The American Indian Experience
At the time Christopher Columbus arrived in what is now called the United States, approximately ten million Native Americans were residents. Two centuries of American government oppression has had a profound impact on the social, political, and economic conditions of Native Americans. Today, they number about 2.5 million (Thio, 2005). Today, they are the poorest minority. Native Americans are at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder; their unemployment and poverty rates are higher than other Americans and their average family incomes are lower.
Native Americans have been subjected to centuries of institutionalized discrimination; however, the most tragic instance of expulsion on American soil was the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the Trail of Tears. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 empowered the president of the United States to move eastern Native Americans west of the Mississippi, to what was then Indian Territory. This territory is now known as Oklahoma. The Trail of Tears refers to the subsequent removal of thousands of Cherokee from Northern Georgia westward. This expulsion is considered by many as:
….one of the saddest episodes of our brief history, men, women, and children were taken from their land, herded into makeshift forts with minimal facilities and food, then forced to march a thousand miles
Visit the following websites for explanation of an appropriate term for indigenous people (http://aistm.org/fr.definition.htm).
Visit the following websites and read the descriptions of the expulsion of American Indians from Georgia:
The Trail of Tears at http://ngeorgia.com/history/nghisttt.html.
The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail at http://www.arch.dcr.state.nc.us/tears/
The Trail of Tears Map at http://ngeorgia.com/history/trailoftearsmap.html
1. What factors led to the expulsion of American Indians from their native territory?
2. What function did the quest for economic status and power contribute to the expulsion of American Indians from their native territory?
3. How is power connected with racism and discrimination?
4. Do you believe that prejudice and discrimination contributed to the expulsion of the American Indians?
Show evidence that you know and understand the concepts and can incorporate supporting evidence from the readings.
Use the questions as topic headings to guide your discussion.
Cite your resources using American Psychological Association (APA) (http://www.crk.umn.edu/library/links/apa5th.htm) format.
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