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The Decimation of the Plains Indians

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  • Category: India

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The Plains Indians were affected negatively when Americans came to the west and took the lands from the Indians. Not only did the Americans kill off the buffalo till they were almost extinct, but the Americans also tried to “Americanize” the Native Americans. Indians either died off or were sent to reservations, where the Indians were treated awful by the white police system and, occasionally, the children were taken to boarding schools where they were taught how to act “American”.

When the Americans extended out west they did not think about the Native Americans already living there and also the Indians source of food, The Buffalo. The buffalo was everything the Indians needed: food, warmth, clothing, shelter, and weaponry. The buffalo’s thickness provided food for a lot of people in a tribe and the hide was used for clothes and shelter because of how warm it was. The hide blocked out the wind in a tepee and kept the Indian’s feet protected from the rough ground. The bones were used as knifes and utensils, like sewing needles, while the tendons were used as the string on a bow and arrow. When the Indians had killed a buffalo or any animal the person that had killed, he prayed for the soul in the animal and thanked it for letting it be killed for food.

When Americans tried to “Americanize” the Indians it was usually directed towards the children of the tribe, who were taken to boarding schools and taught English. This is all fine except the Indian children were beat if they spoke in their native tongue, and often times they were killed. Some Indians loved learning the ways of the white man because it led to success in their modern times, some learned to deal with it and go along by trading buffalo skins and getting along with the white man, and some still hated it because it was against their tradition and rebelled, this was also the cause of the many deaths on the reservations. After Indians were “Americanized” they were sent out into the world like normal people, however, their status barely changed and the Indians were still seen as lesser than white man so finding decent jobs with a good pay was very hard.

The Indians had little choice in what happened to them, put on a reservation or be killed, be “Americanized” or stay on the reservation with no hope of a good future. Indians were affected negatively by the white man, Indians lost the pride they once held and were forced to be submissive to white men. The murdering of the buffalo and the Americanization are only two ways that the Indians were decimated, alcohol, other drugs, and disease still pestered the Indian’s everyday life.

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