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The Native Americans Religion 283A Introduction to Native American Cultures.

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Presentation on theme: "The Native Americans Religion 283A Introduction to Native American Cultures."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Native Americans Religion 283A Introduction to Native American Cultures

2 Questions We Will Explore l What have been some government actions toward Native Americans in the United States? l Cite some examples of ethnocentrism and stereotyping regarding Native Americans. l In what ways has little changed in the exploitation of the Native Americans? l How do the three major sociological perspectives explain the experiences of Native Americans?

3 Government Actions toward Native Americans l 1778 - Continental Congress: Reaffirms 1763 British policy (tribes accorded independent nation status; lands west of the Appalachian mountains are Native American; royal government must approve all land purchases). l 1787 - Northwest Territory Ordinance: Opens the Midwest for settlement; declares U.S. government responsible for Native American property rights and liberty. l 1824 - Bureau of Indian Affairs is created under the jurisdiction of the secretary of war. l 1830 - Indian Removal Bill: Mandates all Indians must move west of the Mississippi.

4 Government Actions (continued) l 1830–1880 - As forced segregation becomes the new Native American reality most reservations are established. l 1871 - Appropriations bill rider: Tribes no longer are independent nations; legislation, not negotiation, is to determine any new arrangements. l 1887 - Dawes Act: Reservations divided in tracts, allotted to individual tribal members; surplus land sold. l 1898 - Curtis Act: Terminates tribal governments that refuse allotment to individual tribal members; surplus land sold. l 1906 - Burke Act: Eliminates Native Americans’ right to lease their land, with the intent to force Native Americans to work the land themselves.

5 Government Actions (continued) l 1924 - Indian Citizenship Act: Grants US citizenship l 1934 - Indian Reorganization Act: Ends allotment, encourages tribal self-government; restores freedom of religion; extends financial credit; promotes revival of Native American culture and crafts. l 1952 - Relocation Program: Moves Native Americans at government expense to urban areas for better jobs. l 1953 - Termination Act: Elimination of reservation systems, ends federal services and tax immunity. l 1973 - Menominee Restoration Act: Revokes termination and restores Menominee’s reservation and tribal status.

6 Government Actions (continued) l 1974 - Indian Finance Act: Grants and loans for Native American enterprises and development projects. l 1975 - Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act: Expands tribal control over reservation programs; provides funding for public schools on/near reservations. l 1976 - Indian Health Care Improvement Act: Provides funds to build/renovate hospitals, add personnel, scholar- ships for Native Americans in Indian Health Service. l 1978 - Education Amendments Act: Gives substantial control over education programs to Native Americans. l 1978 - Tribally Controlled Community College Assistance Act: Provides grants to tribal community colleges.

7 Government Actions (continued) l 1978 - Indian Child Welfare Act: Restricts placement of Native American children into non-Native American homes. l 1978 - American Indian Religious Freedom Act: Protects Native American religious rights, including peyote use. l 1993 - Religious Freedom Restoration Act: Restores standards of review for American Indian Religious Freedom Act that were overturned by a Supreme Court ruling in 1990. l 1993 - Omnibus Indian Advancement Act: Establishes foundation for gifts to BIA schools; increases economic development opportunities for tribes; improves tribal governance.

8 Examples of Ethnocentrism and Stereotyping Regarding Native Americans l In the 16th and 17th centuries, ethnocentric Europeans condemned aspects of Native American culture they did not understand and related to other aspects only in terms of their own culture. Some considered the indigenous people to be savages, even though Native American societies had a high degree of social organization. Other Native American stereotypes were: “silent or aloof.” l In colonial and frontier days, the stereotype of the Native Americans often was negative, especially when they obstructed Europeans from occupying their land. As a result of self-justification, some whites viewed Native Americans as cruel, treacherous, lying, dirty heathens.

9 Ethnocentrism and Stereotyping (cont’d) l Contemporary Native Americans often are stereotyped as backward, unmotivated, continually drunk, or are regarded as romantic anachronisms. l Many frequently over generalize about Native Americans, seeing the many tribes as one people even though the tribes have always differed from one another in language, social structure, values, and practices. l The settlers, in colonial and frontier days, could not understand the Native Americans’ resistance to Christianity and to the whites’ “more civilized” way of life. But the major issue was whose way of life would prevail and whether the land would be further developed or allowed to remain in its natural state.

10 Native Americans - Still Exploited l Today, many people in the U.S. are oblivious to Native Americans’ problems and consider them quaint relics of the past; others find them undesirable and some want their land and will use almost any means to secure it. l Native Americans still encounter discrimination in stores, bars, and housing, particularly in cities and near the reservations. They have been beaten or killed and their property rights infringed on. l Of all the minorities in the United States, according to government statistics on income, Native Americans are the “poorest of the poor.”

11 Still Exploited (continued) l Encroachment on Native American land continues. Water and energy needs have led government and industry to look covetously at reservation land once considered worthless. l Poor, but with large tracts of isolated land, Native Americans in recent years have seen their reservations recommended as toxic-waste dumping grounds. l Urban sprawl and agribusiness have prompted whites to sink deep wells around reservations in Arizona, siphoning off the water reserves of several tribes. l A growing number of sacred Native American sites are under threat from housing developments and industrial plants.

12 The Native Americans - 3 Perspectives l Functionalist - Early contacts tended to be harmonious, with both sides benefiting. Dysfunctions occurred as Native Americans slipped into economic subservience, their way of life further threatened by encroachment on their land by steadily increasing numbers of white settlers. Whites forcibly removed Native Americans, seen as a hindrance to their making the land productive. l Forced segregation on nonproductive reservations destroyed Native American society as a self-sufficient entity. The systemic disorganization of the society restricted life opportunities. Poor education, low income, bad housing, poor health, alcoholism, and suicides are serious problems facing Native Americans today.

13 Native Americans - 3 Perspectives (continued) l Conflict Theory - White newcomers, superior in technology compared to the indigenous population, engaged in early conflict. The native population declined due to warfare, disease, and disruption of sustenance activities, and its social institutions were undermined. l Westward expansion occurred by pushing aside the people who already possessed the land, without regard for their rights or wishes. l Formal government agreements and treaties became meaningless to those in power if further land confiscation or exploitation for natural resources offered profits.

14 Native Americans - 3 Perspectives (continued) l Interactionist - Ethnocentric views of Native American culture prompted a definition of the native population as inferiors, savages, and even nonhumans. Such social distance created by dehumanization makes it easy to justify any action taken. l European Americans viewed even the acculturated Native Americans working as servants or laborers as members of an inferior race fit to be subordinated and relegated to a non-interfering, humble role in society. l High levels of prejudice against Native Americans still exists in the West. The negative labeling and dehumanizing processes that led to past acts of violence against Native Americans remains a problem today.

15 Summary l For over two hundred years government actions have been taken toward Native Americans that have changed and in many cases destroyed their way of life. l Ethnocentrism and stereotyping formed negative views and misconceptions of Native Americans. l Today, Native Americans are still misunderstood and exploited. l The functionalist, conflict, and interactionist theories provide explanations for the Native American experience.

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