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Native American Assimilation

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Native American Assimilation

The Americanization of Native Americans was an assimilation effort by the United States to change Native American culture to European-American culture between the years of 1790-1920. George Washington and Henry Knox were first to suggest the cultural makeover of Native Americans. They conveyed a strategy to inspire the "civilizing" process. They were growing public support for education to encourage an ordinary set of cultural values and practices to be held in common by the majority of citizens. Education was viewed as the main method in the acculturation process for minorities.

Americanization guidelines were based on the idea that when native people learned United States customs and values, they would be able to combine tribal traditions with American culture and peacefully join the mainstream society. After the end of the Indian Wars, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the government outlawed the practice of traditional religious ceremonies. It established boarding schools which children were required to appear. In these schools they were forced to speak English, study standard subjects, attend church, and leave tribal traditions behind.

The Dawes Act of 1887, which fixed tribal lands in severalty to individuals, was seen as a way to create individual homesteads for Native Americans. Land shares were made in exchange for Native Americans' becoming US citizens and giving up some forms of tribal self-government and institutions. It resulted in the transfer of an estimated total of 93 million acres from Native American control. Most was sold to individuals.

In realizing this colonizing dissertation, the colonists in Australia and the United States employed four general methods to achieve their goal of assimilation. Four methods were created. The first foreign method was to obtain land, mainly through the Western Doctrine of Discovery. The Doctrine of Discovery justified colonists taking native Aboriginal and Native American peoples' lands because the colonists discovered the land. The land was believed to of been discovered because, it was argued, the native people living on the land were not Christian and did not have a method of government that resembled the Western model. Without Christianity and a Western-style government, the local native people were stated to have no rights. Since the native people had no rights in the Western legal sense, the colonizers were free to take their lands.

The second method of assimilation that was applied was the reserve and reservation system. The Western colonists viewed the land as a product to be owned, while the native Aboriginal and Native American people's view regarding land was often completely opposed to the Western view. Native Australian and North American people often viewed the land as an essential part of their life, religion, and culture. So essential, in fact, that



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