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American Indians Case

Essay by   •  January 31, 2013  •  Essay  •  1,555 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,611 Views

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Part I: Question 2: "What we want is to be left alone...I would rather die an Indian than live as a white man." (Lakota Chief, Sitting Bull)

I am a simple man, a holy man- an American Indian. Do not take my passiveness as foolishness, for I will protect and defend my people. I am a leader of the Strong Heart Warrior Society and a distinguished member of the Silent Eaters. We ensure our people are healthy and well taken care of. I am not a bloodthirsty savage, nor am I impulsive. My people respect me for my bravery and insight that is why I was made chief of the Lakota tribe.

The white people are trying to make us over into their image, they want us to be what they call "assimilated," bringing us Indians into their way of living and destroying our way of life and our own customs. They believe we should be fulfilled like those whose concept of happiness is materialistic and greedy. That lifestyle is very different from our way. The white men want more and more of our land to establish colonies, but we live off of the land and its resources. We will not give it up!

We want freedom from the white man rather than to be integrated. We don't want any part of the establishment, we want to be free to raise our children in our religion, in our ways, to learn to hunt and fish and live in peace. We don't want power, we don't want to be military generals or bankers, we just wish to be ourselves- Indians. We want to have our freedom, because we are the owners of this land. The white man says there is freedom and justice for all. We have had "freedom and justice," and I refuse to change the way I live, the way I speak or the way I worship.

I first went to battle when I was 14 years old and now I am leading my people in a battle for our freedom and integrity. When the white men held me captive at Fort Randall, the Indian agent in charge of the reservation, James McLaughlin would not respect my power and authority and would not allow me any privileges. I worked humbly in the fields alongside my fellow natives. I did not need this white man to recognize my power; I know my authority and my people do too. I must remain steadfast and humble for the better of my people.

In autumn of 1890, Kicking Bear came with news of the Ghost Dance, a ceremony that would ride the land of white people and allow the Indians to return to our peaceful way life. The white men were angered by the Ghost Dancers coming in such large masses. Because I am still regarded as a devout holy man and spiritual leader, white men came to arrest me, hoping that I would not join the other dancers. By November the army's troops had reached our camp. They thought that the Ghost Dance was a war ritual and we were planning to start war with the government. We are were just defending our rights, not planning to revolt. In December that white man, James McLaughlin and 44 Lakota men burst into my cabin, manhandling me and dragged me outside. I had tried to remain calm, but when they became rougher with me I fought back. Catching Bear shot a lieutenant and as he fell, I took my last breath before being shot in the head.

It was a dark time, knowing that the ensuing battle would obliterate the Lakota people. Men and women fought with every ounce of strength, doing everything they could to defend our way of life. This was a spark for the rebirth of our dignity, pride and spiritual life. By the time the battle was over, 273 Lakota were brutally murdered, only 27 had survived but shortly after were captured and imprisoned.

Sitting Bull was a great freedom fighter, but he was also a victim of capitalism. Sitting bull and the Lakota wanted to remain free and live the way of their fathers but were attacked by white men from all sides. The white men consistently lied and robbed the Lakota of their lands and their freedoms. Sitting Bull must be remembered as a heroic man who resisted to the bitter end to maintain the freedom of his people which was unjustly being taken from them.

Part II: "Historically, American Indians have been the most lied about subset of our population...in learning about Native Americans, one does not start from point zero, but rather from minus ten"

Many think of freedom as having a choice. It is what the United States is supposedly founded on. But is it really? How many people actually have the freedom to know the oppression

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