Congress, rationales for separate
and unequal were expounded by scholars at prestigious universities,
and pseudo-scientific articles about the ineducability of certain
races appeared in leading research journals (Newby, 1968). Ellwood P.
Cubberly, an influential force behind the Pedagogy and School
Administration Program at Stanford University, proposed a model of
education that envisioned separate schools for the "overage,
defective, delinquent, or the Negro Race" (as quoted in Mohraz, 1979,
p. 49). Institutionalized racism elevated bigotry to respectability,
fostering racial misconceptions and inequities that linger, in subtle
and not so subtle ways, to this day.
As a result, the school experiences of African-Americans, American
Indians, Mexican-Americans, and other ethnic minorities have often
been harsh and alienating. During the early part of this century, it
was widely argued that highly educated blacks were "not a force for
good" -- to prepare blacks for their station in life, schools were
directed to teach black children simple skills and values that
prevented them from aspiring to "the white man's condition" (Odum,
1910/1968, pp. 65, 69). Teachers' salaries, school facilities, and
classroom supplies given to black schools were generally inferior to
those provided for white schools (Anderson, 1988; U.S. Commission on
Civil Rights, 1976, p. 2). Southern educators, black or white, who
challenged this status quo sometimes risked their lives.?
Many accounts of present day discrimination on this site:
?ENN News: "A court-appointed investigator has resigned from the
multibillion-dollar lawsuit by American Indians against the Interior
Department, contending the government wanted him off the case after he
found evidence that energy companies got special treatment at the
expense of impoverished Indians. Alan Balaran, the special master in
the case, contends his findings could have cost the companies millions
of dollars and that department officials with ties to the industry
'could not let this happen.' Justice has been much too long in coming
for the hundreds of thousands of Native Americans... Billions of
dollars are at stake,' according to the resignation letter made public
Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth. The Interior Department
[of course!] accused Balaran of 'concocting preposterous charges.' "?
?Although one of the last major military actions against Native
Americans occured in the 1800s, a new study published in the American
Sociological Review shows that Native Americans are exposed to toxic
chemicals, since many Native American reservations are located near
military installations where toxic and unexploded munitions are
?In 1830, Congress chose to disregard Indian treaty guarantees when it
passed the Indian Removal Act, a bill engineered by President Andrew
Jackson. Despite its language suggesting a voluntary and fair
"exchange" of lands, the act opened the door for the militias of
trans-Appalachian and southern states to simply drive the Indians
across the Mississippi by force. The Indians destination was to be an
"Indian Territory" set aside west of Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas.?
?The Cherokee nation resisted, however, challenging in court the
Georgia laws that restricted their freedoms on tribal lands. In its
1831 ruling on Cherokee Nation v. the State of Georgia, the Supreme
Court addressed the question of whether native tribes could be treated
as "foreign nations." It decided that they should be counted rather as
wards of the federal government, but the following year ruled that
they were indeed sovereign and immune from Georgia laws. President
Jackson, famous from his "Seminole Wars" against the Indians in
Georgia and Florida and an ardent defender of states' rights,
nonetheless refused to heed the court's decision. He obtained the
signature of a Cherokee chief agreeing to relocation in the Treaty of
New Enchola, which Congress ratified against the protests of Daniel
Webster and Henry Clay in 1835. The Cherokee signing party did not
represent the vast majority of Cherokees. When the followers of
Principal Chief John Ross tried desperately to hold onto their land,
Jackson ordered military action in 1838. Under the guns of federal
troops and Georgia state militia, the Cherokee tribe made their trek
to the dry plains across the Mississippi. Thousands died en route from
the brutal conditions of the "Trail of Tears."?
?With the coming of the white man to the New World, there was a
systematic attempt to annihilate the Native American way of life. The
Tsa-La-Gi, the proud and powerful Cherokee Nation, once spread through
eight states. In 1838, the very foundations of Cherokee society were
swept away. Most of the Cherokee were uprooted from their homes and
forced to take the long, bitter ?Trail of Tears? to Oklahoma.
Thousands died. The remnant left behind in the North Carolina
mountains later formed the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians.
In the late 1800?s, the U.S. government established mandatory boarding
schools for Native Americans. Children were forcefully taken from
their homes and sent to these schools where they lived regimented
lives, stripped of all that hinted of their culture. They were not
allowed to speak their language nor practice traditional ways. They
often went years without seeing their families. For at least three
generations there was no opportunity to learn or to teach parenting
Sadly, many of these injustices, and the deliberate destruction of
Native American culture, were carried out in the name of Christianity.
The effects of this cultural genocide are all too evident today.
Depression, hopelessness, drug use, health problems, broken homes,
violence, alcoholism and abuse abound. Caught in this cycle, young men
like Cooter lose hope and give into the drugs and alcohol that waste
?In the Indian Wars, the Cheyenne were the victims of the Sand Creek
Massacre in which the Colorado Militia killed 600 Cheyenne. In the
early morning on November 27, 1868 the Battle of Washita River started
when United States Army Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer led
the 7th U.S. Cavalry in an attack on a band of peaceful Cheyenne
legally living on reservation land with Chief Black Kettle. 103
Cheyenne were killed, mostly women and children.?
?Reluctantly, on October 7, 1861, Ross signed a treaty transferring
all obligations due to the Cherokee from the U.S. Government to the
Confederate States. In the treaty, the Cherokee were guaranteed
protection, rations of food, livestock, tools and other goods, as well
as a delegate to the Confederate Congress at Richmond. In exchange,
the Cherokee would furnish ten companies of mounted men, and allow the
construction of military posts and roads within the Cherokee Nation.
However, no Indian regiment was to be called on to fight outside
?The Cherokee Nation was the most negatively affected of all Native
American tribes during the Civil War, its population declining from
21,000 to 15,00 by 1865. Despite the Federal government's promise to
pardon all Cherokee involved with the Confederacy, the entire Nation
was considered disloyal, and those rights were revoked.?
?American Indians often avoided a paper trail because they believed it
would lead to discrimination, Rosier said. Many lived on the margins
between white and American Indian worlds, adopting the dress and
religion of the larger white culture in order to fit in, he added.
Stigma also drove many American Indians to simply abandon their tribes
altogether, changing their names to blend into white society, said
Johni Cerny, owner of the Salt Lake City-based Lineages Inc., an
online company that does genealogical searches.?
?The United States Government has been trying unsuccessfully to
register Native American Indians for over a hundred years. The
infamous Dawes Act of 1887 was the first such effort on a large-scale.
The purported aim of the Act was to protect Indian property rights
during the Oklahoma Land Rush. By registering, Indians were told, they
would be allotted 160 acres of land per family in advance of the Land
Rush and thus be restituted for 100 years of genocide against them.
The purpose of the Dawes Act, ostensibly to protect Indian welfare,
was viewed with suspicion by many Indians hurt by government's clumsy
relocation efforts of the past. Indians who had refused to submit to
previous relocations refused to register on the Dawes Rolls for fear
that they would be caught and punished.
To get on the Dawes Rolls, Native Americans had to "anglicize" their
names. Rolling Thunder thus became Ron Thomas and so forth. This bit
of "melting pot" chicanery allowed agents of the government, sent to
the frontier to administer the Act, to slip the names of their
relatives and friends onto the Dawes Rolls and thus reap millions of
acres of land for their friends and cronys.?
?Haskell was one of a handful of "boarding schools" for American
Indians founded in the late 1800s by the U.S. government. Dubbed the
United States Indian Industrial Training School, Haskell opened in
1884 with 22students.
School leaders cut off the children's hair, discarded their Indian
clothing and refused to let them speak in native languages or practice
their religions. The students were not allowed to leave the school for
family visits for at least four years and were drilled daily in "white
The assimilation effort came after the U.S. government seized Indian
lands amid westward white migration across the United States. School
historians say some Indian families sent their children willingly to
the school, believing it would help them, while others lost their
children to government round-ups.
Of those original schools, Haskell is the only one operating today.
Its transformation took place slowly, gaining steam in the 1960s and
'70s along with Indian activism."The idea was to take the Indian out
of the soul without killing the man," said Dr George Godfrey, national
programme leader for multi-cultural alliances at the U.S. Department
A very interesting look into racism and education:
?Iris All Runner in Wolf Point, Montana was the first person to enter
into my life at this particular fork in the road. Iris faced a racist
school that had refused to budge in their tactics, some so archaic it
is hard to imagine they had not been banished decades, even centuries
ago. It was a school with an 80% Native student population and a
completely white administration. The school board was white but for
one Native man who had a very hard time making his voice heard. There
was absolutely no cultural understanding between staff and students
and the results were disastrous.?
?One of the saddest chapters in Native American history has to be
these children who were forcibly removed from their homes and families
to attend boarding schools. Many times, Indian children died at these
schools - from diseases they had no natural immunity to, from
homesickness and other factors. There are hundreds of graves, over 250
at Carlisle alone, of these children who suffered and died alone and
lonely, far from all that was familiar to them, remembered only by
those friends and family who mourned their loss. The children who
survived the training were no better off - and in some cases worse off
- than those who escaped the forced schooling. They often found
themselves unwelcome in white society in spite of their painful
acculterization process, and sometimes returned to their tribes to
find they were no longer accepted there either.
It should be pointed out, however, that not all Indian schools
were the scene of such terror and heartbreak. Some schools were
created at the request of the tribes and were monitored by the tribal
leaders. One such school is the Red Cloud Indian School, founded as
the Holy Rosary Mission in 1888 at the request of Chief Red Cloud, of
the Oglala Sioux at the Pine Ridge Reservation. The school was founded
by the Jesuits, who served as teachers and missionaries to the
?The Native Americans could never adequately respond to the Colonial
agenda and eventually succumbed to the onslaught against them. They
survive only in sparse numbers with withered cultural ties. Those who
are invisible in the White American culture can mold into that
Many Native American tribes have been granted privileges allowing
establishment of gambling casinos that relieve their poverty and their
economic burden on the American government. A minority of Native
Americans have become supported by ownership of the gambling casinos,
giving these groups an estimated per capita income of $25,000. The
great majority of the Native Americans remain as wards of the American
government and live from welfare.?
?Eventually about eight million Native Americans would die as a result
of white domination; when genocidal mortality rates among native
people led early American farmers to seek African slaves, about 50
million died in the process.?
?Don?t use Native Americas for team logos and mascots.
?We believe respect for self and others is foremost,? is a part of
Vallejo High School?s vision statement. Beside that statement is a
picture of an Apache Indian. They named the Apache for the school?s
team name, logo and mascot. Does anyone see a contradiction there??
?While remarkably free of disease, Indian people did have ailments
which made it necessary for them to seek curative herbs. The
predominant disorders besides besides external injuries, seem to have
been arthritis digestive disorders and respiratory infections.
Apparently the Native American's generally harmonius quiet way of
life, apart from warfare, protected them from a whole category of the
white man's ills. It seems that heart disease, arteriosclerosis, and
cancer were rare indeed. Neurological and psychiatric disturbances
were also uncommon.?
?Almost all the Indian's diseases came about by the weather, and
hardships such as famine and injuries. It was only with the arrival of
the white man that the North American Indian's system of medicine
broke down. New, and to the Native 'doctors' and 'nurses' unknown
diseases such as scarlet fever, tuberculosis, smallpos, and other
frightful diseases spread through the tribes like a devastating flame.
It is noted that the entire western plains region of Canada was
ravages by smallpox in the fall and winter of the 1870's. An estimated
five thousand Cree and Blackfeet (sometimes referred to as Blackfoot)
died. The fatal blossoms of smallpox almost decimated the Indian
population. In the providence of God, only the discovery of a
vaccination by an English physician, Edward Jenner, saved the North
American inhabitants. In a sense, western medical science gave back to
Native Americans a little of what it owed.?
?The result of the colonization of the America by white people was a
huge devastation of native cultures. Native Americans were robbed of
their land and hunting grounds. This meant that their lifestyle was
not possible. Government of the US often broke treaties in order to
take away more land. Usually this was the best land, very fertile or
with lots of resources. Tribes were moved around and placed on
reservation. These reservations often lacked jobs and opportunities.
The Termination policy of 1950's contributed to misery even more,
since the Government took basically all the help they used to give.
Many tribal members were forced to go to cities to find work. The
result was poverty and huge alcoholism rate. After the end of the
Termination policy, government provided more help to tribes especially
with education and health care. But, that isn't enough. Today many
tribes realize that they need to find their own way to earn money and
What did the government do to help the Cherokee Indians?
?Since its inception on March 11, 1824, the Bureau of Indian
Affairs has been a witness to and the principle player in the history
of federal-tribal relations. Once an instrument of federal policies
to subjugate and assimilate American Indian tribes and their peoples,
the BIA has changed dramatically as have those policies over the past
In the early years of the United States, Indian affairs were governed
by the Continental Congress, which in 1775 created a Committee on
Indian Affairs headed by Benjamin Franklin. Fifty years later, the
BIA was established under the War Department, and eventually moved to
the Interior Department in 1949.?
?The Bureau of Indian Affairs is a rarity among federal agencies.
With roots reaching back to the Continental Congress, the BIA is
almost as old as the United States itself. For most of its existence,
the BIA has mirrored the American public's ambivalence towards the
Nation's indigenous peoples by carrying out federal policies that had
helped or hurt them. But, as federal policy has evolved away from the
subjugation and assimilation of American Indian and Alaska Native
people and into one of partnership and service to them, so has the
?These types of activities occurred until 1866, when, to comply with
the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, the State
Legislature repealed the law. The 14th Amendment provides that no
state should infringe on any citizen's "privileges or immunities" nor
"deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process
of law," nor deny to any person "the equal protection of the law."
While the state was enslaving and eliminating California natives, the
federal government, in 1851, appointed three commissioners to
negotiate treaties with California Indians. By 1852, 18 treaties had
been negotiated with 139 tribes. The treaties were negotiated because
the federal government perceived Indian tribes as foreign nations, and
treaties were the legal means for developing an agreement and ensuring
peace with them. The 18 treaties set aside 7,488,000 acres of land, or
approximately one-third of California, for Indian use. This land
settlement was similar to that negotiated with other tribes in other
states. The treaties also provided funds for materials and food to
allow the Indians to become self-sufficient. The treaties met with
hostility in California. On January 16 and February 11, 1852, the
State Senate concluded that the treaties "committed an error in
assigning large portions of the richest mineral and agricultural lands
to the Indians, who did not appreciate the land's value." (Ellison,
1925:4-5) The legislature instructed the United States senators from
California to oppose ratification of the treaties, and called for the
government to remove the Indians from the state as they had done in
?In 1870, in an attempt to get away from corrupt superintendents and
to convert the Indians to Christianity, the federal government turned
over operation of the reservations to the Quaker Church. In
California, the Methodists, Baptists, and other churches eventually
took on management of the reservations. While the new management was
not corrupt and was far better for the general welfare of the Indians,
the church was less tolerant of Indians continuing their traditional
beliefs. Thus, the reservations became missions and the first tools
under American control to be used in assimilating Indians into the
general population. Once again, California Indians were confronted
with change and forced to adapt from being prisoners-of-war to being
wards of the church.?
?In the 1880s, there was increased public awareness of the problems
California Indians were confronting. While the problems were rarely
analyzed, many people helped to improve the quality of life for
Indians. There was an effort to improve the education of Indians
through schools, and to provide them with land to better their
economic conditions so that Indians could become full citizens of the
United States of America.
In the early 1880s, Helen Hunt Jackson wrote A Century of Dishonor and
sent a copy of her book to each United States congressman. She was
then appointed to a commission to examine the condition of Indians in
Southern California. Her visits resulted in The Report on the
Condition and Needs of the Mission Indians of California, by special
agents Helen Jackson and Abbot Kinney.?
Some current resources:
Native American Resources
Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center
National Museum of the Native American
Native American Journalists
Not the government, but people and corporations.
?Helping people help themselves.
Our approach is to help Native Americans improve the quality of their
own lives by providing opportunities for them to bring about positive
changes in their own communities. Through the Southwest Indian Relief
Council, we offer a helping hand, not a handout.?
These corporations give to SWIRC and other agencies:
· 3Com Corporation
· Aetna Foundation
· Allegro MicroSystems, Inc.
· American Express
· American International Group, Inc.
· Amgen Foundation
· AXA Foundation
· Bank of America
· Bestfoods Foundation
· BP Amoco Foundation, Inc.
· C N A Foundation
· Certain Teed Corporation Foundation
· Cilco Energy
· Colgate-Palmolive Co.
· Computer Associates
· Energen Corporation
· Fleet Boston Financial Foundation
· General Mills Foundation
· Household International
· Hub Distributing, Inc.
· ING Foundation
· John Hancock Financial Services, Inc.
· Kemper Insurance Company
· Master Card International
· Mobil Foundation, Inc.
· National Grid USA Service Company, Inc.
· Pepsico Foundation
· Pfizer Foundation
· Philip Morris Companies, Inc.
· Pitney Bowes
· Prudential Foundation
· Six Continents Hotels
· State Street Research & Management Co.
· Sun Microsystems Foundation
· The Ace USA Foundation
· The Chase Manhattan Foundation
· The Chubb Corporation
· The J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation
· The Prudential Foundation
· The St. Paul Companies, Inc. Foundation
· The Times Mirror Foundation
· The Washington Post
· The Zurich U.S. Foundation
· TW Foundation
· Tommy Hilfiger
· Unilever U.S. Foundation, Inc.
· Universal Music Group
· W.W. Granger, Inc.
?They also learned that before anyone else was in this area, Native
Americans roamed these lands. The culture and lives of American
Indians became more endangered as settlers came from the east, the
south, the north.
The buffalo on which so many western tribes depended were slaughtered
to make way for the railroad. Their people were placed on
reservations, sent to strange lands, imprisoned, and many tribes
totally disappeared. A few, such as the Apaches, struggled to survive
and even thrive.?
?But the same meeting of cultures that helped make the Plains Indians
rich and powerful turned disastrous. Europeans shot buffalo for hides,
and also just for the fun of it. After the railroad reached the Great
Plains in the late 1800s, "sportsmen" shot huge numbers of buffalo
from the trains, leaving piles of rotting carcasses on the prairies.
By 1880, the great herds of buffalo were almost completely destroyed.
And, as they did all over the Americas, Europeans brought diseases to
the Plains Indians. Because the Native Americans had never before had
illnesses like smallpox and measles, their bodies had few defenses,
and they died in huge numbers.?
This is an interesting site, The Cherokee Nation of Mexico
Interesting Collection of Native American Photos
Myths of Native American Casinos
Native American Policy and the US Fish and Wildlife Service
There you go! If any part of my answer is unclear, please request an
Answer Clarification. I will be happy to assist you further, before
Cherokees + discrimination
racism + Native Americans
Cherokee Indians overcome
Discrimination + Native Americans
Government relief + Native Americans
mistreatment + native Americans + 1800s
hardships + Native Americans + white man