Philosophies of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois.

Essay by Charisma19University, Bachelor'sA+, November 2002

download word file, 2 pages 4.3

The nineteenth century marked immeasurable changes in the lives of Native Americans. Through disease and increased hostility from migrating farmers, over ninety percent of the American Indian population was decimated. The American government saw little success in luring Native Americans to reservations peaceably. Many tribes reacted with aggression towards the government for the numerous attempts at converting their sacred ways of living. As a result of the growing animosity, the Plains Wars begun in 1864 due to several tribes refusing to give up their land.

The congressional commission believed that the future of America lay in the white man's hands and that native Americans should relocate in order to learn the ways of white society. While most whites believed the Indians to be savage and uncivilized, not all agreed with militia leader John Chivington and his message to "kill and scalp all, big and little."

Francis Walker's quote, "Yield or parish" can best summarize the white man's perspective towards Native Americans. Walker, the commissioner for American Indian affairs believed himself to be a "friend of humanity." Mr. Walker epitomized the contradictions being made by the American government. In one speech he promised apt supplies of food and gifts of necessity to lure the Native Americans onto reservations, but once on the reservations, strict self-reform regimes were imposed. The American Indians were not allowed to leave the reservations without consent and doing so would result in imprisonment. Because the provisions promised by the government were never supplied, the Native Americans had no other option but to return to the original land they occupied. However, the return appeared in vain as General Sherman declared, "All who cling to their old hunting ground are hostile and will remain so until killed off." Retreating was not an option, for "wherever [they] went...