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Sample Essay on Strategies By White Settlers To Legitimize Settlement On Indian Lands

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Sample Essay on Strategies By White Settlers To Legitimize Settlement On Indian Lands

Introduction

The white settlers in America wanted the land to raise cotton. However, native Indians stood on their way to acquiring land in the south. White settlers viewed the native Indian communities who lived in America as enemies of progress for the United States of America. For this reason, they had to devise mechanisms to take up their lands legitimately, bearing in mind that they faced a lot of resistance from the communities. Legitimization of their settlement was done by the signing of treaties, which could evict the natives from the eastern lands to the western lands of the country.[1] Indeed, there had to be a better approach for the settlers to create proper authority over the land, which included militarism and treaties.

Various Strategies Involved

Andrew Jackson, a military commander involved in the war to evict Indians was instrumental in the signing of the treaties.  These treaties deprived the Indians the right live in the east in exchange for the lands in the west of the southern part of USA. The southern tribes of the Indians agreed with an aim to seek protection from the government against harassment by the settlers. They also thought they would be allowed to retain some of the lands. The treaties led to the acquiring of most of the land in the south that the white settlers wanted.[2]

Another strategy used by the settlers to occupy and own Indians’ lands was to ensure that they had no legal right to own land. In one of the rulings made by the Supreme Court in 1923, the Indians have deprived the right to hold titles for the land they settled in. However, the court granted them the privilege of occupying the land. In response to this threat, some Indian tribes came up with policies banning the sale of land to the United States government. This was a protective measure of the property they had retained following the signing of the treaties.[3]

Some of the strategies used by the Indians to retain their lands worked for the advantage of the white settlers. For instance, when the Indians ceded land to the government hoping to retain control of the least, they were giving their land away to whites since they made up the government. Their attempts to use legal means in courts constituting of white judges saw the denouncing of their sovereignty in Georgia. This happened to the Cherokee community. The state regarded them as tenants and the land they were on was a property of the state: whites.[4]

Another instance when the government turned against the natives was on in 1931. At this time, the Cherokee appealed to the Supreme Court claiming that white settlers had no licenses permitting them to live in their lands. States that the court ruled in their favor but the state refused to honor the ruling. By then Jackson was the president of United States. His view of the natives was a tribe that had to be governed. For this reason, he did not enforce the law. His administration saw the eviction of 46,000 Indians from their lands in the East to the west[5]threatens the white males even today. The threat has changed from being physical to being more institutionalized. This has prompted discussions on such issues equality of blacks and whites.

Another way the colonizers used to legitimize the occupation of Indian lands was by making laws. One of such law was the Dawes Act, also known as the General Allotment act of 1887. This act saw the distribution of land to families and individual Indians who lived in reservations.[6]  This meant that tribal land was to be broken up and allocated to individuals. The law was oppressive to the Indian community in that those who were born before its formation and enactment received little portions of land compared to those who were to be born later. This was a strategy for the government to continue using the land. The law exempted some of the tribes from being beneficiaries of the land allotment program. In so doing, the land would continue to being by the government.  

The government also used the strategy of patronization to ensure that the civilized Indian tribes received little share of the land. After sometime, the tribes, which were denied, land ownership rights lobbied for negations about the government’s decision. The government reconsidered its decision to allot lands to the tribes but this was to be under a condition. [7]The government dictated that the land was to be a common property and that the beneficiaries had to abolish the tribal governance that they practiced.

Dawes act was meant to be protect Indian rights but it ended up being manipulated by many settlers, working to their advantage. Such rules acted as barriers to the tribes but to the profit of the settlers and the government. The land that the Indians were given because of this law was in desert places.  The land was also small compared to the large Indian population. For this reason, it could not service their daily needs.

 

Bibliography

Atchison daily Patriot. Indian removal. Thursday, August 25, 1881.

Atchison Daily Globe. Indian removal. Thursday, December 2, 1965.

An Act to Provide for the Allotment of Lands in Severalty to Indians on the Various Reservations

(General Allotment Act or Dawes Act), Statutes at Large 24, 388-91, NADP Document A1887.

 

[1] Atchison daily Patriot. Indian removal. Thursday, August 25, 1881

[2] Atchison Daily Globe. Indian removal. Thursday, December 2, 1965.

               [3] An Act to Provide for the Allotment of Lands in Severalty to Indians on the Various Reservations (General Allotment Act or Dawes Act), Statutes at Large 24, 388-91, NADP Document A1887.

[4] Atchison daily Patriot. Indian removal. Thursday, August 25, 1881.

[5] Atchison Daily Globe. Indian removal. Thursday, December 2, 1965.

                [6] An Act to Provide for the Allotment of Lands in Severalty to Indians on the Various

Reservations (General Allotment Act or Dawes Act), Statutes at Large 24, 388-91, NADP Document A1887.[6]

                  [7] An Act to Provide for the Allotment of Lands in Severalty to Indians on the Various

Reservations (General Allotment Act or Dawes Act), Statutes at Large 24, 388-91, NADP Document A1887.

 

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