Reservation Rights

Reservation+Rights

An act passed by Congress with a simple sign of a pen has affected Native Americans since before the Civil War and continues to this day. If you’re President, signing an act into law is easy enough, but to know what chaos would ensue afterward, you’d need a time machine. Or maybe not.

According to History.com, Native Americans have been forced into reservations since the Indian Appropriations Act had been approved in 1851 by Congress. It created the Indian reservation system, which provided funds to move Indian tribes onto farming reservations.

This would hopefully keep them under control, meaning that Indians were not allowed to leave the reservations without permission. Daily living on the reservations was hard at best.

Not only had tribes lost their native lands, but it was almost impossible to maintain their culture and traditions inside a confined area. Feuding tribes were often thrown together and Indians who were once hunters struggled to become farmers, says History.com.

You might ask, are Native Americans still treated that way to this day? Is there even a difference in the treatment? A quote from History.com answers those questions.

Indians have possessed some valuable reservation land and resources over which white Americans have cast envious eyes. Much of this was subsequently lost and, as a result, the history of Native Americans is often presented as a morality tale. White Americans, headed by the federal government, were the ‘bad guys’, cheating Indians out of their land and resources. Native Americans were the ‘good guys’, attempting to maintain a traditional way of life much more in harmony with nature and the environment than the rampant capitalism of white America, but powerless to defend their interests. Only twice, according to this narrative, did the federal government redeem itself: firstly during the Indian New Deal from 1933 to 1945, and secondly in the final decades of the century when Congress belatedly attempted to redress some Native American grievances.”

While these acts were being approved, Native Americans were still being treated unfairly, and according to Powwow.com, some Native Americans still live in reservations. But not because they want to.

Since a large percentage of them have worse education than most, most of them can’t get good jobs, and a lot of Native Americans live in impoverishment and unemployment because of that. Let’s not forget that they can’t really vote, and they have inadequate Health Care and poor quality housing, says Powwow.com.

But, even after all this suffering, Native American prejudices are being gotten rid of, and hope is still there for a better future for all of us as better education makes itself available.