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The only good Indian is a dead one

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This essay will discuss the above statement and look at the views of the white American and whether they agreed with this statement. The background of their relationships with each other will be examined and how the two cultures clashed over time. The views of the government, army and settlers will be discussed in detail. I will look at their relationships with the American Indians, along with the conflicts faced between them and why these conflicts arose. I will define the white societies perception of the word `dead’ and whether it meant the death of a culture, or the genocide of a whole nation.

I will conclude whether the statement is an accurate summary of the Americans in the second half of the century and were there ant white Americans who had other views. The statement “the only good Indian is a dead one” was uttered by an army officer named general Sheridan in 1871. After the civil war, he played an important role in Indian affairs by placing then in reservations in the later part of the 19^th century. When a Native American chief surrendered to the general, he used the words `good Indian’, so the army would know he meant no harm.

General Sheridan supposedly uttered the famous proverb ” the only good Indian I saw were dead”. This statement has become famous through out the years and many authors and historians have looked at it in great detail and analysed it. (Examples). When early Europeans began to settle in America, it was thought that the white Europeans and the `natives’ could co-exist. The Europeans encouraged the `Indian’ to adapt to the European way of life by teaching them Christianity, farming and the principles of property.

Early polices tried to incorporate the `Indians’ in to American society. To exemplify this further, the Quakers set up `model settlements’ to attract Indians and teach them the words of the Bible nd their ways of living. However major conflicts began to occur as the cultures began to clash with one another. We see this mainly in the 19^th century were many immigrants had occupied the eastern part of America. The government felt that every white American should be given the opportunity to expand and for fill the idea of `manifest destiny’. (Discuss).

The Native American had become a problem to the government and Americans society. In 1850 an American policy was produced, encouraged by the president Andrew Jackson for the removal of all Indians from the eastern part of America to west of the Mississippi. This policy was esigned to allow American expansion in the east without the problems of other cultures. Although there were many conflicts in the beginning of the 19^th century, they seemed to get worse. As more immigrants came to America looking for land and freedom, they were encouraged to go for land in the west.

This land in the past was known as a `great dessert’ but by certain government polices and the discovery of gold, it became more attracted to the settler, farmers and ranches. This outrages the Indian tribes that were living in these lands in a huge way. Not only were many tribes pushed from their homes in the east but were now eing forced from the west. Along with other factors such as the developments of stagecoach trails, trains and telephone communications, the two nations became in a horrific war which proved to be one of Americas most aggressive time in history.

By the second half of the 19^th century, the American Indians were forced from their lands by treaties or by force. Eventually they were placed in reservations by the United States government. The American nations were now able to carry out their conquest and settle in lands of the west without major problems. Some Indian tribes such as the Sioux were angered by the way they were treated and did fight back (Indian wars). Using great guerrilla tactics, they tried to win their land back again. However due to the power of the government and the army, this proved impossible for the Indians to do this.

By the late 1800s the government were encouraging Americans to move in to the west and settle in. the homestead act of 1862 was a government policy set up to allow people to go west of the Mississippi to own their own land. This land was given to them if they looked after it and used it effetely. The government promised the people the American rmy would look them after and would provide railways and travel routes. However the government failed to consider the Native Americans that were living in these areas and failed to think of the consequences from this action.

The tribes in the west were angered by this government move as the government had promised them this land in the `treaty of Larimore’. The Indian lands would be safe if they gave immigrants passage to places like Californian during the gold rush. Many Indians began to fight back by attacking travellers, and destroying government property, convincing the government that they hould be dealt with in an aggressive way. This built up conflicts between the two nations and later the Indians stated that the government should never be trusted.

Many killings and massacres took place between the two cultures and so the government felt that another policy was needed to stop the chaos. The peace policy was introduced to move Native Americans out of their land and put on to reservations in1869. This was done to `protect’ the Indians from themselves and to stop the aggressiveness of the cultures. However this can be seen as a way to get the American Indians out of the way for American expansion, not forgetting the reat economic factors this move would bring to America at the time (gold).

Another factor that America might profit from this was that after the civil war many places now, becoming apart of the union and needed this land for expansion. The government once again failed to show these people compassion and did not consider them at all in this way. The lands the Indians did moved on to were not efficient for their way of living and the government failed to bring them food. Many meeting where occurred between the cultures always ending with the government letting them down mainly food supply’s and animals. This angered the Indians more and soon the army had to take control of the problems occurring.

The government did see the native Indians as dead. After years of trying to civilize them, through schools, polices and religion. The government eventually gave up and wanted them out of American culture for good. They did this in many ways. By aggressive polices and by the force of the army. The government saw the Indians as a dead culture and nation and were a nucease to the Americans and not only showed them predigests but also discriminated them for being different and acted in racial ways explaining their reasons every time to ase their conscience.

Whatever the government were thinking, the army would act it out. We know this through the sources and accounts. After the civil war many of the army were posted in fort to keep an eye on the west and to protect whites from the Indians. The army playing a huge part in keeping order when the peace policy of putting them on reservations came about as it was there job to make sure they went on this land otherwise their would be trouble. The army were responsible for destroying many tribes way of life and threatening them till they obeyed them.

The army during this time saw the Indians in two groups. The Indians in the reservation as good and the Indians not as hostile. Although the Indians used great power against their enemy and did savage things to them, the army did believe in revenge and attacked many Indian tribes that were known to be peaceful. An example of this was when chiliton attacked the // Indians killing hundreds of women and children. The army defiantly saw the native American as dead. They believed that the Indian way of life had to be destroyed for their country to expand.

To get rid of the native Indian, the uncivilised and savage person both physically and mentally was a good thing to do. Although the government were harsh the army did many times take it upon themselves to sort out conflicts between the two sometimes using brutal force, something the were always blaming the Indians as using on white Americans. The army saw these people as a nucience and as wars do might the two sides fierce and act in ways that they would not ordinary act in the civilised world.

Some might argue that the army was corrupt and this was why most of the conflicts could not be sorted out too. Many pioneers had spread from the west and leapfrogged to the California coast . between these two frontiers was the home of many Indian tribes . uring the later part of the 19^th century, many people in the American society decided to move out their from the miners to the ordinary settler, building settlements. The turner thesis talked of this and how the Americans would expand in uncivilized area, tame the land and this was how America was made.

Many people move to the west like this and were encourage by the government. Many cattle ranches occupied this area and by 1880 had spread from Texas to the Canadian boarder. The cattle industrial was booming but their were many problems that had to be overcome. the native Americans were against these whites in their lands and angered hat the cattle were trampling their lands in the great plains and began to kill and steal cattle, along with horses. This was a major problem as the cowboys were losing profit and this was bad for American economy.

Another group of Americans who saw conflicts were miners and farmers. A large amount of gold was found in the black hills. Land belonging to the tribe the Sioux and many miners rushed to it. This caused more conflicts between the two races and many mining towns were attacked. The farmers also had problems with the native Americans. Many had moved onto the great plains to start a new life of arming and a different way of living. However the Indians living in this area were very powerful and war like and many ordinary settlers along with their families were attacked and brutalised.

Public oppion on the Indians became hostile when settles were attacked and grew even more when cases such as the Minnesota uprising occurred killing more then 500 settlers. Public influence was also influence by many books and plays that were written in the 19^th century many using propaganda methods and this proved to play a big part in peoples opinion. These groups saw the Indian as dead both their culture and as a race. They were seen as a savage and brutal race, attacking innocent workers and settlers . more..

Although the majority of the white Americans that I have looked at did see the Indians as a dead culture and showed a lot of hatred towards them, it is important to see if there were any Americans that had a different view of the Indians and different approach to their ways of living. Whist the army and many whites living in the west saw the Indian as dead, many eastern idealist believed that every afford should be made not to kill off the Indian but to kill the Indian, save the man. the Indian reform movement was introduced in the later 19^th entury to help to bring the American Indian into society.

Many reform canters were set up along with boarding schools examples?? . however the Indian would have to give up all Indian ways including religious and ways of life. The allotment act policy was introduced to break up the reservations to allow the Indian to own their own land. This was done in hope to get the Indian to be more of an indivualist rather then a group. This would help break their tribal ways and introduce them in to a more civilised way of living. More? These reformers meant well and had a different and a more civilised way of reducing the onflicts between them, but the ideas of a dead Indian was still present .

The reformers couldn’t understand that the Indians did not want the American culture and did not want to be a part of the civilised world. As recorded by one Indian all they wanted to do was hunt buffalo. Some other groups of Americans were less harsh on the Indian such as some army offices and the Quakers and some government polices were made to help the Indian but it is obvious that all Americans studied did want the dead of the Indian. Whether they wanted them sprightly dead or just dead culture. In this essay I have looked at the relationships between the cultures nd the white Americans views of the native American.

The majority of the Americans in the later part of the century did see the Indian as dead. Although it was more the death of their culture rather then the death of a whole nation . when the Indians refuse the American way of life was the reason of the white Americans hatred for them and it can be seen that they were racist towards the Indians. We seen this through the government and the harshness of some of the polices produced. The American people felt that it was their right to behave lie this mainly because of the American ideology of manifest destiny and the constitution.

The army showed great hostility towards the Indian and it can be argued as to way it got worse after the civil war when many army officers did not have much to do so turned their attention to the tribes in the great plains. The reformers did not share this hatred with the army and the people experiencing the hostility in the west and had a different view of the word dead Indian. Although they had good intentions to stop the conflicts they wanted the same thing as with the army and the government the death of the American Indian. So yes this was the view of the white Americans in the later part of the century, and maybe it still is.

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