Americanization of Native Americans Education or Genocide

Essay by karlrUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

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Americanization: The Beginning

Throughout history there have been dominant and subordinate groups, of different cultures, living in the same geographical area. In what is now known as the United States, two of these cultures are the dominant Europeans and the subordinate Natives Americans. These natives who have lived on the North American continent for over 10,000 years in a semi-peaceful existence had no idea of the tragedy that would beset them. Starting almost 500 years ago, explorers and settlers from Europe would turn these natives' lives upside down and inside out. For the most part the natives of this vast continent greeted these visitors with open arms, by extending and offering trust and trade. Unbeknownst to the natives, these Europeans did not have their best intentions in mind. These same Europeans were here on the continent for expansion of their territory and conquest of the native population. They would do whatever it would take to insure their culture was the dominant force in this new land (Nies 1996: 126-127, Adams 1995: 12-13, Debo 1970: 40, Tigress, 2003).

This paper will compare and contrast how the Spanish, French, and English cultures exploited the Native Americans. Education became their political ploy to steal land for their own use, and in the process exterminate the natives who had inhabited and cared for the land. The dominant group, who at first tried to exterminate the natives, eventually learned that it was more cost effective to reeducate the surviving Native Americans into their own culture, and in the process the Native Americans would lose their own identity and ways. This paper will conclude that in spite of the dominant culture's efforts to reeducate the Native Americans, these indigenous people did not fully assimilate. Instead, in the latter part of the twentieth century the Native Americans...