We went to a museum about Native Americans today. The part I found most interesting was when the Natives and Americans clashed.
I learned that after the Revolutionary War, the states were getting slightly crowded and wanted a little bit more land. The Americans made almost 400 different treaties with the Natives. One of the common ways to mark a treaty was the two-way wampum belt. It was a beaded white belt with two black stripes. One stripe was for the big American boat and the other for the Indian canoe. They would flow next to eachother without disturbunce. And the white around them represented the peace and harmony between them. Sadly, almost all the treaties were broken or forgotten.
For the Americans, there was expansion, progress, and prosperity. They thought they were destined by god to conquer America. But for the Natives, it was violence, land loss and poverty. The Americans slowly gobbled up the land and eventually they had conquered it all, making the USA. They would often bribe local tribes with money, food and gifts. In return, the Americans would often tell the Natives they could have their land or their sovereignty, but not both. Basically meaning the Natives could keep their rule, but not their land. So the Europeans would offer land somewhere else. Although, this was a problem. Often the land that the Europeans “promised” them would be ruled by a different tribe, so they would be left with nowhere to go. Conversely, if they kept their land, the Americans would flood in, make their rules apply, and the Natives would be harassed with nowhere to go.
One of the big differences is how the Americans think of land vs. the Natives. Natives think of land as a shared area, while the Americans think of strict borders, this is my land, that is yours. This put the Native Americans at a disadvantage. Also the language and writing was different. While the Natives trusted the spoken word more, the Americans trusted the written. This is why Americans would ask the natives to sign their name on a written document, but the written documents did not always capture everything that had been agreed to.
I feel bad for the Natives, and how they got cheated and had to move until they were almost completely gone. Many innocent Natives were killed or put in slavery. They would also often be forced to make treaties or they would die.
One of the big things that the Americans also did to hurt the Natives was to slaughter the bison (buffalo). The Natives’ survival depended on the buffalo. The Americans slaughtered thousands which made a big impact. It was horrible.
In the museum, there was also an interesting part about the Incas. It had a lot of things that we saw in person in Peru, which made us jump in joy.