Assimilation of the Indians Resistance was Futile

Essay by zxdragonCollege, UndergraduateA+, July 2005

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The world of the Indian was simple and they were more than happy for everything in it to stay the same. The Indians of North America had to acclimate themselves to the new world that was overtaking theirs or perish. Actions taken by the white reformers were necessary albeit a might inappropriate at times for the survival of the Indian. Problems faced by the reformers were varied and accompanied by hostility at almost every turn.

There were several goals set by the reformers in the dismantling of the reservations along with setting up schools for Indian children. The primary goal was the assimilation of the Indian into American society in order to assure their survival. The development of Indian schools was intended to assist in this effort by educating Indian children in American society and culture. Breakup of the tribal organization was intended to help the Indians learn and accept the smaller traditional family unit that would further assist the Indian transition into the American way of life.

These reforms were meant to solve several problems that had developed over a period of time on most reservations. First, an attempt had to be made to stop a growing lack of industriousness or what most call lazy Indians, by moving them off reservations and into America's industrial society. Second, the tribal organization had to be broken up and individual family units established because this was more in line with the white man's religion. Lastly, the lack of knowledge of the way Americans did things and the country's history.

These reforms were necessary but several were carried out in haste and without much thought. Results from the reformers efforts would have been more successful and better received by the Indians had they included representatives from every tribe. The breakup of reservations was...