Monday, June 15, 2015

Native Americans and Buffalo Soldiers

This past week in history class, we have been learning about the buffalo soldiers. Buffalo soldiers were African-American Union soldiers after the Civil War. Their responsibilities were to clear out Native Americans and their settlements in the western United States wherever the American government planned on creating settlements. The essential question we were looking to answer was whether federal policies towards Native Americans and buffalo soldiers were intentionally discriminatory or well intentioned.

The American government created several policies that took effect against Native Americans and buffalo soldiers. The Dawes Act of 1887 is one such example. The Dawes Act was "an act to provide for the allotment of lands in severalty to Indians on the various reservations, and to extend the protection of the laws of the United States and the Territories over the Indians, and for other purposes". This federal act was not fair to Native Americans whatsoever. It severely decreased the Native Americans' rightfully earned land, and was an act of federal greed for land. According to Helen Hunt Jackson's A Century of Dishonor, There was no single Native American out of the approximated 250-300 thousand that was not affected by the government's policies concerning the ownership of previous Native American land. For this reason, these policies should be considered intentionally discriminatory towards Native Americans. The very fact that Buffalo Soldiers were sent away to the west, essentially a no-man's-land, proves the intentionally discriminatory actions the government had taken against Buffalo Soldiers.

The policies put out by the American government concerning Buffalo Soldiers and Native Americans especially were intentionally discriminatory towards these people. There was no way that these policies could have been well-intentioned or looking to the benefit of America.

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