Annotated Bibliography: The History of Native Americans

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The History of Native Americans

The history of Native Americans is an integral part of American history. Indian tribes are unique and initial inhabitants of the American continent, and the European “invasion” totally changed the course of their history. As a result, the history of America was also changed. The European and later the U.S. politics towards Native Americans can be hardly called friendly and tolerant – with the arrival of Europeans, the unique and original culture was almost destroyed. During the second half of the nineteenth century and until now, Native Americans were involuntarily assimilated among the Americans. Therefore, in order to understand what events led to the current integration of Indians, the key occasions of these two periods should be discussed.

The first key event in Indian history is Future treaties with Indian tribes’ document (1871) acknowledgment. This document eliminated Indians as a separate ethnicity on the U.S. territory and therefore, annihilated the very fact of Native American’s existence. This was the first push for the Indian nations to be integrated into American society. Second, the Battle of Little Big Horn (1876) was the last positive battle for American Indians being the inspiration for their fight; however, it was fruitless for their situation. Finally, the Curtis Act (1898) was the final step for the U.S. government to gain control over Native America tribes’ lands.

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In the 20th century, the assimilation of Native Americans continued with renewed vigor. In 1960-1970s the key event of Indians’ civil rights establishment took place. The Declaration of Indian Purpose (1961) signed by Native Americans themselves was their step towards formulating the Indian political agenda and their answer to integrating policy of the U.S. Government. However, the Indian Civil Rights Act (1969) finally shaped the attitude of American authorities towards Indians and reflected the termination policy started in the 1970s. This policy became a final step in the assimilation process. As a result, now one can see that Native Americans, who saved their cultural and historical heritage are almost absent.

Burnett Jr, D. L. (1971). Historical analysis of the 1968 Indian Civil Rights Act. Harvard Journal on Legislation, 9, 557.

Burnett in a short, but very informative essay analyses the historical effect of the Indian Civil Rights Act and its effect both on Native Americans and the U.S. policy towards American Indians. The document will be used as a base for the termination policy notion taking place in the 1970s since it is a fundamental document reflecting the American government attitude towards the Indian population.

Carselowey, J.R. (1937). Curtis Act. Indian Pioneer Papers.

This document is the primary source for one of the key events in Indian history. The author describes the outcomes of the Curtis Act and gives the reasons for its importance. In addition, the author names the members of the Dawes commission, who were the key force to take the land away from tribes. This document is to some extent the “capitulation” act of Indian tribes since it finally assigned the U.S. invasion on the Indian territory. In addition, the author interviews the eyewitnesses of that event, which makes the source more evident and fundamental.

Declaration of Indian Purpose. (1961). American Indian Chicago Conference. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago.

This is one of the key documents among the attempts of Native Americans to save their integrity, cultural and historical heritage, and declare their rights as a separate nation. The Declaration will be used as the primary source for the Native Americans’ movement against assimilation in the middle of the twentieth century. The important fact is that Native Americans wrote the document themselves, which reflects their attitudes towards the U.S. government policy.

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Future treaties with Indian tribes. R.S. § 2079 derived from act Mar. 3, 1871, ch. 120, § 1, 16 Stat. 566.

This primary source highlights the relationships between Indian tribes and the U.S. Government in the second half of the nineteenth century. It reflects the U.S. intentions and future policy toward Native Americans. The Act states that Indians are not a separate nation that reflects future plans for the total assimilation of Native Americans. On the other side, the U.S. government recognizes the Indian tribe as members of American society and acknowledges their right to inhabit the initial territory.

The battle for Little Big Horn (A good day to die) (n.d.).

This resource is a video, which in detail describes the Little Big Horn battle, being the key event (and the last positive battle for Indians) for Native Americans’ fight against “invaders.” The video is concise and smooth; the author describes microscopically, pointing out even the position of armies, key characters, and maneuvers. The documentary gives a total picture of the event as well as its outcomes and importance for contemporaries. The meaning of the battle cannot be underestimated. Therefore, it will be used as a supporting point for Indians to oppose assimilation.

Wilkinson, C. F., & Biggs, E. R. (1977). The Evolution of the Termination Policy. American Indian Law Review, 139-184.

This source describes the termination policy of the 1970s in detail. It is one of the key sources used for Indian history description. Termination policy is a key reason for Native American is now almost assimilated among Americans and, therefore, it should be considered in details. Wilkinson and Biggs give the objective and rational perspective on the policy that is why it will be extensively used. In addition, the authors are very concise and consistent, which makes this article easy to work with and understandable. This source will be used as an explanation for processes happening in society in the middle of the twentieth century.

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